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Those of us that travel must really love the TSA service.  You know, the pat-downs, the scans, and the sometimes glaring looks.  Judging by the tips we leave behind, they’re doing an excellent job and you really appreciate it.  What?  You’ve never tipped a TSA agent?  Think again.

You may have contributed to the $376,480.39 in loose change that the TSA collected from the bottoms of plastic bins at security checkpoints in 2010.  Did you leave a few pennies or a nickle behind during your last trip?  Then you’ve left a tip.

According to a report from MSNBC, all the unclaimed pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters are turned over to the TSA  finance office.  After being documented and counted, the money ends up in the coffers of the TSA, which is authorized by law to spend that money as it sees fit.

Lawmakers are now claiming that it’s tax-payers’ money and that the TSA shouldn’t have carte blanche to spend it as they please.  In the meantime, if you feel strongly that you don’t want the TSA capture these funds, make sure you hang on to your change the next time you go through airport security.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • Starting Jan. 26, a new U.S. Transportation Department rule will require airlines to include all taxes and fees in their advertised fares.  Other provisions of the rule – banning post-purchase price increases and allowing passengers to hold certain reservations without payment or to cancel them without penalty for 24 hours after booking – will take effect Jan. 24.  The DOT is also requiring airlines to disclose baggage fees when passengers buy a ticket, mandating that the same baggage allowances and fees apply throughout a journey, and stipulating that those fees be shown on electronic ticket confirmations.
  • Two passengers of United Airlines were angry after the airline gave their seats to singer Wyclef Jean just before they were about to board their flight.  United’s flight agent told the passengers that “Political celebrities are treated differently.”  As far as we know, United is the only airline that has a political celebrity policy.
  • Travelers are bombarded with offers, deals and price fluctuations on a day-to-day basis, so to help them navigate the maze and save money, Consumer Reports’ came up with some helpful tips to cut costs and lock in the best rates.  One piece of advice that Consumer Reports’ didn’t offer was to use Yapta to track the price of your fight even after you’ve booked.  If the price drops, you could be entitled to a refund from the airline.