Why I’d fairly go hungry than purchase meals in an airport terminal

As a frequent traveler for each work and leisure, I’ve grow to be fairly good at navigating most of the frustrations folks are likely to have at airports.

I test in on-line and journey keep it up luggage solely wherever attainable to keep away from traces at check-in. I all the time have my liquids already packaged in a transparent bag so I can zip by safety.

One factor that also surprises me, nonetheless, is the standard and value of meals accessible in airports. I navigate this explicit frustration by doing my finest to keep away from airport meals shops totally.

There’s a scene from the long-lasting Nineties sitcom “Seinfeld” the place Jerry Seinfeld discusses the price of meals in airports throughout a stand-up set which nonetheless makes me chuckle to this present day for its accuracy.

Do you suppose that the folks on the airport that run the shops have any thought what the costs are everyplace else on the planet, or do you suppose they only really feel they’ve their very own little nation on the market and so they can cost something they need? “You hungry? Tuna sandwich is $9.00. Tuna may be very uncommon right here.”

I believe the entire airport/airline complicated is a large rip-off simply to promote the tuna sandwiches. I believe that revenue is what’s supporting the entire air journey business. I imply, give it some thought. The terminals, the airplanes. It’s all only a distraction so that you simply don’t discover the beating that you simply’re taking over the tuna.

Adjusted for inflation, that $9 in 1990 would now be $19. Each time I consider the outrageous costs of meals and drinks in airport terminals, I all the time grin, remembering how ridiculous the costs had been within the early Nineties and the way they’ve remained so.

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My very own reminiscences are of being requested to pay $10 (£8.70) for a bottle of water at Punta Cana Airport within the Dominican Republic earlier this yr (I gasped, handed it again and walked out). Additionally, I as soon as paid $17.50 at Atlanta Airport (ATL) for a horrible, pre-made rooster wrap that was so “un-fresh” the sides of the wrap had gone soggy and mushy.

Jerry Seinfeld and I aren’t the one ones who’ve observed. Early this yr, a $27 beer led the company that oversees the three main New York Metropolis space airports to crack down on sky-high costs being charged for meals and drinks.

An investigation by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which has oversight over John F. Kennedy Worldwide Airport (JFK), LaGuardia Airport (LGA) and Newark Liberty Worldwide Airport (EWR) airports, discovered a number of cases of beer and meals had been being offered to vacationers in these airports at “completely indefensible” costs.

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The Port Authority says it has since carried out new pricing requirements for concessions on the three New York/New Jersey airports, setting a cap on food and drinks costs at what’s described as native “road costs.”

The brand new coverage permits for a most surcharge of 10% to be added to the sale of those items. A part of the issue, the company stated, was that the earlier street-pricing coverage was not particular sufficient in its directions to distributors. The revisions presumably deal with that subject.

So what’s the answer for world vacationers past making an attempt to maintain starvation pangs at bay?

My colleague Zach Griff spends as little time at his departure airports as attainable by arriving simply earlier than departure and zipping straight to the gate. Pre-COVID-19 that might be a smart technique. Nevertheless, with the airport meltdowns Europe noticed over this previous summer season, I wouldn’t advocate arriving 45 minutes earlier than departure and assuming all the pieces will go easily.

My trick has been to eat in airport lounges the place attainable. I attempt to bear in mind to do my analysis earlier than I arrive at an airport to ensure there’s a lounge accessible, it is going to be open when I’m there, and most significantly, I can entry it.

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With British Airways standing, an Amex Platinum and a Precedence Cross membership, I’m typically capable of finding a lounge I can entry. The meals accessible might not be refined or significantly nutritious, however I can normally make myself a salad or a sandwich that might be considerably just like what I’d eat at dwelling, and better of all, it’s free.

If there isn’t a lounge accessible, I attempt to eat at dwelling or on the best way to the airport. In some cases, I wait and eat on the aircraft. Aircraft meals isn’t normally significantly better than what’s accessible throughout the terminals. Nevertheless, if I’m flying a full-service airline, I no less than don’t must pay for it.

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If I discover myself with out lounge entry and I haven’t been capable of eat beforehand or onboard the flight, I’ll sometimes peruse the terminal meals shops. Nevertheless, the jaw-dropping costs and a fast scan of what the meals really seems to be like normally means I might fairly sit on the gate hungry than waste good cash on a subpar airport meal.

The superb meals on the Centurion Lounge, London Heathrow NICKY KELVIN/THE POINTS GUY

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Flyers in the UK are fairly lucky with airport meals pricing if you’re proud of one thing easy to remove like a Boots meal deal or Pret A Manger croissant and occasional. Their costs are not often outrageous, and the meals, whereas not connoisseur, isn’t dreadful.

Elsewhere, if airport meals no less than tasted superb, I’d take into account paying the extortionate costs charged. Nevertheless, the few instances up to now the place I’ve taken the plunge and parted with £15 ($17.85) or greater for a sandwich or burger, I have been constantly upset with the standard I acquired for the value paid and kicked myself for making this error.

Fortunately airport lounges have been my savior and normally fill the hole. In any other case, I might fairly go hungry than pay these loopy costs for common meals and drinks in an airport.

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