NYC Airports Are Putting a Stop to Overpriced Beer & Food

The Port Authority will limit airport upcharges, calling them "totally indefensible."

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Have you ever experienced sticker shock at a New York airport while trying to grab a beer before your flight? You're not alone, and now someone is finally taking action.

The Port Authority, the bi-state agency that controls LaGuardia, JFK, and Newark Liberty International Airports, just released a 35-page policy guide for vendors at its three airports designed to rein in out-of-control prices. It stipulates that airport concession prices can't be more than 10% higher than off-airport "street prices" for the same items.

The move was inspired by a viral social media complaint from one passenger last year, who took to Twitter after paying over $27 for a craft beer at LaGuardia's Terminal C. It prompted an investigation by the state's Office of the Inspector General, which determined that 25 people were incorrectly charged too much for a beer after one vendor added an incorrect surcharge on top of an inflated price. All customers were refunded, and the incident caused the Port Authority to address what it deemed "totally indefensible" food and beverage pricing.

The new rules also stipulate that vendors must offer lower-priced menu options and encourage customers who think they've been overcharged to lodge a complaint 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 Port Authority Chairman Kevin O'Toole in a press 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."

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Chris Mench is an editor focusing on NYC News at Thrillist. You can follow him on Twitter for more of his work.