TSA's Windfall From Security Bins in 2018: $1M

Travelers don't gather their coins and cash with care when they're in a hurry, apparently
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2019 7:21 AM CDT
We Left $1M Behind in TSA Bins Last Year
A TSA agent goes through items at a security checkpoint at Miami International Airport on Nov. 24, 2015, in Miami.   (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

In your rush to catch a flight, did you ever neglect to scoop up your pennies, nickels, and dimes out of the plastic bins at security? You're not alone, and the Transportation Security Administration became about $1 million richer last year because of it. USA Today reports that's about how much money was left behind at TSA checkpoints around the country in the period from Oct. 1, 2017, to Sept. 30 of last year, an amount that surpasses the TSA "tips" left behind the previous year by about $90,000. A TSA rep tells Vox it's not just coins that are included in this tally: Unclaimed wallets also yield paper currency.

The five airports that saw the most money left behind: NYC's JFK Airport, coming in at No. 1 with more than $72,300, followed by LAX at nearly $71,800, and then Miami, Chicago's O'Hare, and New Jersey's Newark airport. The airport where travelers hold tight to their legal tender? Nevada's Reno airport, which only yielded $19.85 in 2018. TSA has been given authority by Congress to spend any of this money as it sees fit to improve security; past expenditures have included updating security signs and pushing its PreCheck travel-expediting system. (Read more TSA stories.)

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