We've Left This Much Money at Airports This Year

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Going through security is part of everyone's flying experience. You can bring anything from CBD products to Thanksgiving dinners through the Transportation Security Administration, but inevitably, some things are going to get left behind on the X-ray conveyer belt. Some of it is odd, as thoroughly documented on the TSA's award-winning Instagram. Some of it, however, is a gift from the taxpayer right back to the federal government.


Last week, the TSA released its annual report on how much money airplane passengers have left behind at security checkpoints nationwide. During the fiscal year 2019, which ended last September, TSA agents collected more than $925,000 in currency, including nearly $19,000 in foreign currency. All of that is just from what fliers removed from their pockets before being scanned. This is actually a large dip from the previous year, which saw passengers leave more than $960,000 in security bins.

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If you're curious about where we're most forgetful, you can browse the full report to Congress, which breaks down collections from every hub airport in the United States. (Per the report, "A hub is a central airport that flights are routed through, and spokes are the routes that planes take out of the hub airport." Spoke airports also collect unclaimed money, but they send it to their respective hubs.) The money goes toward training and expenses for TSA employees.


Check your pockets extra carefully at the top five culprits:

  1. John F. Kennedy International Airport (New York): $98,110
  2. San Francisco International Airport: $52,668.70
  3. Miami International Airport: $47,694.03
  4. McCarran International Airport (Las Vegas): $44,401.76
  5. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport: $40,218.19