Ssides From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 4059 posts, RR: 19 Posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 6032 times:
Having done a significant amount of traveling in Europe, I am often surprised at how many people flock to the duty-free shops and take advantage of the duty-free options on international flights. In my experience, Americans don't patronize these stores and magazines near as much as Europeans (I've heard Asian passengers are also big customers of duty-free items). Why is this? I know taxes are higher in Europe, and I haven't paid much attention, but I haven't really noticed drastic differences in prices from duty-free shops to other shops in Europe.
In fact, the deals at the duty-free shops at LGW in December seemed like a rip-off -- but that was primarily due to the deteriorating dollar-pound exchange rate.
Am I just missing the price difference? Or is there something exciting about buying duty-free items?
B747skipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 5994 times:
Duty free stores in Europe and Asia are not patronized by Americans, for the simple fact that retail prices in USA are often LOWER than the prices of items bought in duty free.
I recall people visiting me from Europe when I lived in USA, where they got me a bottle of liquor, that they would have paid 10 to 25% less in a retail store in USA.
Nickofatlanta From Australia, joined May 2000, 1492 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 5980 times:
Taxes on alcohol, cigarettes and, indeed, items in general are a lot higher in Europe than in the US. In the UK, VAT (Value Added Tax) - the equivalent of the US tax is 17.5%. So, there is a 17.5% savings right there on many goods at duty-free. Alcohol and tobacco taxes are almost definitely even more!
HeyMach From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2003, 118 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 5951 times:
Duty free has been abolished within the EU. That is to say that duty free is not available to passengers traveling within EU. Accordingly, the airport operators have been noticing a decline in sales to people traveling within the EU. However, on flights to destinations outside the EU duty free can be quite a bargain. Here in the UK, for example, about 45% of the price of a bottle of spirits is made up of excise duty and tax. Similarly tax on cigarettes make up over 65% of the price of a pack of twenty.
The other reason for the rush at the duty free shops may be the fact that, as you were traveling through LGW during December, people were doing their last minute Christmas shopping.
Starlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17422 posts, RR: 66
Reply 5, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 5924 times:
1. The US is only one country on all that territory, so duty-free is not really an option. In Europe, you fly over another country before you can say "Absolut Vodka on the rocks".
2. Alcohol taxes tend to be much higher.
3. After 30-40 years of tax free, it has become so "traditional" to buy tax-free that even with the demise of tax free in the EU, people still tend to buy a lot of wine, spirits and cigarettes at airports/on aircraft. Airlines and airports take advantage of this and sell you the stuff at good prices. It's excellent biz! When tax-free was going to be abolished in the EU, the Swedish PM even commented that he was against removing it because "It's a nice part of travel to hear the clinking of the bottles." Proof positive that it's grown from a rational to an emotional thing.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
BA1978 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2004, 185 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 5912 times:
Well let see the other day I flew outside of the EU, therefore I could enjoy duty free prices. I bought two litres of vodka for £15, usually you'd pay about £30 in the shops. I also bought my friend 400 cigarettes for £35, usually that would set you back about £100. So in total I bought £130 worth of goods for £50, saving £80 tax. There's your answer
Solnabo From Sweden, joined Jan 2008, 892 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 5853 times:
In Sweden U have to pay over 50 % in taxes!!! (Fifty per cent)
No wonder tax-free is popular among swedes and alcohol is VERY
numero UNO so we visit Denmark Germany Finland cuz they got
50-75% lower alcoholprice than here....
FlyCaledonian From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2003, 2218 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 5813 times:
BA757 flew from Terminal C with Continental. As you come through security after check-in and step into the Triangular pier that most International flights use the Duty Free is on your right-hand side. Could miss it if you're in a hurry.
Tip: Cigarettes were cheaper on CO than at the shop.
BA757 From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2003, 2832 posts, RR: 13
Reply 11, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 5800 times:
FlyCaledonian - cheers. It would appear I was in a different terminal to you, Terminal B according to the site I have just looked at - which seemed to be dominated by Northwest. I am pretty sure there was no duty free airside in Terminal B .
I am flying BA this time to JFK, so I doubt the cigs and booze will be much cheaper on the flight.
Demoose From Canada, joined Mar 2001, 1952 posts, RR: 21
Reply 12, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 5769 times:
I was at EWR terminal B last week and I too didn't notice much Duty Free at all, maybe because I wasn't looking to buy anything, but never the less I was suprised to see none past security. I don't know how it works there, isn't there some sort of Duty Free collection service airside?
FlyCaledonian From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2003, 2218 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 5746 times:
In Terminal C once you'd paid for your Duty Free you picked it up on the airbridge once you'd started boarding the flight. I did notice it was largely Brits who were purchasing the booze and fags, or so it seemed.
Airbus Lover From Malaysia, joined Apr 2000, 3248 posts, RR: 9
Reply 14, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 5733 times:
Speaking of duty frees,
Did you know there are a few tourist targeted unspoiled tropical resort islands in Malaysia where everything is tax free? I think cigarettes and alcohol there are among the cheapest in the world haha.. No matter who you are, as long as you go there you can enjoy it. yes it is true, it is not in the airport only, also in dedicated duty free stores for immediate pick up and consumption locally.
I can name you Langkawi, Tioman and Labuan islands.
Airtrainer From Belgium, joined Aug 2003, 1563 posts, RR: 11
Reply 18, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 5546 times:
I always buy cigarettes for my friends, prices are a lot cheaper so I can get extra money doing that
Sometimes I also buy a bottle of perfume, not really for the price but each time I use it, it reminds me of my trip... call me stupid if you want, lol !
Stefandotde From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5505 times:
Ssides, everybody tries to make a bargain - so when I get same product cheaper in Shop A than in Shop B I buy in Shop A.
If I dont have to pay taxes for alcohol and get it cheaper in Duty Free, I buy in Duty Free.
When you are on a ferry from Sweden to Finland, Duty Free sale for alcohol is very expensive (for Germans f.e.) but it's still much cheaper than in Sweden or Finland.
In 2 weeks I will fly from Germany to Ireland and will bring cigarettes to a friend - not Duty Free cause both countries are Schengen-Countries. But cigarettes there are much more expensive than in Germany. Shop A vs. Shop B. Very simple.
MIA From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 892 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5487 times:
I have also noticed that Duty Free is extremely popular in Latin America. I know in Venezuela duty free shopping is popular for perfumes and imported good. My mom used to be Jean Paul Guittierre (I hope I spelled that right) for like 10 dollars cheaper than in the states. I know that sometimes in the Aldeasa stores you can get bargains on some goods. Personally, I think its just a sham. Id rather buy my goods and pay my respectfully duties.
"Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen."
Gardermoen From Australia, joined Jul 1999, 1527 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 5401 times:
I cant say I have noticed it being poular on any of my non-EU-EU flights, in fact most times on board the cart just whizzes past and no one stops it.
However what I noticed when I flew to Rekyjavik on FI a few years back, the whole plan was full of Icelandic people returining home, and EVERYONE of them bought something. It took ages! I remember the cart being in the aisle for a very long time.
But as someone else pointed out, it has become an emotional thing to do, more than an economical one. After all, when one starts a plane journey it is part of a holiday, and we all love some pre-flight shopping and goodies to buy to put us in even better spirits.