NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — That’s no chump change.
Nearly $675,000 in loose change was left behind at airports across the country last year, according to the Transportation Security Administration.
John F. Kennedy Airport saw the most forgotten change, totaling $42,550. Passengers left about $17,000 at both LaGuardia and Newark airports.
The money is typically left behind in the bottom of bins that pass through X-ray machines at airport security checkpoints, the TSA said.
“People who realize at the last minute that they’ve left something in their pocket will typically take it out and put it in the little round bin as opposed to the big rectangular one and then they forget that there’s a round bin that they had anything in,” TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein told 1010 WINS.
Ads featured on the bottom of the bins could be a reason travelers forget their change, Farbstein said.
“It’s a big ad, and it’s got some color in it and if they glance in the bin they might not see the pocket change, they might just see the ad,” Farbstein said.
Loose change is just one of a long list of items that is forgotten every day at airport security checkpoints.
“We have a pretty robust lost and found unit and they try to reunite people with their items, in the case of loose change that somebody might leave in a bin, that obviously doesn’t have an ID on it, usually that just gets rolled and turned in,” Farbstein said.
The best way to avoid leaving your pocket change behind is to put loose change into your carry-on bag, the TSA said.
Since 2008, the TSA has collected a whopping $3.5 million in loose change, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported.
Flyers Carlin spoke to all had the same question: what happens to all that money?
“Who keeps it? The TSA keeps it?” asked Max Warner, of the Lower East Side.
The TSA is allowed to keep the money if no one claims it. The money is then used to pay for security operations, CBS News reported.
But some had other ideas on where it should be spent.
“I think they should give it to charity. That’s the best place to put it,” said Doug Weed.
After JFK, Los Angeles International Airport and San Fransisco round out the top three airports where fliers leave the most change behind.