TSA: Travelers stranded more than $500,000 at security checkpoints in 2012
A traveler steps into the security screening as Transportation Security Administration agents look on Nov. 2, 2013 in Los Angeles, California [AFP]

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

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

Passengers at Miami International Airport, a prime gateway for Latin American travellers, 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 US law, the TSA -- with a $7.6 billion budget for the fiscal 2012 year that ended September 30 -- is supposed to spend any loose change it finds on civil aviation security.

But on Tuesday, the House of Representative passed a resolution calling for the cash to go to non-profit groups that assist travelling 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.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]