Phoenix airport food price ordinance removed

PHOENIX (KSAZ) -- For more than a decade, a Phoenix city ordinance regulated food prices at the airport, in an effort to protect customers from being price gouged.

Times, however, have changed. There are more food options, and the Phoenix City Council believes competitive pricing is the way to go. Customers at the airport, however, don't feel the same.

"Everything at the airport is expensive," said Chandler Bittinger. "Everyone knows that."

In 1996, Phoenix city leaders created a "strict" pricing policy for food sold at the airport, whereby eateries could only charge up to 10% more than their off-airport prices. That policy was ended by the city council on Wednesday.

"Now, we've got two providers that are very competitive," said Phoenix Mayor Thelda Williams. "I think it's time to let them dictate the prices, knowing full well that if it becomes unreasonable, this item will come back to council at some point."

Vendors say they need to raise prices, because of increases in minimum wage and labor costs. However, customers say they have their limits.

"If it goes up, like, 5 bucks more, I wouldn't do it. I'd just bring food from home," said Bittinger.

"I think if it went over $15 for a burger or fries, it would be a little too much that I'd probably think about getting food before I came to the airport," said Brent McGinn.

The council's vote went against recommendation of the Phoenix Aviation Advisory Board, which did not approve of raising food prices.

Customers can see food prices go up as soon as February 15, 2019.