Duty free

Old Jun 13, 20, 1:10 pm
  #1  
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Duty free

As the transition period of the EU withdrawal agreement would seem to be ending at the end of the year, will we be permitted to buy duty free goods on the short haul flights to Europe, in addition to those few countries allowed at present, and will BA bring back duty free sales on these flights?
Would BA make more profit if they stopped seeling food on short flights and used the storage available for duty free sales?
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Old Jun 13, 20, 1:57 pm
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It is definitely an interesting argument but I can’t see Duty Free making a big comeback, even after Brexit. Online retailers like Amazon mean we can get cheap prices without having to do the old day trips to France.

Plus BA have no space at all on the short haul fleet now they’ve been densified. There will always need to be food, whether that be free or BOB, but free snacks will take up less space for sure.
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Old Jun 13, 20, 2:15 pm
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Originally Posted by BAeuro View Post
It is definitely an interesting argument but I can’t see Duty Free making a big comeback, even after Brexit. Online retailers like Amazon mean we can get cheap prices without having to do the old day trips to France.

Plus BA have no space at all on the short haul fleet now they’ve been densified. There will always need to be food, whether that be free or BOB, but free snacks will take up less space for sure.
BA still offers their High Life Shop on longer European routes like Athens, Istanbul, and Larnaca onboard their A320neo aircraft. ( Never flown a BA A321neo so I can't comment ). I assume that they could continue their onboard duty-free sales onboard densified airport but the variety of products available would not be that much as long haul flights.
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Old Jun 13, 20, 2:41 pm
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I was so desperately hoping that this thread was about the TV comeback of the similarly named TV series starring Keith Barron, perhaps now with a starring role for a certain CEO with a penchant for high visibility jackets in the role of Carlos the Waiter.

Alas, it was not to be.
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Old Jun 13, 20, 3:10 pm
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Not sure what BA can realistically sell passengers that World Duty Free cannot. Not to mention the issue of loading it and storing it.

The duty rate on a litre of vodka is somewhere between £11 and £14, so even Amazon struggle to compete with duty free. A lot of alcohol sold in duty free shops is duty paid at the moment but I expect that to quickly change. Duty free shops have a massive opportunity with EU traffic becoming entitled for duty free sales.
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Old Jun 13, 20, 7:55 pm
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I have found that just because it might be "duty free" doesn't mean it's cheap. As an example a few years ago I saw Champagne at IAD and they were asking $90 USD. At Costco in Canada I could have bought it for $46 CAD (about $37 USD at the time).

Why buy it at duty free when I could buy it for 1/3 the price at home and not have to drag it around?
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Old Jun 13, 20, 8:57 pm
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Judging by the EU and Non-EU prices in World Duty Free, there would be some bargains to be had if current EU destinations became duty free eligible.

I don’t see BoB being reduced to make room for duty free onboard sales though. BoB being a more reliable and consistent profit generator IMHO.
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Old Jun 14, 20, 12:15 pm
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Sadly, the term "tax-free" or "duty-free" in airports is misleading. There is no tax, but the rent for the "tax-free" shop is, in many countries, set to 45-55% of the turnover. This in many EU countries resembles the taxation on the respective products, usually lowest on wine, higher on beer and highest on spirits. The reduction in sales price, when compared to high street vendors, are mainly due to a more streamlined organization, cutting over-head costs. Knowing this, the lay-out of a modern airport being designed like a shopping mall, with departure gates attached, doesn't come as a surprise

