New York Is Cracking Down on Crazy Expensive Airport Food and Alcohol

Thanks to one $27 airport beer and a viral tweet, airport beers will soon cost you as much as regular beers in New York

Airport beer

LaGuardia Airport: the third busiest airport in the New York metropolitan area, and the only place you can experience 25-foot-tall indoor fountains/New York-themed light shows alongside a $27 Sam Adams Summer Ale. Or at least you could until recently.

Last summer, a tweet regarding the egregious food and alcohol prices in airports went viral, prompting an investigation by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, according to Travel + Leisure. The tweet was posted by a traveler passing through Terminal C a LaGuardia, and it showed a picture of the drink menu at Biergarten, in which beers ranged in price from $13.05 to $27.85.

OTG, the company that oversees all of the restaurants and stores in New York City’s three airports, was quick to respond, saying that the price of the Sam Adams Summer Ale Draught (the $27 beer) was “incorrectly posted,” and “quickly corrected” down to $18.15. The 25 customers that were found to have purchased said beer were refunded the difference.

But they were, as they say, a day late and a dollar short because Port Authority has now implemented a new policy, which will “cap all concession prices at local, off-airport ‘street prices’ plus a maximum surcharge of 10 percent and requires concessionaires to offer lower-priced food and beverage options to provide a wider range of value for customers.”

“All airport customers should rightly expect that policies which limit the pricing of food and beverages at concessions will be followed and enforced,” Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole said in a statement. “Nobody should have to fork over such an exorbitant amount for a beer. The Aviation Department’s new compliance and enforcement measures announced today 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,” he added.

Now product prices will be determined by similar types of retailers (e.g. grab & go, quick service, fast casual, premium casual dining, etc.), similar products (e.g. individual components, portion size, preparation, etc.) and product quality (e.g. material differences, performance, brand, etc.). Further, product pricing documentation will need to be submitted to Port Authority for review and approval moving forward.

In other words, $20 gas station-grade sandwiches and $6 bottles of water are soon to be a thing of the past. And if they aren’t? Officials are, per a report from People, inviting travelers who suspect cost violations at either JFK, LGA or EWR ​to report them on social media and tag the airport at which it is occurring.


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