Airport security areas are basically just one big change jar, as the Transportation Security Administration reports that passengers left behind around $400,000 in coins in 2010. Which means either we’re forgetting our nickels and dimes or consciously choosing to ditch those pennies instead of filling our pockets back up.
The TSA (via USA Today) says the coin leakage adds up to $409,085.56, which includes $32,605.17 in foreign currency. Perhaps people are rushing to catch a flight, or maybe they just don’t think they’ll use those coins if they’re going to another country. Or maybe no one like a bunch of pennies jingling in pockets.
“Many people aren’t carrying change these days anyway,” said David Stempler, president of the Air Travelers Association. “It just weighs down in their pockets and purses. I know in the city I see a lot of people giving it to homeless people just to get rid of the change.”
The most change-heavy airports include John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Los Angeles International, Hartsfield Atlanta International, San Francisco International and Miami International.
The TSA says they do try to reunite passengers with their goods at the checkpoint, but it might be hard to track down everyone who left a pile of coins. The money that’s left behind is used to finance agency operations.
Republican Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida is proposing legislation that would give the moola to the United Service Organizations to help operate their welcome centers for U.S. military personnel around the globe, so that it can be put to good use.
Better to leave behind a few coins than to have TSA agents steal cash right out of your luggage. In somewhat related news, two agents who admitted to stealing $40K from a checked bag were sentenced this week to six months in jail, says the Wall Street Journal. Cops said at the time the twosome fessed up to boosting around $160K total.
TSA agents who stole $40K from NY luggage get jail [Wall Street Journal]