Travel itself is expensive as you try to get the best prices for flights, hotels, rental cars and the rest. Then you get to the airport and you’re suddenly surrounded by high prices that you can’t bargain with. But why?
Even something as basic as a bottle of water gets costly because you can’t bring your own through security. So you either risk bacteria at the water fountain or find $3 to pay for a bottle that would cost you only a dollar outside the airport.
And for food, many people assume that the inflated prices are created just because you’re at the airport. But the truth is a little more nuanced. Although it may seem like you’re paying a 300 percent markup for items just because they’re at the airport, it’s actually because the airport has significantly higher operating costs than anywhere else.
In a Wall Street Journal article, an airport store operator is quoted as saying that products at airport stores because products are shipped in small quantities, delivered at off hours and go through several security screenings throughout the process. Furthermore, airport rent costs more and off-airport warehouses are needed to store items due to limited storage space on site. And most retailers also pay for employee parking and security screening. So you can see how things begin to add up.
Until you see other curious things that make airports seem greedy. Like a lawsuit filed by Kitson because the shop wanted to charge $2.55 for water and the operator of the LAX-located store insisted it sell for $5. Or if you consider that PDX has always had street pricing in place at its restaurants, since the 1980s. And travelers at PDX appreciate the diverse range of food that is available.
Given more information, it seems like the best one can do is hope that other airports learn to drop prices to have happier customers.
[Image: Ankur94527/Wikimedia Commons]