You'll No Longer Have to Pay an Absurd Amount of Money to Eat at NYC Airports

Say "goodbye" to $27 beers

Woman eating in a newly designed waiting areas in the airport

Afitopardo / Getty Images

Have you ever spent $15 on a small iceberg lettuce salad at the airport and thought, "Why?" Now, you can say "goodbye" to those overpriced meager meals at New York City area airports.

Last week, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey finished conducting a months-long investigation into reports of violations of the Aviation Department's street pricing policy. Concluding that particular food and beverage options—specifically beers—were exorbitantly overpriced, the agency says that it is instituting caps on all concessions at "local, off-airport 'street prices' plus a maximum surcharge of 10 percent."

In addition to fair market pricing, the Port Authority is also requiring vendors to start selling lower-priced food and drink options.

Throughout its investigation, the agency found that concessionaire operator OTG, whose vendors can be found at 10 airports around the country—including LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy International, and Newark Liberty International airports—was guilty of selling beers with an "erroneously added surcharge on top of an inflated base price."

The investigation was prompted by a tweet that went viral last summer when a traveler at LaGuardia shared a beer menu from OTG-operated Biergarten, selling Sam Adams Summer Ale Draughts for an outrageous $27.85.

Although the tweet lambasted LaGuardia prices, New Jersey congressman Donald M. Payne, who represents the state's 10th district, shortly afterward pointed out similar price gouging at Newark.

"We need to know what is happening with the prices of goods at Newark Liberty International Airport," wrote Representative Donald Payne, Jr., in an open letter to PA Inspector General John Gay. "Airport customers are a captive audience, and we trust airport vendors not to abuse this power and overcharge customers for common items. But if vendors are charging almost $28 for a beer, then they are clearly abusing that power. We need an independent investigation into how and why they are setting their prices at such levels."

The Port Authority admits that the previous street pricing policy was too vague and hopes the updated instructions provide "greater clarity."

"All airport customers should rightly expect that policies which limit the pricing of food and beverages at concessions will be followed and enforced," said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O'Toole. 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."

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  1. Port Authority NY NJ. "Port Authority Announces Comprehensive New Measures to Bolster Compliance With 'Street Pricing' Policy at Airport Concessions." May 12, 2022.

  2. Port Authority NY NJ. "Port Authority Announces Comprehensive New Measures to Bolster Compliance With 'Street Pricing' Policy at Airport Concessions." May 12, 2022.