Loose change adds up at airports

WASHINGTON — Airline passengers are getting nickel and dimed — at the security checkpoint.

In the process of emptying their pockets, travelers have left behind quite a chunk of change.

During fiscal year 2014, the Transportation Security Administration collected $674,841 in loose change at the nation’s airports, and that figure has grown steadily for the past seven years.

“People accidentally leave things in the bins because they’re in a rush, or because lots of airports now take advertisements in the bottom of the bins,” says TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein. “So, you see a colorful ad, and you don’t notice something else is in the bin,.”

Washington Dulles International Airport was eighth highest on the airport list, collecting $22,037. Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport recovered $8,477; Ronald Reagan Washington National reported $9,591.

Where does all that money go?

In 2005, Congress gave TSA the authority to spend the unclaimed money for security operations. “TSA has a fairly robust lost-and-found operation — we try to reunite people with their items,” says Farbstein. “When it comes to something like cash, it’s very hard to pinpoint whose that was.”

Below is the list of the top airports and the amount left behind in fiscal year 2014:

  1. John F. Kennedy International Airport – $42,550
  2. Los Angeles International Airport – $41,506.64
  3. San Francisco International Airport – $34,889.63
  4. Miami International Airport- $32,590.43
  5. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport- $29,684.03
  6. McCarran International Airport- $27,676.71
  7. George Bush Intercontinental Airport- $26,839.01
  8. Washington Dulles International Airport- $22,037.55
  9. O’Hare International Airport- $21,068.69
  10. Orlando International Airport$20,757.81
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