The only times I have witnessed really tax-free prices were when I in my late teens traveled as a passenger on freighter ships. Being a smoker, I normally bought !0-packs of filter cigs. Those working on board bought a stock of 10x20 for just 50% more than what I paid with tax. The same price was for a liter of vodka. As a passenger, I was, however, not permitted any purchases.
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Old Jun 15, 20, 5:19 am
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As a semi-regular on the BSL route, I can tell you that BA still offer duty-free on some intra european flights. They're often cheaper than HAL duty free, especially for cigarettes, but they don't stock much so sometimes you have to buy at the shop on the way out (and exit on the Swiss side, of course, otherwise it'd be illegal). I do wonder what the rules will be if/when (Brexit) happens and what form it takes. Getting 40 boxes/800 cigarettes from a tobacconist in SOF is a very good investment, especially if going on a TP run. Heck, with the cheap Saturday day-return fares for 40-50 quid, you could have a cheeky LCY-AMS trip, 10TPs, a leisurely lunch and stroll in Amsterdam, and you've made your money back on the first 10 packs so the next 30 are a bonus. So I'm not sure that having Duty Free reinstated between the UK and the continent would be that beneficial since we'd be limited in the quantities we can bring back!
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Old Jun 15, 20, 5:35 am
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In airport duty free at Heathrow hasn't been worth a look for a long time, and I do mean the non EU destinations. Maybe a quid off the regular Tesco's offer price for a litre of Vodka. The rental of property is the big costs. I stopped even looking. When friends wanted some, I bought my duty free rolling tobacco onboard the virgin services which was £30 vs about £58 in the airport. So BA might have a niche here if the storage works. I mean, they can really undercut the competition.
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Old Jun 15, 20, 6:41 am
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Originally Posted by alex67500 View Post
As a semi-regular on the BSL route, I can tell you that BA still offer duty-free on some intra european flights. They're often cheaper than HAL duty free, especially for cigarettes, but they don't stock much so sometimes you have to buy at the shop on the way out (and exit on the Swiss side, of course, otherwise it'd be illegal). I do wonder what the rules will be if/when (Brexit) happens and what form it takes. Getting 40 boxes/800 cigarettes from a tobacconist in SOF is a very good investment, especially if going on a TP run. Heck, with the cheap Saturday day-return fares for 40-50 quid, you could have a cheeky LCY-AMS trip, 10TPs, a leisurely lunch and stroll in Amsterdam, and you've made your money back on the first 10 packs so the next 30 are a bonus. So I'm not sure that having Duty Free reinstated between the UK and the continent would be that beneficial since we'd be limited in the quantities we can bring back!
I think you will find Brexit has already happened. The only thing that might change is the length of the transition period, and that cannot be extended past 2 years.
I wonder how much profit BA makes from food and drink, after the return of unsold stock etc. I presume there would be little wastage from a duty free bar. As BA is all about profit, is this a more rewarding direction for them go, and will we be able to earn Avios from such sales?.
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Old Jun 15, 20, 7:07 am
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Originally Posted by rapidex View Post
I think you will find Brexit has already happened. The only thing that might change is the length of the transition period, and that cannot be extended past 2 years.
I wonder how much profit BA makes from food and drink, after the return of unsold stock etc. I presume there would be little wastage from a duty free bar. As BA is all about profit, is this a more rewarding direction for them go, and will we be able to earn Avios from such sales?.
You already get Avios from these sales if you give your BAEC number (can't remember if it's one or two per pound), and you get double Avios (3 per pound) on your BAPP.
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Old Jun 15, 20, 7:56 am
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Duty free is sometimes a definitely cost saving, but these days it is much more an experience and part of the enjoyment of travel. "Duty free", a simple permitted exception to taxation that a traveller can take advantage of, is merged with "travel retail". An airport (in normal times) is a bunch of richer-than-average people (since they can afford a flight ticket) in a closed environment with spare time and generally novelty-seeking and euphoric atmosphere [1] - a captive audience. That is an ideal situation for discretionary purchasing.

Some people may say that when they compare prices of specific items in "Duty free" the price is not less than they can obtain from in-country retail but that is no longer the main point of airside retail now, especially in an airport like Heathrow with is both aimed at higher paying customers and has many transit customers from places with different pricing environments (I can assure you that Heathrow booze is always cheaper than in-country booze if your country is Norway!).

Pricing is not the main attraction; variety and novelty is the attraction.

In-flight retail is a slightly different question, and depends on the atmosphere on board (overnight flight or daytime flight, length of flight, etc), and other things, but some of these factors still apply.

Meanwhile, people salivating at the idea of cheap fags'n'booze in the airport would do well to think of the customs complications of bringing items back from outside the UK - wine from France, customs carnets for equipment, and similar. There are not only swings and roundabouts, there are also broken glass on the ground and railings with spikes on them.

[1] We're all jaded but bear in mind the average BA passenger travels slightly less than once a year.
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Old Jun 15, 20, 9:03 am
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Originally Posted by rapidex View Post
I think you will find Brexit has already happened. The only thing that might change is the length of the transition period, and that cannot be extended past 2 years.
I wonder how much profit BA makes from food and drink, after the return of unsold stock etc. I presume there would be little wastage from a duty free bar. As BA is all about profit, is this a more rewarding direction for them go, and will we be able to earn Avios from such sales?.
I'd be extremely surprised if the length of the transition period was extended a day beyond December 31st 2020. Anyway, I digress. Duty Free back on intra-European routes would be a definite bonus.
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Old Jun 15, 20, 9:54 am
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I would be surprised to be honest if some sort of customs arrangement didn’t continue to exist beyond the end of any transition period, such that Duty Free continues to be unavailable when travelling between the UK and EU states. I may be proved wrong, but doubt anyone in government would want to be the one banning the current ‘unlimited personal use’ limits from ES, BG, etc.
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