Travelers leave $531,395 in loose change with TSA

Jolie Lee, USA TODAY Network 12:23 p.m. EST December 4, 2013

(Photo: David Zalubowski, AP)

In the hustle and bustle of getting through airport security, travelers have left behind $$531,395 in loose pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters last year alone.

The Transportation Security Administration is authorized to use that cash for "civil aviation security."

But the agency has only spent about $6,500 of it in fiscal year 2012, according to a House report.

The amount of change left behind at airports has increased over the years. In 2011, the TSA collected $488,000 in coins and in 2010 it pulled in $409,000.

So what's happening to the cash? One possibility is it would go toward airport amenities for servicemembers. A bill passed in the House on Dec. 3 would require the TSA to give the loose change to nonprofits such as the United Service Organization that operate centers in airports, according to the Gannett Washington Bureau.

The USO, for example, has lounges in nearly 40 major airports that provide food and a place to rest for military personnel. The bill is headed to the Senate.

Top 10 airports with the most loose change left behind:

1) Miami International — $39,613
2) McCarran International (Las Vegas) — $26,900
3) O'Hare International (Chicago) — $22,116
4) Los Angeles International — $21,916
5) John F. Kennedy International — $21,201
6) Dallas/Fort Worth International — $20,190
7) San Francisco International — $19,874
8 ) Washington Dulles International — $16,537
9) Logan International (Boston) — $16,406
10) George Bush Intercontinental (Houston) — $16,082