Passengers leave nearly $1 million at security

A bin with unclaimed moneyt at a TSA security checkpoint

When flyers approach a security checkpoint at an airport, they must remove all items from their pockets, including wallets and loose change. The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recommends that travelers place those items directly into their carry-on bags. This is to prevent they will accidentally leave anything behind in a bin. But quite a few flyers neglect the TSA’s recommendation and lose money. Thus, the TSA collects unclaimed money that passengers leave behind at security checkpoints.

TSA collects almost $1 million

In fiscal year 2019 they collected over $926.000 (€785,000). This is a little less than in fiscal year 2018, when the TSA collected $960,000 (€814,000). The unclaimed money consists of loose change and paper currency, usually left behind in a bin during the security screening process.

TSA lost and found offices

TSA ecurity checkpoint with bins

If travelers return to the checkpoint within a short timeframe to claim an item that they left behind, it is easily returned to them. But what if flyers leave an item behind, such as a wallet, and don’t realize it until after they board their flight? In that case they can contact any of TSA’s lost and found offices at airports across the country to identify the lost item.

Top-5 airports with unclaimed money

The TSA compiles a report each fiscal year as required by law. You can visit here the report “Unclaimed Money at Airports in Fiscal Year 2019.” The top 5 airports where passengers have left the most money behind in 2019 are:
1. John F. Kennedy International Airport: $98,110 (€83,170).
2. San Francisco International Airport: $52,668 (€44,647).
3. Miami International Airport: $47,694 (€40,431).
4. McCarran International Airport: $44,401 (€37,640).
5. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport: $40,218 (€34,093).

The unclaimed money found at TSA checkpoints was deposited into a special fund account for providing critical aviation security programs.

Related: What happens to unclaimed money at security?

Tags: TSA, claiming lost items, top-5 airports unclaimed money

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