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Garish Duty Free rat runs.

Old 14th Sep 2014, 09:45
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Garish Duty Free rat runs.

Having flown from/through several UK airports this last month or so, it struck me that there seems to have been an introduction of garish winding lanes directly after security (with no option to bypass them) where one is bombarded with salespersons hawking free samples of perfume/food/whatever. I'm polite (mostly) but after a few "No thankyou's" and finding one's forward passage continually impeded by shoppers, sorry, travellers who DO want to go shopping, the stress levels started to rise. I'm of the school of thought where airports are where you fly to and from and they should have adequate facilities, but not that they should be shopping centres/malls where you fly from/to.

I realise that to service the monstrous loans used to purchase airports by investors they are keen to monetize every possible moment that passengers are on the ground, but to leave passengers with no option but to be exposed to the festival of consumerism is just plain wrong imho. What say the road warriors ?
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Old 14th Sep 2014, 10:51
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Duty Free, what Duty Free ? The real flyers turn right after security and waltz through the secret door at LHR T5.

I realise that to service the monstrous loans used to purchase airports by investors they are keen to monetize every possible moment that passengers are on the ground, but to leave passengers with no option but to be exposed to the festival of consumerism is just plain wrong imho
Indeed that is the problem.... expensive to build, maintain and operate airports, increasing number of airport operators are listed on the world's stock exchanges.... leading to a desire to bring swift and large satisfaction to investors.

I hate it, I never use Duty Free, there is no place for it in the 21st century.... better deals are always available through ecommerce on the internet.
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Old 14th Sep 2014, 11:19
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An unforeseen consequence of governments allowing 'duty free on arrival'. Of course within the EU there is no 'duty-free'. Shops at Heathrow, for example, have only one price regardless if you are travelling to the EU, or outside.

For those travellers going elsewhere they simply pocket the VAT.

I suspect the same is true of LCC (and others) on their non-EU flights. They don't have two prices in their catalogues, but their onboard goods and services are free of VAT.
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Old 14th Sep 2014, 11:39
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Dublin is my favourite - some people have got so lost in the Duty Free they gave up and decided to settle down and raise families....................
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Old 14th Sep 2014, 11:55
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The new terminal at St Petersburg has an especially convoluted if not ludicrous wind through the "duty free", with no apparent signage for how to get to the gates.

British architect, of course

Pulkovo Airport < Projects | Grimshaw Architects
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Old 14th Sep 2014, 13:04
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where one is bombarded with salespersons hawking free samples of perfume/food/whatever.
This is what pees me off the most! I can just about live with having to walk through the "shopping mall", but I start to get shirty about being approached every 10 meters by sales personnel pushing their products. I am not at an airport to shop. I'm there because I need to get a flight. My message to the sales people is quite simply that they leave me alone unless I approach them!
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Old 14th Sep 2014, 13:29
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The worst for this panhandling is the Heathrow Express sales tout at Heathrow Terminal 5, who is allowed to work inside the secure area, in the corridor leading from baggage claim, and who forcefully tries to sell the grossly overpriced tickets on the train service to Paddington, without any mention of the Underground service just outside the arrival area.

I asked them what was the best way to Knightsbridge, and was told "Heathrow Express to Paddington and then either the Underground or a taxi". The fact that there is a direct Underground service from the Terminal 5 station that departs more frequently, takes less time, doesn't involve nearly as much walking along the way, is direct rather than with connections, and costs 10% of all this mullarkey (because a First Class ticket on the HEx was what was offered first - for a 15 minute journey) was completely ignored.
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Old 14th Sep 2014, 14:20
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I asked them what was the best way to Knightsbridge, and was told "Heathrow Express to Paddington and then either the Underground or a taxi". The fact that there is a direct Underground service from the Terminal 5 station that departs more frequently, takes less time, doesn't involve nearly as much walking along the way, is direct rather than with connections, and costs 10% of all this mullarkey (because a First Class ticket on the HEx was what was offered first - for a 15 minute journey) was completely ignored.
Trading Standards at LB Hillingdon would probably be interested to know that.
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Old 14th Sep 2014, 14:41
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I'm afrad your entirely correct rant is about 25 years too late.

"Duty-Free" shops were a dishonest rip-off when I set one up at a regional airport in 1986, and they still are.

Most items were not dutiable in the first place, and even if they were they were cheaper with the duty in any supermarket or high street shop in the nearest town.

If you have a delay, or otherwise have time to kill in a departure lounge, ask to see the shop manager and ask him/her what duty his/her stock - ostentatiously labelled as such - is free of. Initially you will be told a load of BS, and then the next stage is a discussion of the law relating to fraudulent descriptions of goods, etc etc. If you are in a BAA airport (ie my one-time employer) ask for the Terminal Duty Manager and have the same discussion.

Nothing will change, of course, but it passes the time.

