What to Know
- Travelers going through New York City-area airports left behind $131,326 at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints in 2018
- More money was forgotten at JFK Airport than at any other airport in the U.S., with passengers leaving more than $72,000 at the checkpoints
- In total, the TSA collected over $960,000 in unclaimed money at all U.S. airports
You fly and you buy — for the TSA, that is.
Travelers going through New York City-area airports left behind $131,326 at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints in 2018, according to a report by the administration.
More money was forgotten at JFK Airport than at any other airport in the country, with passengers leaving more than $72,000 at the checkpoints. Newark Liberty Airport saw more than $41,000 in unclaimed cash, while LaGuardia had nearly $18,000 left behind, the report stated.
In total, the TSA collected over $960,000 in unclaimed money at all U.S. airports, including almost $86,000 in foreign currency. That’s up from $867,000 collected in 2017 and has gone up every year since 2013, when the administration collected $638,000.
Most of the money is a result of travelers emptying their pockets before going through metal detectors, then forgetting the loose change in the bins as they collect their other belongings, according to TSA Spokesperson Lisa Farbstein. Sometimes unmarked envelopes of cash are also found, and while the TSA tries to reunite passengers with their forgotten items, it isn’t always possible.
“Unfortunately, it is easy for passengers to accidentally leave items, including wallets and loose change, in bins,” a TSA press release stated. Travelers may get distracted by advertisements at the bottom of bins and not realize they left some coins behind. Also, those who use multiple bins may stack them, inadvertently covering up anything they forgot.
“For these reasons, TSA recommends that travelers remove items from their pockets and place those items into their carry-on bags so that the items will not be left behind,” the press release stated.
The nearly $1 million in forgotten money will be used by the TSA for checkpoint training requirements.
Here are the top 10 airports where flyers left change at checkpoints:
1. JFK Airport — $72,392.74
2. Los Angeles International Airport — $71,748.83
3. Miami International Airport — $50,504.49
4. O’Hare International Airport — $49,597.23
5. Newark Liberty International Airport — $41,026.07
6. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport — $36,707.99
7. San Francisco International Airport — $33,264.80
8. McCarran International Airport (Las Vegas) — $33,038.23
9. Orlando International Airport — $32,687.10
10. Washington Dulles International Airport — $31,090.38