Phoenix to Stop “Street Pricing” for Airport Restaurants

January 24, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Airplanes won’t be the only things that are going up in Arizona as the Phoenix city council repealed the “street pricing” policy that capped how much airport restaurants could charge.

Travelers passing through the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport will likely see higher prices on food and beverages very soon, after city council members voted unanimously to repeal a decades-old provision that capped how much vendors can charge.

Currently, food and beverage vendors set their pricing at the price charged on the street plus 10 percent. However, since the policy change, HMS Host and SSP, the two companies that operate food services at the airport, have asked to be released from the agreement citing increased labor costs. An increase in the state’s minimum wage and recent union contract negotiations have been listed as culprits for the rising costs.

In fact, SSP took the matter a little further and requested the cap to street pricing plus 12 percent. In exchange, it offered to keep the price of kids’ menus the same, and offered a discount of 20 percent to airport employees.

A consultant’s report commissioned by Sky Harbor showed that vendors would still have a positive cash flow without a change in policy.

The Phoenix Airport can now charge more than "street + 10" pricing at their restaurants.Mayor Thelda Williams said the original policy was implemented when there was only one food-and-beverage management company at the airport. Williams indicated that vendors should set their own prices due to adequate competition. The council unanimously agreed.

Street pricing took effect in the 1990s to prevent price gouging, and in 2015, pricing was loosened to street pricing plus ten percent to account for the increased cost of doing business at the airport which included security, higher wages, health benefits for union employees and background checks.

Several other airports employ street pricing plus 10 percent, including Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago’s O’Hare, Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Washington DC’s Dulles Airport. Las Vegas was the only airport contacted by the Sky Harbor consultant that did not have a street-pricing policy.

New prices could take effect February 15, so if you’re traveling through Phoenix next year, prepare to pay slightly higher prices. The vendors are required to give new pricing menus to the airport by January 15 and will be allowed to implement the increased prices between February 15 and July 15.

The ordinance applies to food and beverage vendors; a separate ordinance concerning retailers would have to be proposed to change prices.

What do you think about this new pricing schedule? Do you think other airports will follow suit? And do airport food prices make you think twice about buying food in airports? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Cygnusloop99 (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 3.0)

Sleepbox Micro-Hotel to Open at Washington Dulles International Airport

January 8, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Thinking inside the box might be a good place for a nap if you’re at Dulles International Airport. As travelers long for a place to sleep other than the floor or curled up in a chair, Dulles will now offer a place to sleep, recharge or relax before your next flight.

According to USA Today, Sleepbox Nap Lounge opened during Christmas week on Concourse A, and is located between gates A6 and A14. Offering 16 small, stand-alone sound-proofed rooms, the micro-hotel will be the answer to the prayers of many weary travelers.

A double Sleepbox Hotel micro-hotel.The rooms can be rented through the Sleepbox website or app and reservations can last for an hour for a quick catnap or even an overnight stay. Canceled flights just looked a bit better with an option to get sleep and not worry about traffic back to the airport.

The article says the rooms are designed to be “cozy” with 8-foot ceilings and 30 square feet for a compact size. A 45 square foot room is also available with a little more storage space. Beds in both sizes are made of premium memory foam.

Room temperatures can be set via the Sleepbox app and so will lighting and the wireless entertainment system. It’s important to note that there are no restrooms or showers available at the micro-hotel, so if you need to use the facilities overnight, plan ahead and don’t leave your room without your mobile phone.

Minute Suites, a Sleepbox competitor, are currently available in Dallas, Philadelphia, Charlotte, and Atlanta airports. Travelers familiar with these small rooms know they offer a sound-masked room for sleeping, working, or just relaxing in some peace and quiet. Minute Suites offer alarm clocks, HDTV (Netflix and DirecTV), and desks with chairs; some even offer showers.

The Atlanta airport sleeping concept has two locations and Minute Suites will open four new locations in the new year. Atlanta’s Concourse E will have 16 suites and two showers; Concourse F will offer six suites and one shower. Not to be left out, Concourses T and B will a part of “Traveler’s Oasis” concept with Be Relax Spa and Chiroport, which offers 15-minute chiropractic treatments that including spine adjustments and trigger-point muscle work.

Dulles is the first airport to get a Sleepbox micro-hotel, but the article says Sleepbox is already in talks with a few other large U.S. hubs for future locations.

Would you sleep in a micro-hotel or other tiny sleep room? Do the lack of toilet and shower facilities make a difference? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Vzor495 (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 3.0)