Eating at the airport costs a lot. Prices are significantly higher at the airport than they are in the heart of the cities those airports serve.
Many travelers feel the airport eateries have them over a barrel. With flight delays common, and people rushing to get where they need to be, sometimes you have to eat at the airport. Especially since the airlines don’t generally serve meals or even snacks any longer.You can’t even bring liquids through security if you want to pack a meal from home.
Airport executives claim that prices are lower than they were ten years ago, but it is expensive to run a business at the airport.There are other considerations. Not only is rent higher, but airport shops often stay open later due to flight schedules and may need extra staff to work when a storm hits, as well as paying the airport for security screening. Conversely, airport concessions are busy, and often lucrative.
Many airports have imposed pricing caps to prevent prices from going out of control. Usually these involve making airport concession prices comparable to the cities they are in, some cap at 10-15% above that. Officials at Denver International Airport had to recently force a fast food concession to lower its prices after discovering that it was using the prices at Invesco Field, where the Denver Broncos play, for its ‘street’ prices. Most use tourist spots, which while pricier than other parts of town, at least ensure prices are on the upper-end of reasonable.
With checked baggage charges encouraging people to carry more onto the plane, there is less room to pack a snack. Although the carry-on allowances apply to onboard the aircraft, if you bring your lunch in a bag and eat it at the airport, you can avoid bringing too much on. Also, most airlines will not complain about a small paper bag with food in it in addition to their allowance. But sometimes that isn’t an option. In that case, like the song says…You’d Better Shop Around.