Duty Free - Hong Kong/Singapore | Australian Frequent Flyer
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Duty Free - Hong Kong/Singapore

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womble123

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Feb 18, 2008
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Hi all,

I've just flown back and forth from Sydney/Heathrow and for once went via HK - to find that there is no duty free (for alcohol) availability due to "Australian Government regulations" - whereas in Singapore it's well organised and easy to do.

any ideas why this is?
 

harvyk

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My best guess is miscommunication by the AU gov't to HKG...
Although it doesn't normally bother me as I usually do the pre-purchase pick up on arrival option anyway.
 

NM

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The Australian Government Regulations are about protecting the revenue stream of the over-priced airport duty-free shops in Australia so the airport owners can justify charging hem high rent for the retail floor space and hence make higher profits. It's nothing to do with safety - just protecting local business interests in Australia.
 

Archphoto

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The Australian Government Regulations are about protecting the revenue stream of the over-priced airport duty-free shops in Australia so the airport owners can justify charging hem high rent for the retail floor space and hence make higher profits. It's nothing to do with safety - just protecting local business interests in Australia.
So, what is their justification regarding HKG vs SIN? After all, alcohol is alcohol, and does it really matter which airport you buy it from?? (The mind boggles at how much useless red tape the government can string up. . . . . ) Restriction of trade anyone?
 

Archphoto

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Here is the relevant information: Restrictions for inbound flights to Australia

At HKG and other airports either they will not or cannot deliver >100ml items to the gate.
What is the deal with that? I've never understood the need to "deliver" my duty free to the gate - is the AU Government trying to make it even more difficult, so we give up in disgust?

Security? Really??!! It's purchased from a secure area (departure terminal), heading into a secure area (aircraft)- how much more secure can it get? :shock:
 

womble123

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It struck me as bizarre which is why I flagged it, no issues at all at Sing, impossible at HK and I actually asked them to deliver to the gate and they couldn't. VA staff said it was an Australian government directive and no lee way - and they did check all carryon just prior to boarding - having also xrayed it during the first stage of transit.

Just as an example of price difference - two bottles of Smirnoff Black vodka at Heathrow for 20 sterling ($32approx) and at Sydney it's about $38 per bottle!
 

Archphoto

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It struck me as bizarre which is why I flagged it, no issues at all at Sing, impossible at HK and I actually asked them to deliver to the gate and they couldn't. VA staff said it was an Australian government directive and no lee way - and they did check all carryon just prior to boarding - having also xrayed it during the first stage of transit.

Just as an example of price difference - two bottles of Smirnoff Black vodka at Heathrow for 20 sterling ($32approx) and at Sydney it's about $38 per bottle!
A very good case of a "right, royal ripoff" - and the very reason I *never* purchase duty "free" (ha ha) at any airport in Australia. Thankfully TH doesn't have such idiotic restrictions, and I can bring back 2L of alcohol when travelling with my partner, regardless of where I purchased it.
 

NM

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So, what is their justification regarding HKG vs SIN? After all, alcohol is alcohol, and does it really matter which airport you buy it from?? (The mind boggles at how much useless red tape the government can string up. . . . . ) Restriction of trade anyone?
The main difference is the design of the airport terminal. At SIN, there is security screening at each gate, so each passenger is screened immediately before boarding so the DF shops at SIN were able to call the Australian Government's bluff and deliver to the gate in tamper-evident bags.

But at HKG the security screening is done as you enter the terminal. So there is no proper screening facility at the gate. In the case of HKG, they have airport screening staff at the bottom of the ramp just before the aircraft door.

I have been through this screening many times and its way less thorough than the original screening into the terminal. It seems the gate checkers know the intention is to identify DF liquids and not liquids that may be a thread to aircraft security. A flight to somewhere like SIN is not at risk from liquids obtained inside the terminal but a flight to Australia is (according to Aus Govt). Absolutely unjustified hog-wash in my opinion.
 

Austman

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Yep, if it can't be delivered to the gate, it can't be taken on board. Except if it's a flight from NZ... Any other exceptions?
 

Isochronous

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Can you get away with it if you fly, say, HKG-SIN then connect to a flight at SIN or stopover in SIN for a few days?
 

Febs

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Just buy it in-bound and stick it in your checked luggage on the way home (well protected of course). :) That's what I do - HKG's prices are too good to refuse (Glenfiddich 21yo for ~$105 from memory, whereas it's about $180 in SYD...)
 

NM

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Can you get away with it if you fly, say, HKG-SIN then connect to a flight at SIN or stopover in SIN for a few days?
that would allow you to purchase at SIN before departing to Australia. You cannot fly HKG-SIN-Australia and purchase DF at HKG. It will not be permitted at the boarding screening at SIN. But if you fly HKG-SIN-Australia you can purchase in SIN - so long as the transit is long enough to meet the pre-departure purchase lead time, which is quoted as 90 mins from memory.

Or if stopping over in SIN you could purchase in HKG when departing for SIN. Then pack into checked bags for flight SIN-Australia.
 

serfty

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... Any other exceptions?
In my recent experince, HKG and maybe still BKK are the only ports where post security duty free liquids are not permitted on-board.

In the last year I have 'carried on' duty free liquids in bottles of litre or more from NRT, LAX, DFW, AKL, WLG, CHC & SIN.
 

scwappy

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I have brought some from DXB recently and whilst the store made a big deal of sealing it and telling me the crew would need to put it in the hold for the journey when I got to the aircraft they just allowed it onboard. Prices ex DXB are pretty good too.

I also would NEVER buy from SYD duty free. Far too expensive.
 

NM

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In my recent experience, HKG and maybe still BKK are the only ports where post security duty free liquids are not permitted on-board.

In the last year I have 'carried on' duty free liquids in bottles of litre or more from NRT, LAX, DFW, AKL, WLG, CHC & SIN.
How about KUL, JNB, MNL?

Note that the QF web site suggests its possible to have DF liquids delivered to the boarding gate at HKG. I have never seen this done in practice. I will try to remember to ask the DF staff on Tuesday and report back. Need something to celebrate my return to Emeraldness after that flight,
 

banger2

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MNL does at gate carry on searches also. also got an at gate pad down last month...
 
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