The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, the body that overlooks three airports in New York and the nearby surrounding area, has recently cracked down on the airports’ overcharging habits by enacting a new policy. 

Further details

The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey oversees LaGuardia Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, and Newark Liberty International Airport. The body has enacted a new policy that “caps all concession prices at local, off-airport ‘street prices’ plus a maximum surcharge of 10 percent and requires concessionaires to offer lower-priced food and beverage options to provide a wider range of value for customers.”

The policy particularly focused on airport hospitality groups and concessionaire operator OTG. 

The new measures, detailed in a revised copy of the “Concessionaire Street Pricing Standards & Procedures Manual”, were created with new findings contained in a recent review undertaken by the Independent Office of Inspector General in mind. The findings contained reports of past violations of the previous policy. 

The two main findings involved violations of the street pricing policy seen at LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal C. It was brought to light by complaints by a passenger on social media, who was shocked to find a seasonal beer on sale for $27. 

The second main finding involved the possibility that the previous iteration of the street pricing policy was far too vague and lacked an adequate explanation for airports to know how exactly to comply with the policy. 

Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole asserted that all visitors to airports should expect policies that limit the pricing of food and beverages at concessions are being followed and enforced. He continued:

“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.

Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton echoed O’Toole’s comments, stating how the “comprehensive and necessary updates to the street pricing standards and procedures are an important step in improving the operations of airport concessionaires and assuring the travelling public.” He continued: 

“In addition to outlining clear, specific and detailed steps that must be followed to adhere to the street pricing policy, it also redoubles the emphasis on including lower-priced value items at every concessionaire. The Agency is grateful for the work of the independent Inspector General for pointing out the flaws of the previous policy and recommending some key ways to rectify it.”

What Does the New Policy Focus On?

The new measures within the revised policy fall into two main categories. The first is the implementation of detailed instructions for calculating product prices based on comparable area averages. The instructions can be anything from offering criteria for determining product quality and criteria for determining similar types of retailers (e.g., is the item a grab & go concession or premium dining?)

The second encourages steps to strengthen monitoring and compliance of the street pricing policy, such as ensuring that each concessionaire completes quarterly on-site spot checks of the top 40 items sold at their location during the previous quarter, and documenting uniform standards and procedures. 

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