-- The TSA will keep the change, thank you very much.
What's chump change to travelers resulted in the greatest windfall for the TSA in years. In 2013, the number was $638,142.64. In 2012 it was $531,395.22.
“TSA makes every effort to reunite passengers with items left at the checkpoint, however there are instances where loose change or other items are left behind and unclaimed," the TSA said in a statement. "Unclaimed money, typically consisting of loose coins passengers remove from their pockets, is documented and turned into the TSA financial office."
Unclaimed money is defined as money passengers inadvertently leave behind at airport checkpoints during screening. In most cases, it consists of coins passengers remove from their pockets. Unclaimed money is deposited into a special fund account so that the resources can be easily tracked and subsequently expended.
The TSA was given the authority by Congress to use unclaimed money for security operations in 2005.
Travelers at New York's John F. Kennedy airport left the most change, totaling $42,450 in the fiscal year, Oct. 1, 2013-Sept. 30, 2014.