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Pocket change left at airports totals nearly $675,000 nationally

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In fiscal year 2014, travelers left nearly $675,000 in change behind at airport checkpoints nationwide, according to an annual report that tracks the money travelers leave behind.

Travelers in Virginia departing Washington Dulles International Airport in Sterling, Virginia, left $22,037.55 behind, which ranked as the eighth highest amount in the country. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, saw $9,591.57 left at checkpoints.

Richmond International Airport had $1,160.88 left behind, including its “spoke” airports in Lynchburg, Charlottesville and Roanoke. Norfolk and Newport News/Williamsburg International Airports saw a combined $563.01 left at their checkpoints.

Typically the money is left in the bottom of bins that are used to place belongings as they pass through the checkpoint x-ray machine. Airport bins often have advertising in the bottom and sometimes passengers don’t spot their change against the backdrop of the ads.

The last five fiscal years* of loose change totals at airport checkpoints:
• FY 2010 – $409,085.56
• FY 2011 – $487,869.50
• FY 2012 – $531,395.22
• FY 2013 – $638,142.64
• FY 2014 – $674,841.06
*October 1 to September 30 each year

Top 10 airports where travelers left change at the checkpoints in 2014:

1. John F. Kennedy International Airport -- $42,550.00
2. Los Angeles International Airport -- $41,506.64
3. San Francisco International Airport -- $34,889.63
4. Miami International Airport -- $32,590.43
5. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport -- $29,684.03
6. McCarran International Airport (Las Vegas) -- $27,676.71
7. George Bush Intercontinental Airport (Houston) -- $26,839.01
8. Washington Dulles International Airport -- $22,037.55
9. O'Hare International Airport (Chicago) -- $21,068.69
10. Orlando International Airport -- $20,757.81

In 2005, Congress gave the Transportation Security Administration the authority to expend unclaimed money for security operations.