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Popularity Of Duty Free

Thu Feb 12, 2004 5:39 am

I was wondering, How popular do you think Duty free are on aircraft sales. Most times I have flown you only see a few people buying goods, and I notice more people buy at airports? Is this true and necessary?

Thank You
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RE: Popularity Of Duty Free

Thu Feb 12, 2004 5:56 am

Like any other commercial business, it's a question of how well it is promoted to the customer, and the sales efforts by the crew on board.

Very often the customer shops at the airport, and is unaware of the availability of duty free on board. In the case of Air Canada, liquor prices on board are bar none amongst the cheapest anywhere, which often floors the customers.

Every year in London, a competition is held for the "In-Flight Sales Person of the Year Awards". An opportunity to showcase products, and demonstrate sales techniques. Potentially, duty free has huge profit margins for the airlines. South African, Saudi Arabian, Air Canada, and many of the British carriers, have always fared well at this awards cermony.
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RE: Popularity Of Duty Free

Thu Feb 12, 2004 4:06 pm

I have a question.. if you pay onboard with a credit card.. how do they deduct the money from your account? is it connected to somewhere? or they do it after they land?
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RE: Popularity Of Duty Free

Thu Feb 12, 2004 4:26 pm

Duty Free sales volumes vary market to market. On any Japanese bound flights we always do lots in sales as it is customary to bring a gift home from one's travels in Japan. In Europe we'd get OK sales, but nothing compared with Japan!

As a LHR based flight attendant my sales weren't fabulous but they weren't bad either. I would always try to sell Duty Free because of the commission I would make off the sales. I would make sure the Chief Purser would make a general announcement once airborn and then I would make an announcement specific to the Economy cabin after the meal service was over. I was pretty driven and more often then not would make enough commission money to cover my expenses on layover. It was fantastic!

ARGinMIA: The credit card info is all downloaded once the handheld and duty free carts reach the sponsoring firm for restocking (usually after every flight or every other flight depending on the market).

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Thu Feb 12, 2004 5:27 pm

From the way that every airline makes an effort to have a duty free catalog, even UA has one, it means that duty free generates additional revenues for the airlines.

On Asian airlines, such as Asiana, China, EVA, Cathay Pacific, they make sure that they sell duty free twice on the long haul flight... one after dinner and one after breakfast. They served breakfast like 2 and 1/2 hours prior to arrival... just to make times for last minute duty free shoppings. On the HKG-TPE flights, (only an hour), the airline will still assign to one or two F/As just to sell duty free products...

I don't smoke, but always buy Marlboro cigarettes for friends and families... Sometimes they run out of popular brand of cigarettes in CX, even when I fly business...

I remember when EU bans duty free on EU internal flights, it creates an uproar among European airlines... that explains that duty free has a value. Free meals may be gone, but duty free will always be there.

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RE: Popularity Of Duty Free

Thu Feb 12, 2004 6:24 pm

ARGinMIA - I guess airline have different procedures for this. As for KE, we can uplink your card details through the satcom system in the aircraft so that your card can be approved or declined. It was common for some passengers to try to buy up big during the flight, on a card with no funds available. This is no longer possible with our new system. It will approve or decline your transaction.

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RE: Popularity Of Duty Free

Thu Feb 12, 2004 10:33 pm

As a business, it is great: you have a customer base that can't leave your "store" for a few hours. You have a sales task force that is already being paid to be there for other reasons, and you only need one or two of your flight attendants to manage the Duty Free cart. Products typically offered on board are small and expensive: Perfume, liquor, cigarettes, jewelry. So, the costs to the airline are negligible. Even with only one or two sales per trip, I would guess that the Duty Free cart would break even.
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RE: Popularity Of Duty Free

Thu Feb 12, 2004 11:40 pm

Try flying with Norwegian passengers. They are cray when it comes to Duty free. Most likely to the fact that sigarettes and alchol is heavily taxed in Norway.
For example: 20 cigarettes in Norway costs aprrox 70,-NOK which is approx 10US$. A package of tobacco (50gr) costs 150,- which should be almost 23US$. A bottle of ordinary red wine about 100,-NOK.
So Norwegian do get cray both on board and on the duty free on the ground - no questions about that. And since Norway is NOT an EU-member state we get to buy tax free goods all over Europe, the only snag is that we are only allowed to bring 1 liter spiritus and 1 liter wine, and 200 sigerattes.
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RE: Popularity Of Duty Free

Fri Feb 13, 2004 7:23 am

While we are on the topic of duty free... While I have purchased liquor at the airport and taken it on board.
Can you bring liquor bought outside the airport without paying an additional "duty"?
Never understood what duty free really meant anyway since there are allowances made for goods being bought in transit anyway.
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