This week, it was revealed that Australian airline Qantas will no longer offer in-flight duty-free sales aboard its flights from New Year. Could this be something that spreads to other airlines around the world?
As always, the future is difficult to predict, but saying that, how often do you see more than a handful of passengers purchase tax-free goods on board? The tax-free “trolleys” have in recent years been fighting fierce competition from an ever-increasing range of shopping at airports and, not least, online shopping, which is growing at an almost exponential rate.
Several market analysts have come out and said that the glory days of duty-free shopping are over, and have been for many years. And when giants like Amazon move into different markets – for example, their recent launch in Australia – the demand for onboard shopping will dwindle. This no doubt played a part in Qantas’ decision to ditch their extensive stock of duty-free products.
Inflight duty-free shopping does still seem to be preferable to some, however, especially customers of Middle Eastern and Gulf airlines. And if the thought of waiting in line at a duty-free outlet upon arrival, retrieving your boarding pass and dealing with unfavourable currency conversions irks you, then fear not, it may be some time before the onboard shopping becomes completely obsolete.
What do you think? When did you last shop on board? And are the prices and selection on board good enough to compete with the offerings at the airport?