Spare Some Change? Air Pax Inadvertently Donate $650K To The TSA

Open Jaw

If you think your living room couch is a good source of small change, consider the U.S. Transportation Security Administration. In 2013 alone it collected nearly $650,000 in loose change that passengers left in the corners of those plastic bins after getting through security scanning.

It seems that by the time pax run that gauntlet they're more interested in putting their belt back on so their pants don't fall down than they are in putting coins back in their pockets.

The precise amount of abandoned coins was $638,142.64 – and that's the figure for 2013. The TSA is still counting last year's haul.

It's probably a larger number, since the 2013 figure was a record, up from $531,395 in 2012 and $409,085 in 2011. A TSA spokesperson told CNBC that the agency expects the amount to increase every year going forward, but did not elaborate on why.

The TSA is required to report every quarter, dime and nickel to the U.S. Congress, but after that the agency essentially gets to say “finders, keepers."

The agency is currently required to spend the money on civil aviation security, but it is not using very much of it. In 2012, for example, the TSA cashed in $6,500 to translate some airport signs into foreign languages and to cover some vaguely described administrative costs.

Some legislators have suggested that the TSA should be required to actually do something positive with the money, such as donate it to non-profits. In 2013, Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) proposed the TSA Loose Change Act which would have mandated donating unclaimed coins to charities, but the act died before passing.

If pax don't want their loose change, a number of non-profits have set up collection points before security areas.

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