Keep the change: $960K in loose change left at airport checkpoints last year, over $7k in Louisiana


The National Transportation Security Administration acquired $960,105 in loose change left behind by travelers at airports in 2018, according to a TSA report released Wednesday. 

TSA said it makes “every effort” to return abandoned items to their owners, but loose change left behind in airport security bins often goes unclaimed. 

When change or other items are left behind, TSA documents it and keeps the items in its financial office. Congress granted the organization the ability to use the abandoned money for security purposes in 2005. 

The money from 2018 will go towards checkpoint training requirements, the administration said.

In the past, TSA has used the money for maintenance, translation of signage, its PreCheck program, and enhancements to its adjudication center, it said. 

Travelers historically have left between $600,000 and $800,000 in total each year since 2013. 

The last five fiscal years* of loose change at airport checkpoints

  • FY 2013 – $638,142.64
  • FY 2014 – $674,841.06
  • FY 2015 – $765,759.15
  • FY 2016 – $867,812.39
  • FY 2017 – $866,839.56

At the New Orleans Internatinal Airport, $7,261.65 was left behind by rushed travelers.

Here are the airports where travelers leave behind the most money, according to TSA:

1. John F. Kennedy Int’l Airport (New York)


2. Los Angeles Int’l Airport 


3. Miami Int’l Airport


4. O’Hare Int’l Airport (Chicago)


5. Newark Liberty Int’l Airport


6. Dallas/Ft. Worth Int’l Airport


7. San Francisco Int’l Airport


8. McCarran Int’l Airport (Las Vegas)


9. Orlando Int’l Airport


10. Washington Dulles Int’l Airport


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