Whether you want to pick up a last-minute gift, grab a quick bite to eat or peruse the shops during a flight delay or layover, the airport is full of temptations to spend money. Before you open up your wallet, it’s important to realize that many of the products and services at the airport are being sold to you at huge markups, and aren’t worth the price in most cases. However, some airport items are bigger rip-offs than others. GoBankingRates runs down the items that cost you a lot extra if you buy them at the airport.
WiFi: Most public places now offer free WiFi, but some airports will still charge you to access the internet while you’re waiting to board your flight. For example, Los Angeles International Airport only lets you access free WiFi in 45-minute intervals. If you need a continual connection, you’ll have to shell out $7.95 for 24-hour access. Instead of paying to browse the internet, consider checking out your airport’s cheap or free attractions.
Electronics: Before you buy a pair of headphones or a charger to replace the one that you left at home, think twice — these items are usually significantly marked up in airports, Lindsay Sakraida of DealNews told Reader’s Digest. “Our research shows that electronics are, on average, 34 percent more expensive at the airport than what they would find online,” she said. “For some of the smaller items, that could mean a difference of $10 to $15. For some of the more advanced technology digital cameras, you could be overpaying anywhere from $50 to $200. And that charger? It could be up to 50% more at the airport.”
Food: Not only are airport food prices usually inconsistent with the prices just outside its walls, but there are also sometimes price inconsistencies within the airport itself among different airport restaurants. A USA Today report found a latte that cost $2.65 in Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport’s Terminal 3 was selling for $3.77 in Terminal 4.
Bottled Water: You can buy 24 bottles of water for $4.99 at Target, but at some airports, you could pay that much for a single bottle. Water is marked up so much because vendors know that many people will buy it no matter the cost – and because FAA rules prevent you from bringing your own through security post 9/11. “Water is what our customers want. You need water, so that’s our top-selling product,” a Hudson News spokesperson told USA TODAY.
Souvenirs: It might be tempting to pick up a mug or a T-shirt as a memento from your trip before getting on your flight, but just know you’ll be paying a lot more than what you would have if you had planned ahead and bought a souvenir earlier in your vacation. “There is an astronomical markup on souvenirs at the airport,” Peter Yang, a seasoned business traveler, told Reader’s Digest.