According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), harried passengers left $960,105 in various currencies at its checkpoints across the United States between October 2017 and September 30th 2018. It’s the largest amount ever recovered from forgetful passengers and marks a 40% increase on the amount of forgotten change left at checkpoints in 2013.
It turns out that passengers passing through New York JFK were the worst offenders with $72,392 in change left behind at the airport last year. Next up was Los Angeles International Airport where passengers managed to misplace over $71,000. The remaining airports with the biggest hauls of leftover currency in the Top Five were Miami International, Chicago O’Hare and Newark Liberty.
While a spokesperson for the TSA says that the agency does everything it can to reunite passengers with forgotten personal items, there are occasions when spare change goes unnoticed until it’s too late. Thankfully, the money will be put to good use as the TSA plans to use it on training frontline staffers.
It’s likely that the majority of leftover cash is just spare coins that passengers quickly remove from their pockets to avoid setting off the metal detector. The TSA, however, doesn’t mention whether there were any standout amounts that went unclaimed. It’s not unheard of for passengers to leave behind expensive jewellery, including real Rolex watches, only to discover their mistake once their flight has departed!
In the last week, concern has been raised about plans to plunder the TSA’s budget in order to help fund operations at the Southern border with Mexico. Critics say any reduction in the TSA’s budget could lead to even longer lines at checkpoints this summer.