We've all heard of highway robbery, but perhaps airport robbery might be a more accurate term for what happened to many travelers at an New York City airport.
It started after one person complained on social media in summer 2021 after purchasing a beer at LaGuardia Airport's Terminal C that cost a whopping $27. Granted, it was a seasonal beer, but unless that season turns everything to gold, it was an astronomical price to pay for the beverage.
But that traveler wasn't the only person who was told to pay up for the pricey potent potable. According to a review by the Office of Inspector General, a total of 25 people were charged what the Port Authority called a "totally indefensible" amount of $23 or $27 for a beer, depending on size.
Get Tri-state area news and weather forecasts to your inbox. Sign up for NBC New York newsletters.
The review found that one vendor, OTG, violated street pricing policy by erroneously adding a surcharge to an already inflated base base price. That concessionaire later contacted all 25 people who had purchased the lavish lager and gave them a full refund, the Inspector General confirmed.
After the lengthy investigation, the Port Authority is now setting new pricing standards for all concessions at the three major NYC-area airports (JFK, Newark and LaGuardia). The 35-page policy caps prices for food and drinks at local, off-airport "street prices," plus a maximum surcharge of 10 percent.
"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. "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."
The new rules also require vendors to offer lower-priced food and beverage options to provide a wider range of value.
Port Authority also encouraged all travelers who suspect pricing violations at any of the three airports to report them via social media and tag the airport at which it is occurring.