Imagine having to pay two or three times the price of a product just because you’re in a New York City airport. That was standard practice until now, as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which manages LaGuardia Airport, John F. Kennedy Airport and Newark Liberty Airport, this week announced a series of new measures to control prices in The airports.
Officials said the Aviation Department has “significantly improved” its enforcement of fair market pricing policy for goods sold at airport concessionaires. This means that no items should be sold above local “street prices” with a maximum mark-up of 10%, according to the 35-page report. The agency now also requires vendors to offer lower-priced menu options and let customers know they can complain about possible overcharges.
Revisions to the Dealer Pricing Standards and Procedures Manual stemmed from consumer reports and complaints received by the Office of the Inspector General, including the experience of Cooper Lund, who paid $28 for a beer last year.
Lund tweeted The bill, which not only went viral, also raised questions about the hyperinflation of prices in the city’s airports.
Along with his complaint, the traveler shared a photo of the beer menu, which showed prices ranging from $13.05 to $27.85 per glass at a restaurant at LaGuardia Airport. The consumer claimed that the restaurant was charging a “10% recovery fee.”
The retailer then issued a statement explaining that several prices were incorrectly published. However, the tweet prompted the Office of the Inspector General to launch an investigation that ultimately determined that 25 different people were incorrectly overcharged for a beer, in addition to overall inflated prices.
As a corrective measure, all customers were contacted and refunded for “totally indefensible” prices, the Port Authority said.
The Office of the Inspector General further determined that an earlier version of the pricing policy was too unclear for dealers to comply with. In the future, the Aviation Department will regularly check the prices of the goods being sold.
“All airport customers should rightly expect policies limiting the price of food and beverages at concessions to be followed and enforced,” Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole said in a statement. “No one should have to shell out such an exorbitant amount for a beer.”
The Aviation Department held an initial round of workshops to explain the new policies to terminal operators and vendor managers.
Customers who suspect pricing violations are encouraged to report them via social media by tagging the appropriate airport: @EWRAirport, @JFKAirport, @LGAAirport.