NYC Airports Can No Longer Overcharge For A Beer

Frequent travelers know it costs money to fly — and we're not just talking about air tickets and hotels, either. Even after we've gotten past security, most of us brace ourselves for potentially inflated charges we've come to expect for just about everything we purchase — from bottled water to a glass of beer.

But the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey wants to change that. As a result, officials call for an end to a pricing practice that has resulted in customers paying more than double what a container of beer might cost at a tourist site like New York's Yankee Stadium, per

While most people have long been disgruntled about airport pricing, the straw that broke the camel's back was reflected in a tweet sent out in the summer of 2021, when one social media user shared a screenshot of an electronic menu taken from an airport bar. He captioned: "lol at all of this, including the additional 10% "COVID Recovery Fee" that doesn't go to workers." The screenshot showed a Sam Adams Summer Ale Draught going for the eye-watering price of $27.85, while a side of French fries (which was not pictured) cost $10.90, per The City. By contrast, pointed out that a Budweiser served up in a souvenir cup costs $10 at Yankee Stadium, while fans can expect to fork over at least $7 for fries.

Airport consumers were outraged by the prices

The problems didn't just lie with beer and fries, either. One customer told The City that she had expected to pay $2.50 for a 12-ounce bottle of Minute Maid orange juice but instead paid $4. "They've got you, they know you don't have a choice," she said, while a third customer tweeted: "I just flew out of Newark this past Friday and was charged $11 for a Dasani water, pack of M&Ms, and gum. Smh, that would be $4 or $5 at most!"

The posts were enough to get officials at the Port Authority to call for a thorough audit into pricing structures at various airport concessions, managed by a company called OTG. And while its spokesman, Michael Marchese, told The City that in the case of the Sam Adams Draught, the prices were mere "incorrectly posted" and had been "quickly corrected," it didn't change the fact that other customers were similarly outraged after paying prices they didn't expect.

Port Authority officials have set new guidelines

An audit of OTG's pricing practices began in August of 2021, per, and that has since culminated in a 35-page set of policy guidelines, including a maximum limit on the amount concessions can charge to "local street prices" plus 10%. Concessions are now also required to offer up cheaper food and beverage choices, so travelers have more wallet-friendly options. And if you're looking to enjoy something from national chains like Dunkin' or Shake Shack, expect their prices to be set in accordance with locations outside of the airport (via Food and Wine).

In announcing the changes, Port Authority Chairman Kevin O'Toole said: "All airport customers should rightly expect that policies which limit the pricing of food and beverages at concessions will be followed and enforced," per NBC News. He adds that: "The Aviation Department's new compliance and enforcement measures... 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 story ends well for the traveler who first blew the whistle on the airport's jaw-dropping pricing. OTG found that 25 other people were overcharged for their beers and were given full refunds during the investigation.