TSA collected over $500K in spare change last year. Where does the money go?

tsa-change-500kBy Ashleigh Schmitz

When asked to empty their pockets at airport security, travelers are quick to oblige placing wallets, cell phones, and spare change in the baskets. In a rush to collect belongings and quickly head to gates for departure, stray coins can be an afterthought for some passengers.

Last year, those afterthoughts totaled $531,395–a substantial increase from the two years prior. In 2011 the TSA collected $488,000, which is up from $409,000 in 2010.

But just where does that hunk of change go? According to the TSA Loose Change Act, “The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has authority to retain and spend, without annual appropriation, unclaimed money left at security checkpoints by air passengers for activities related to aviation security.” While the TSA collected over $500,000 in 2012, the agency had only spent $6,539 by the end of the fiscal year.

Check out the top ten airports with the most spare change left behind:

1. Miami International: $39,613

2. McCarran International (Las Vegas): $26,900

3. O’Hare International (Chicago): $22,116

4. Los Angeles International: $21,916

5. John F. Kennedy International: $21,201

6. Dallas/Ft. Worth International: $20,190

7. San Francisco International: $19,874

8. Washington Dulles International: $16,537

9. Logan International (Boston): $16,406

10. George Bush Intercontinental (Houston): $16,082

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