It happens to all of us: while at the airport, we decide to indulge in a beer before a flight. Once the check comes, it occurs to us that the price of said beer was equivalent to three six-packs. Alas, that will no longer be the case.
The Port Authority—the bi-state agency responsible for LaGuardia Airport, John F. Kennedy Airport and Newark Liberty Airport—just released a policy guide for vendors that specifically instructs them on the pricing of their items. According to the 35-page report, concession prices cannot be more than 10% higher than out-of-airport "street prices" of similar products. Finally.
But there's more: according to the document, vendors will now also have to offer lower-priced menu options and let their customers know that they can complain about possible overcharges via social media.
"All airport customers should rightly expect that policies which limit the pricing of food and beverages at concessions will be followed and enforced," said Kevin O'Toole, the chairman of the Port Authority, in an official statement. "Nobody should have to fork over such an exorbitant amount for a beer. The Aviation Department's new compliance and enforcement measures announced [...] make it crystal clear that all prices at concessions will be routinely monitored to ensure they are aligned with the regional marketplace. And all airport customers and concessionaires should expect tough pro-active enforcement going forward now that these revised standards are in place."
The changes have been a long time coming as travelers have been complaining about airport over-pricing issues for years. However, the document was specifically inspired by a complaint that went viral on social media just last year.
Back in 2021, Cooper Lund tweeted a photo of the menu at a concession stand inside of LaGuardia, which listed beers for close to $28 each. After being called out, the retailer issued a statement explaining that various prices were incorrectly posted. The tweet, however, prompted the Office of the Inspector General to launch an investigation that eventually determined that 25 different people were incorrectly overcharged for a beer, in addition to overall inflated prices.
Fast forward to today and we will all finally be able to enjoy a cocktail and some fries while at the airport without worrying about exorbitant prices.
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