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Airport vendor draws scrutiny for selling $27 beer at LaGuardia

State transportation officials are tightening the rules on concessions prices at New York City-area airports after finding one vendor charging as much as $27 for a beer at LaGuardia.

The policy changes come after a probe prompted by a traveler's complaint last year on social media about the listed prices of a seasonal beer, which exceeded $27, said the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which regulates LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy and Newark Liberty airports. 

"Nobody should have to fork over such an exorbitant amount for a beer," Port Authority Chairman Kevin O'Toole said in announcing stronger measures to curtail the practice. Airport concession prices are capped at what would be charged locally, plus an additional 10%. 

A Port Authority Office of Inspector General review of the concessionaire managed by New York-based operator OTG found 25 customers were charged between $23 and $27 for a beer at Terminal C at LaGuardia, a price the Port Authority called "totally indefensible." All customers have since been refunded for their orders, according to the agency. 

The $27.85 tab for a 23-ounce Sam Adams Summer Ale initiated the probe, The City reported

OTG fully cooperated with the Port Authority, said the company, which faulted "a clerical error with a listed price of a seasonal beer." The specific beer was offered last summer in more than 130 restaurants and bars operated by OTG across the country, and "this one location is the only place it was keyed in error," a spokesperson stated in an email. 

The company has taken steps to prevent future overcharges from occurring, including hiring new executives for the team that oversees pricing, OTG added. 

The Port Authority said it would conduct random price checks to better protect people from being overcharged for goods purchased while waiting to board airplanes. 

Travelers who come across examples of overpriced food, beverages and other products sold at area airports should report them on social media and tag the airport, the bi-state agency advised.

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