$27 for a beer? Port Authority reins in ‘totally indefensible’ airport drink prices

It started with a tweet blasting an airport menu showing exorbitant beer prices ranging from $13.05 to $27.85.

Then there was a story in The City. Now, nearly a year later following an investigation by the Office of the Inspector General, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has set new “street” pricing standards for its airport concessions.

“Based on a detailed review of the concessionaire’s records, the OIG determined that a total of 25 customers were charged the totally indefensible amounts of $23 or $27 (depending on size) for a beer,” a press release announcing the investigation’s results said. “The OIG further confirmed that, as a corrective action, the concessionaire had contacted all 25 customers and refunded the entire check of their order.”

The Port Authority, which owns LaGuardia, JFK, Newark, Stewart and Teterboro airports, changed its airport concession pricing guidelines in July 2020 to allow vendors to add a 10% markup referred to as a “COVID recovery charge.”

More: NJ gas stations will cut prices Friday to promote a self-serve option. Here’s where

That markup remains in effect, but the bi-state agency announced other changes to its guidelines on street pricing.

They include:

  • Stricter guidelines for comparing prices to other retailers in the region

  • Better documentation of procedures and standards

  • Require concessionaires to conduct quarterly checks on their 40 most popular items

  • Require the Port Authority to conduct random checks

  • Create a clear process for how to deal with discrepancies

Customers who suspect pricing violations are encouraged to report them via social media by tagging the relevant airport: @EWRAirport, @JFKAirport, @LGAAirport.

Colleen Wilson covers the Port Authority and NJ Transit for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to her work covering the region’s transportation systems and how they affect your commute, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @colleenallreds

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: $27 beer prompts new ‘street’ pricing at Port Authority airports