News & Politics

We Just Bought $78 Worth of Food at Reagan National Airport

Even David Brooks would probably be full.

This meal just cost us $78 at Reagan National airport. This is why Americans think the economy is terrible.

My fellow Americans, I am outraged. Yesterday, I learned from a very reliable source—David Brooks, columnist at our nation’s paper of record, the New York Times—that the reason I’ve had a vague economic malaise for the past 15 or so years was not decades of economic policy that almost exclusively benefited the rich. No, it’s that airport meals have become too expensive. We are blessed that Brooks explained this yesterday in a now-viral tweet, complaining about the price of his meal at Newark airport. I am just so upset.

I mean, do you know what it cost David Brooks to go to the airport and purchase a $17 burger and $61 dollars worth of what people are assuming was liquor?! Seventy-eight dollars! Can you even imagine? I couldn’t. It’s not like airports boast some of our nation’s most valuable retail square footage, thereby making their goods proportionally more expensive. No, this is Bidenomics at work.

Since righteous fury is my preferred emotion, I spent my morning at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, basking in the ruins of our once-great economy. The temple to my discontent was District Bar in the pre-security area of Terminal 1. There, I ordered exactly $78 worth of food and drink in solidarity with America’s everyman, David Brooks. Now, let me describe just how terrible our economy actually is.

For 78 of my precious dollars, all I got was three substantive bowls of fruit; a bowl of home fries and pico de gallo; a robust everything bagel topped with egg, a slice of cheese, and several slices of ham; a bacon, lettuce, tomato, and egg sandwich on toasted wheat bread with a pesto spread; a custom omelet with seven specialty toppings including three varieties of cheese; and one mimosa, filled just slightly below the champagne flute’s brim. Honestly, how do everyday people afford to feed their families when a medium-sized array of airport entrees costs so much?

By this point, my economic anxiety was so acute that I decided to eat my feelings. But for $78, would there even be enough food? I began with the omelet, which was probably a mistake. Being full of eggs, three varieties of cheese, turkey sausage, and some vegetables, it was quite rich in protein. It wasn’t more than a few bites before my economic malaise began to wane, replaced with a new dread: I was going to have to eat all this food, which turned out to be enough for a family of four.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking, you smug liberal elites of DC. You believe that for $78, I got a reasonable amount of food. That maybe Biden’s America isn’t so bad after all. Well, I’m ashamed to confess that I briefly entertained that possibility, too.

For a fleeting moment, while watching CNN on mute above the bar, I thought—as you did—that maybe the economy isn’t that bad. S.E. Cupp was yelling into oblivion, alarming chyrons announced Kevin McCarthy’s looming government shutdown. Are airport meals really the issue? I had the audacity to ask.

But then, I reviewed the bill. Yes, my food came to exactly $78—but I had forgotten that, in this supposedly free country, one must pay tax and tip. How hideous. With this additional burden, my airport meal came to a little over $100; one whole Benjamin Franklin, sacrificed to the dark gods of economic distress. Surely, our nation’s greatest president—Ronald Wilson Reagan, this disgraceful airport’s namesake—was rolling around his sunny hillside grave.

I was so upset. I am so upset. In the aftermath of my exorbitant airport meal, the eatery couldn’t even provide me a to-go bag big enough to accommodate all my leftover food. Spiraling inflation. Shrinking plastic bags. The economy is so terrible, I was almost too distressed to lug home my leftovers, which my husband and son will eat for days.

Sylvie McNamara
Staff Writer