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TSA Makes About $410,000 In Loose Change Each Year

January 17, 2012 by  

TSA Makes About $410,000 In Loose Change Each Year

The delays caused by the Transportation Security Administration caused hurried passengers to leave behind about $410,000 in pocket change at security checkpoints in 2010, according to reports.

The amount of change left behind by travelers amounted to $376,480.39 in dollar coins, quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies, plus foreign currency worth $32,605.17.

According to USA Today, passengers at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York left the most change in 2010 ($46,918.06), followed by Los Angeles International ($19,110.83), Hartsfield Atlanta International ($16,523.83), San Francisco International ($15,908.02) and Miami International ($15,844.83).

The TSA “makes every effort to reunite passengers with items left at the checkpoint,” agency spokesman Greg Soule told the newspaper. Money that is not returned to its owner is used to finance agency operations.

Representative Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) has proposed legislation that would mandate that the unclaimed change be sent to the United Service Organizations.

“Allowing TSA to keep unclaimed taxpayer money for any and all purposes is an egregious breach of its duty to the public that it serves,” Miller wrote in a recent letter to House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King, R-N.Y. “This money should be put to good use, and there is no better organization to use this money wisely than the USO.”

The TSA reportedly collected about $433,000 in loose change in 2009.

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • Stan Smith

    When I fly I don’t take pocket change with me. I leave it at home put it in a big plastic jug. when returning home I put pocket change in my carry on bag! It would be a hassle pulling change out of your pocket putting it in tray and putting it back in your pocket. Best way to reduce the hassle is before you go to security check point line is put your keys, change, and any other items out of your pockets and put it in your carry on bag, So you don’t have to dig in your pockets to put it in tray. I always do that so I can breeze right through security check point quickly, Then when you are at your gate then you can put your items back in your pockets from your carry on bags!

  • s c

    In a world where common sense and character matter, the TSA will be seen as the Uncle Scam shill that it is. First, I gave up flying when it was obvious that the TSA and the Constitution are diametric opposites.
    The idea that the TSA would stoop to keeping money that it does NOT deserve amounts to an unskilled waiter expecting tips from an abused, unsuspecting customer. TSA, I can only hope that you need my change to function from day to day, as you will NEVER get it, you knuckle-dragging retards.
    A child has more common sense than the flimflamming SOBs at TSA. That money does NOT belong to the TSA. WHAT does Uncle Scam NOT understand about that? WHAT do the American people NOT understand about that?

    • Sirian

      Oh they fully understand s c, it’s simply that they don’t have a problem with taking the leftovers, like so many other things. Who knows, this “excess money” is probably slid into their travel/meeting funds. No, they wouldn’t do anything like that – my ass!!!

  • 45caliber

    It isn’t any worse than keeping all the things they “confiscate”. I’d be willing to bet that most TSA members have a few things at home they acquired in this manner.

    • independant thinker

      The $410,000 is probably half or less of what is actually left.

      • BSG

        Agreed, I bet the agents haven’t bought shampoo for years. Sounds like Congress can easily cut this budget by 1/2 million.

  • David O

    Makes me wonder how much the TSA agents simply put in their pocket that never gets reported or turned in. I rarely fly, but if I did I would much rather go back to the way things were when I was a kid, before there were few, if any restrictions on what you carried on a plane.

    I remember my family flying to Texas from Alabama and my dad carrying his pistol and a couple of knives on him. There were no metal detectors and no cause for alarm when he took his smaller pocket knife out to open an envelope he’d carried in his carry on luggage.

    I’m all for bomb sniffing devices or dogs, that makes sense and I’m all for profiling for potential terrorist like El Al does in Israel, it has worked for them without feeling they needed to have government agents groping people, oops I mean “patting them down” for God knows what.

    If CCW licensees (with training), active duty military personnel and veterans, active, former and retired LEOs were all authorized to carry concealed pistols on commercial airliners I don’t believe that the 9/11 attacks could have been successfully carried out.

    The passengers on Flight 93 who coordinated an attack on the terrorists succeeded in stopping them from accomplishing their mission. It’s just a shame that none of them were armed as they very well could have prevented the terrorists from taking control of the aircraft. While we don’t know that for a fact, it is highly probable as the terrorist were spread out through the plane. Whether it would stop an attack like that from being carried out in the future or not, but I believe it is more probable that it would than not.

  • James

    A classic example of how worthless our money has become.

    • AK Tom

      No doubt, James. And it’s not going to get better anytime soon.

      • James

        The only coin that has retained its intrinsic value is the penny. In fact its intrinsic value exceeds its face value, it costs about 1.3 cents to mint a penny. Theoreticallly one could buy bags of new pennys and sell to copper tubing factories for a profit.

        • 45caliber


          Not any more. The penny is not pure copper. One company DID use pennys for copper washers when it still was but got in trouble for defacing money. In fact, I believe the present penny is mostly zinc. But it is indeed worth about 1.3 cents per penny. This is one reason the government has been pushing to abandon the penny. None of the present coins have enough silver, copper, or nickel in them to be worth much.

        • Jon

          Actually, that’s no longer the case. Today’s pennies only have enough copper in them to provide color. The rest is steel, zinc, and who knows what.

          • MNIce

            Copper pennies (made until 1981) have a mass of 3.11 grams. At today’s copper price of $3.72/lb., that works out to 2.55 cents worth of copper.

            Zinc pennies (pure Zn with a thin plating of copper) have a mass of 2.5 grams. Zinc is presently just under $0.90 per lb., so a Zinc penny has 0.496 cents of metal in it.

            The change to zinc was suggested by President Reagan to save money (I recall how aghast everyone was at the notion that the Federal government should actually try to do that); before then there was a penny shortage as people were recycling the pennies because the copper value was above face value. Today it is illegal for private citizens to recycle pennies.

            It may be possible to use the copper penny as a monetary standard. It would be easier for the people to implement than a gold or silver standard, and would be much harder for the Fed to suppress, except by the relatively expensive means of flooding the market with new copper pennies. It’s more likely that in a year or so the face value of the penny will have dropped to the zinc par value.

            Oops – this is rather off-topic…

        • Bill

          you might want to check that out before you offer that advise. Since 1994 the copper coin that you say to acquire is not copper, but copper clad. it is really aluminum. Take out your pen knife, if you are still allow to have one, and scratch the surface. Copper is not silvery in color. Melt it down and you will find it is not worth the amount of money that it is made of. It is the same as paper money, worthless.

          • Bill

            oops; that should have been 1984 penny.

        • bob

          The U.S. does not mint ‘pennies’, it mints cents, and they have been more than 97% zinc since 1982. It is also against treasury rules to melt other than silver and gold coins.

  • JimH


  • James

    If we melt down a paper dollar, how much would it be worth?


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