PHOTO: TSA checkpoint at Denver International Airport. (Photo via Flickr/Danjo Paluska)
It’s an all-to-common feeling. Your sense of euphoria that you’ve finally emerged through the TSA security checkpoint combined with a faint panic that you’ve left something behind. You do a quick inventory. Shoes? Check. Laptop? Check. Smartphone? Check. Loose change? Maybe not so much.
In fact, according to a report at CNBC, passengers around the United States left behind a total of $867,812.39 in coins and bills in those plastic bowls that are used to collect things you’ve forgotten to remove from your pockets, such as your wallet, glasses, credit cards and coins.
And the forgetfulness of air passengers seems to be growing. Rapidly. The amount collected by the TSA has nearly doubled since 2011 when passengers left behind about $486,000.
According to CNBC, the airports with the largest intake of currency was John F. Kennedy in New York City ($75,615) followed by Los Angeles International Airport ($45,000) and Dallas Ft. Worth International Airport ($42,000.)
So what does TSA do with its annual windfall? Congress enacted a law in 2005 that allows the TSA to spend that money on its choice of aviation security program. Although it has used previous monies to expand the TSA Precheck program, it has not yet determined how it will allocate the 2016 windfall.
Interestingly, the aviation caveat is key, because while the TSA is best known for securing America’s airports, the administration is also occasionally called upon to perform other security functions.
READ MORE: Trump Budget Could Cut Three TSA Programs
During the 58th Presidential Inaugural, for example, the TSA played a key role in supporting Secret Service efforts. Hundreds of TSA officers were brought in from 50 airports around the country and assigned to the Washington, D.C., area.
TSA officers were stationed at outdoor security checkpoints along the National Mall, near the Capitol and along the parade route. In addition to screening spectators attending inauguration events, TSA also screened officials arriving at the Pentagon.