TSA cashing in on forgotten loose change at local airports

WASHINGTON — You have to take change out of your pockets when you go through airport security, but you’re supposed to pick it back up when you’re done.

Turns out those forgotten coins add up to a healthy windfall for the Transportation Security Administration.

TSA collected $765,759.15 in unclaimed change in fiscal 2015, twice the amount of change left behind at airports in fiscal 2008.

Miami travelers forgot the most change, about $50,000 worth in fiscal 2015.

Travelers left behind nearly $13,000 in change at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport in fiscal 2015, nearly $11,000 at Reagan National and just over $7,000 at Dulles.

The amount of unclaimed coins has steadily risen every year for the last seven years.

“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 said in a statement.  “Unclaimed money is documented and turned into the TSA financial office.”

In 2005, Congress gave TSA the authority to spend unclaimed money for security operations.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up