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Tuesday 17 May 2022

Forget stale sandwiches: meet the $38 airport beer

Regulars will recall my weekend outrage over paying $23 for a semi-stale sandwich, crisps and a soft drink at Melbourne Airport. 

The response from readers underlined that being ripped off at airports is endemic in Australia, and in many places around the world. 

But the three airports serving New York City might take the cake when it comes to bare-faced theft. 

Foodie and regular correspondent Robert Carmack pointed out a recent story in the Washington Post about the absurd prices of drinks at three New York City-area airports. 

It reported that an investigation by transportation authorities that oversee New York airports confirmed that customers had paid as much as $27 (that's over $38 Aus!) for a beer at LaGuardia Airport over the past year. 

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said it was tightening the “street pricing” policy that keeps concessions prices comparable to prices outside airports. 

The revised policy also caps surcharges at 10%. The authority regulates LaGuardia (above), John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport.

After investigating a complaint posted on social media last July, the Office of Inspector General for the airport authority reported that concessions operator OTG violated its policy. 

The OIG found 25 patrons were charged ​​” totally indefensible amounts” of $23 or $27, depending on the size of the beer, in Terminal C at LaGuardia.

One has to question their sanity for paying that much - but there you go. 

The beer that prompted the audit was a 23-ounce Sam Adams Summer Ale that cost $27.85. 

The review found some beer prices included “an erroneously added surcharge on top of an inflated base price”. 

OTG also operates airport concessions in cities including Washington DC, Chicago, Philadelphia and Houston. It might be a business worth avoiding. 

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