Qantas Removing Duty Free from Flights

Qantas Removing Duty Free from Flights
Qantas is removing duty free shopping from flights

The end of the year is fast approaching, and it’s not just your last chance to complete your Christmas shopping. Now is also your last chance to purchase gifts on board our national carrier, with Qantas removing duty free from all international flights.

Qantas’ final in-flight duty free sales will take place on international flights departing Australia on 31 December 2017. From 1 January 2018, Qantas’ In Sky Shopping Catalogues will be removed from the seat pockets of Qantas’ international long-haul aircraft.

It is believed that Qantas’ decision to discontinue duty free, which is managed by Alpha Flight Services, is a commercial one. Duty free products typically attract very high profit margins. But carrying all of those products – as well as catalogues – adds extra weight to every international flight. Qantas removing duty free sales will result in fuel burn reductions on every flight.

The ability to purchase gifts on board may be a time-saver for time-poor business travellers, but most airports now house extensive duty-free stores selling similar products. Many of the duty free products sold on board can be purchased on the ground at lower prices anyway. But there are some unique products sold on board, such as the Qantas Joey Club baby suit. Some good tax-free deals on wine and spirits can also be found from time to time.

Overall, the removal of in-flight shopping is not a huge loss for passengers. Most of our members say that they never – or rarely – buy in-flight duty free anyway.

To be honest on pretty much any airline these days i very rarely see someone purchasing duty free.. Emirates seems to be the exception where i often see a number of pax purchasing in the Y cabin even on mel-akl. I also won’t miss it, especially when the prices sometimes seemed not much different to retail prices on the ground.

Good! The onboard duty free PAs interrupt my video screen!!

Duty-free sales vary significantly between different markets. Australia is not a strong market for duty-free shopping. But Korea – which Qantas does not fly to – is. In fact, in-flight shopping is so popular in Korea that Korean Air has fitted an actual shop into its A380 aircraft.

As we know, Duty Free is not aimed at the average Australian resident, but at certain overseas groups who will buy just about anything and everything. I mean why else would KE have opened an actual shop in their A380s at the expense of seats? It must be profitable.

If you’re flying Qantas between now and 31 December, there’s still time to do some last-minute shopping!

Will you miss Qantas’ in-flight duty free? Join the discussion HERE.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

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