WASHINGTON — All the nickels, dimes and quarters travelers leave behind at airport security checkpoints adds up to big bucks — enough that next time you forget your change after emptying your pockets, you might want to go back for it.
In fiscal year 2016, travelers left behind a record $867,812.39, according to a report from the Transportation Security Administration. That’s over $100,000 more than went unclaimed the previous year. Of that amount, nearly $80,000 was in foreign currency.
“TSA makes every effort to reunite passengers with items left at the checkpoint; however there are instances where loose change or other items are left behind and unclaimed,” TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said. “Unclaimed money, typically consisting of loose coins passengers remove from their pockets, is documented and turned into the TSA financial office.”
New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport ranked the highest for unclaimed money with $70,615. That was followed by Los Angeles International at $44,811.82.
So where does all that spare change go? In 2005, Congress gave the TSA the authority to spend the money on security operations.
Undeclared money left behind at TSA checkpoints by year
Top 10 Airports in 2016
John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York City: $70,615.00
Los Angeles International Airport: $44,811.84
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport: $42,305.26
McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas: $32,671.38
LaGuardia Airport, New York City: $27,963.46
O’Hare International Airport, Chicago: $ 25,425.75
San Francisco International Airport: $24,711.34
George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston: $23,723.25
Logan International Airport, Boston: $23,691.83
Washington Dulles International Airport: $20,801.25