Passengers Left Nearly $1 Million In Change At U.S. Airports In 2018

By Parker Diakite


The odds of winning the lottery is typically one to hundreds of millions but your chance to score big may be closer than you think. It requires both patience and good eyes at the airport.

A recent report revealed that travelers have dropped more than $960,000 in dimes, quarters, pennies and nickels as they rush through TSA screening checkpoints to make their flights. 

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The unclaimed money, which included approximately $85,000 in foreign currency, is deposited into a special fund for the TSA to use, as reported in WTOP. 

The loose change goes straight to the TSA after Congress directed the agency to account for unclaimed money at individual airports, and direct it toward airport security costs.

Related Post: Black Women Share How TSA Still Goes Through Their Hair During Inspections

 “TSA always seeks to make sure that all traveler property, including loose change, finds its way back to the proper owner,” the agency said in a report acquired by ABC News. “However, when loose change does not, it will be directed to critical aviation security programs.”

TSA’s unusual source of revenue has seen an increase over the last few years. More than $867,800 was collected in 2016 and $869,837 in 2017. 

The agency has reportedly used the unclaimed funds in previous years to pay for checkpoint maintenance, translation of checkpoint signage into different foreign languages and adjudication center enhancements.

Most of the loose change comes from John F. Kennedy Intl (JFK) in New York City. A total of $72,392.74 was unclaimed in 2018.  Right behind JFK is Los Angles Int’l Airport (LAX) where $71,748.83 was found. 

The other 3 airports where the most money was left behind in 2018:

3) Miami Int’l Airport (MIA) $50,504.49

4) O’Hare Int’l Airport (ORD) $49,597.23

5) Newark Int’l Airport (EWR) $41,026.07

So while other people are racing to reach their gate before it closes, keep your eyes low to the ground for the jackpot. 

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Parker Diakite

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