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Plane crazy: Forgotten change piles up at U.S. airports

AFP-JIJI

Travelers left behind a record $531,395.22 in loose change at security checkpoints in U.S. airports in fiscal 2012, the Transportation Security Administration says.

In a report to Congress, seen by The Washington Post, the TSA said that more than $10,000 in change was forgotten at each of 13 major airports in cities such as New York, Dallas, Atlanta and San Francisco.

Passengers at Miami International Airport, a prime gateway for Latin American travelers, left $39,613 — more than at any other airport.

The total amount collected included about $32,000 in foreign currency, the Post reported Friday.

Under U.S. law, the TSA — with a $7.6 billion budget for the fiscal 2012 year that ended Sept. 30 — is supposed to spend any loose change it finds on civil aviation security.

But on Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed a resolution calling for the cash to go to nonprofit groups that assist traveling military personnel and their families.

Nickels, dimes and quarters aren’t the only things TSA agents come across at security checkpoints.

Last week alone, they discovered 34 firearms — 27 of them loaded — as well as 22 stun guns in carry-on baggage, the federal agency said last Friday.