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The last time you went through airport security, do you remember seeing spare change in one of those plastic bowls that someone had abandoned after emptying their pockets? Turns out, it’s a much more common occurrence than you might think.
In fact, according to a recent report by the TSA, passengers left behind more than $867,812 during the fiscal year 2016, a combination of both coins and dollar bills found in airports across the country. The amount of change left behind has been increasing steadily, too — in 2011, travelers left behind about $489,000; in 2014, almost $675,000 and in 2015, roughly $766,000. Airports where travelers are the most forgetful — or “generous” — include New York (JFK), where flyers left behind a total of $70,615 as well as Los Angeles (LAX; almost $45,000) and Dallas (DFW; more than $42,000).
So, what happens to all that money? In short, the TSA gets to keep it. In 2005, Congress passed a law saying the agency could hang onto any kind of cash left behind at its checkpoints and put it toward efforts in the realm of civil aviation security. The collected cash from the past two years has gone toward the expansion of the TSA PreCheck program, for instance, but as for this year’s sum, it remains to be seen — the agency said it doesn’t know what it plans to do just yet.
Featured image courtesy of Paul J. Richards via Getty Images.
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