I had no future in the BAA once the grocer took over the asylum. At meetings about extending the time passengers are forced to be in the departure lounge (increasing "dwell time"; a management KPI), it did not do to mutter that airports are to transfer people and goods from land to air as quickly and efficiently as possible, not to make it a protracted and unpleasant experience while also defrauding them by selling goods wrongly labelled as duty-free and/or cheap tat at inflated prices.
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Old 14th Sep 2014, 17:48
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I am reliably infomed (maybe not) that 28% of the GDP of Dubai, is carried out in the duty free area of the airport.

There's also something like a few tens of million pounds each year spent on perfume.....

Its not an airport, but a shop with a runway at the end of it.
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Old 14th Sep 2014, 20:31
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Stretching the truth a long way to call Dubai a shop with a runway!!! I have travelled through Dubai a lot, sometimes I had time to spend in the Duty Free area and rarely got pestered by sales staff, but on many occasions I walked right by all the temptations and straight to the gate or coffee shop.

The range of destinations available and competitive fares provide many connecting passengers, not all of whom have fast connections, and they welcome the distraction of shops to browse whilst they spend a couple of hours waiting for their onward flight.
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Old 14th Sep 2014, 20:41
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Maybe I am cynical but having noticed this too, including the amount of passengers rushing through the winding 'lanes' with various backpacks, I wondered if someone was hoping there would be lots of broken bottles of whiskey and expensive perfume, thus forcing the poor folk into 'buying' it.
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 04:09
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I found the price for Swiss chocolate in the duty free at Zurich airport was more expensive than a department store I shop at in Singapore.

I remember a newspaper investigation years ago which showed that in some instances alcohol was available at a lower price in supermarkets than Heathrow duty free.
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 05:47
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ASDA, Tesco's and Morrisons quite often have booze for 12 a litre. Gone are the days of proper duty free shops. if you're travelling within Europe it's VAT free and you can bring in what you like. The '200 fags and bottle' rule still applies outside the EU, where you can still get a bargain. Amman comes to mind an excellent range. Dubai used to be good years ago but now it's one of the most expensive.
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 06:42
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For me, whether the prices of offered goods are cheaper or not in comparison to the high street/web to be caveat emptor, apart from an impulse buy, anyone who doesn't check beforehand the likely price range is unwise. There should be a high level enquiry into the so-called 'Duty Free' status, and as mr capot says the businesses concerned might not be being totally honest with the (captive) public.

For me to be affronted by a shiny black 'Yellow Brick Road' embedded with spangly/sparkly stars that reflect back up the very strong overhead lighting to dazzle the innocent traveller and when at the beginning of said 'road' it is truly difficult to orientate the way to the central area and gates due to the winding nature of said 'road'. People LOVE to shop, and in transit areas it helps to pass the time, but more joined up thinking by airport owners would be helpful. I despair when confronted with masses of people at 06.00am shopping as though it were saturday afternoon, but I'm evidently in the minority
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 07:26
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Reading thread I suddenly realised that it is about 10 years since I last flew in an airliner, no wonder I have the Wander Lust again! However, it sounds like airports have become even worse than I was used to; last time I used one they were already "Shopping Malls with runways" but to have sales canvassers stalking my move would drive me crazy. Shopping is no more than a necessary chore, for food, beer and clothing.

I know many people love shopping, but just how are we expected to carry all this mulloch we have just impulse-bought? We have not yet evolved four arms and baggage limits keep going down.
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 07:35
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To be fair, T5 departures at Heathrow is not like that at all, although there is a small sales area on the exit from the baggage hall.


I flew out of Sydney a few weeks ago and it's one of the worst I've seen for this type of thing.
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 09:46
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It is duty free to the seller who then increases the mark up so it is nothing like duty free price to you, the buyer.

A wenwe tale:
Wenwe were in the RAF, buying at overseas stations or from Saccone & Speed in Gibraltar, cigarettes were a sixth of UK retail (5p for 20 cf 30p in the shops).
I don't know what true DF spirits prices are now; perhaps someone who's bought from the aforementioned S&S may advise.

Just had a look at an old wines & spirits price list from RAF Gatow about 1970.
Prices are per BOTTLE:
Ordinary Whisky: 0.71
Glenfiddich: 1.29
Martell VSOP: 1.63
Vodka (40oz): 0.48
Chateauneuf du Pape: 0.50
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 10:28
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Malaga. It is the only thing that spoils a really good airport. Exit security and you are in a very large perfume shop and are regularly accosted by sales reps. As it was, daughter wanted some perfume bringing back. Saw what she wanted and swallowed hard at the 88e price tag. An expat couple told us to buy it back in the UK as it is much cheaper there. Sure enough 42 at Luton Airport.
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 10:33
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The old saying is 'it's duty free not profit free'.

What I find incredible is that no one has ever investigated the price fixing of fragrances.

You will never, ever get a cheap bottle of perfume or aftershave from any airport, airline or store world wide.

I have noticed that all prices, taking into account exchange rates, are roughly the same everywhere so it is definitely uncompetitive practice.
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