Man’s $28 beer at LaGuardia airport sparks fierce debate about airport prices

Social media users have noticed sky-high prices at New York airport outlets

Jade Bremner
Wednesday 04 August 2021 05:04
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A LaGuardia airport retailer had to check its pricing after being called out by a traveller, who posted a picture of a sky-high $28 beer on social media.

“Lol at all of this, including the additional 10 per cent ‘Covid Recovery Fee’ that doesn’t go to workers,” tweeted Cooper Lund on 7 July, while visiting the Biergarten outlet in New York before his flight.

Lund posted a picture of a menu with a glass of Sam Adams Summer Ale listed at the exorbitant price of $27.85 (£20.04).

Following the post, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has requested that OTG Management – the company that operates the outlets in New York airports Newark, Kennedy and LaGuardia – audit its prices.

“We know this market is expensive enough already, so we’re committed to everything we can do to ensure reasonable pricing for our customers. At our request, OTG is conducting a full audit of their pricing, and we will be working with all of our terminal operators and concession partners to review pricing across restaurants and airports to ensure customers are being treated fairly,” the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said in a statement to The Independent.

“This is a situation where someone simply input the wrong prices,” OTG responded in a statement to The Independent. “Once we learned of it, we immediately took action to correct and began proactively auditing our entire system to ensure there were no other mistakes. OTG took this initiative on its own.”

OTG also tweeted a response to Lund: “Yikes. GOOD CATCH! That Sam Summer **price is incorrect** and has been updated. + note all other listed prices are for 23oz pours.”

The company then offered the disgruntled traveller a free beer when he next visits the airport. “We very much appreciate you spotting. DM us next time you’re passing through – on us.”

Despite the kind gesture, social media users noticed the retailer was overcharging on a number of items.

“What should the price actually be? It looks to me like *all* of these prices are hugely inflated, not just the Sam Summer,”  tweeted aviation commentator Jason Rabinowitz. The beer has been relisted at $18.15 (£13.06).

Prices for food and drink jumped up after a New York City Covid initiative allowed restaurants and bar owners to add a 10 per cent “Covid-19 recovery charge” to bills, to compensate for fewer patrons while capacity was capped.

Councilman Joseph C. Borelli introduced the concept to help those in the hospitality industry recoup some of the costs they had suffered during the pandemic. Restaurants are now allowed to operate at full capacity.

Some passengers no longer have the option of eating on board their flight, as certain airlines are temporarily limiting their onboard food and drink services. American Airlines, for example, is currently not serving full meals or alcohol in economy seats on shorter flights.

“You’re welcome to bring snacks and soft drinks to enjoy during your flight,” states the airline.

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