Wait, What?! Travelers Abandoned Nearly $1 Million in Cash at Airport Security Last Year

Wait, What?! Travelers Abandoned Nearly $1 Million in Cash at Airport Security Last Year

That's a big chunk of (literal) change.

By Alesandra Dubin

We thought we’d heard it all when we learned just how many people abandon their laptops at airport security checkpoints. (Our tech-addicted brains want to know: How does one live without that thing?!) And then, there was the couple who left their $166,000 inheritance in the overhead compartment... and didn't even notice. But surely this latest news tops even that.

For the fiscal year 2016, the Transportation Security Administration reported that passengers left behind more than $867, 812.39 in coins and currency in the plastic bowls and bins at various U.S. airport checkpoints, according to a CNBC report.

In what is perhaps a sign of the strengthening economy, that staggering figure is approximately $102,000 more than the amount left behind in the previous year, and about twice the $484,000 left behind in 2008.

As the years go by, the figure keeps going up for the amount of cash left behind at airport checkpoints: In 2011, the figure was $489,000, jumping up to $675,000 in 2014, and then $766,000 in 2015. And now? Nearly $1 million in cold, hard, abandoned cash!

"There is no real way for TSA to know why this happens," spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein told CNBC. "It makes sense to point to an increase in the number of travelers as one likely reason, but other than that, we have no theories."

The biggest offenders were passengers moving through New York's JFK; there, travelers left behind $70,615. And at runner-up LAX, it was $45,000.

Surely you’re wondering what happens to all that money? Well, more than a decade ago, congress passed a law saying TSA gets to keep the loot and spent it on any civil aviation security efforts it chooses.

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