United Ends Duty Free and Dry Kuwait Airways Allows BYO Alcohol — Who Knew?

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Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Bummer. Now I’ll actually have to get organized and go shopping to buy gifts for the relatives.

  2. I’ve found inflight Duty-free items that you can’t buy anywhere else. (Let British Air & Aer Lingus keep it up!). Also, didn’t know that FAs make a commission. Interesting.

  3. For international DF, I would like to thank the TSA for royally screwing it up.

    For example, when I drive into and out of Canada, I may stop at the DF store and purchase what I would like, keeping in mind the limits on booze and tobacco. No problem.

    When flying out of the US, I can go to the DF and purchase what I want. It is delivered to me on the plane before departure.

    When returning to the US from China on a US carrier, not only do I go through regular security and passport control, but there is yet another screening before one gets on the plane to confiscate any liquids one may purchase. The “reason” is that many people make connections and must clear security in the US to make those connections, and you are not allowed to open your bag between baggage claim and the security check point.

    But if you arrive in Detroit, you can leave the “secure area”, pack your liquids into your checked luggage, and recheck your bag at the counter. Then go through security as if this were your only flight. And I routinely leave the secure area because I have Precheck and the Precheck line is invariably closed.

    However, if you did not go through that, recheck your bag inside the secure area, and proceed to security, you are not allowed to purchase DF goods even though this is your port of entry to the US.

    Why is this? Obviously, the booze purchased outbound is the same stuff as you should be able to purchase inbound; it is in the secure area and should pose no security threat. It is Security Theater plain and simple.

    So, if you want to know why US carriers are doing away with DF, it is because their most profitable products are essentially prohibited from sale when entering the US.

  4. OK Darth, but how is the TSA responsible for the entire world’s liquids ban?

    And Gary, the TSA / teen sexting correlation makes absolutely no sense, even in jest. More sense, based on facts: “A father has a daughter. Is it any wonder that a father is likely to have sex with his daughter, given that most sexual assault of minors occurs within the family?”

    Or, if you want to focus on the TSA: “There have been no terrorist attacks in airplanes departing the USA since the government took over airport security in 2001. Is it any wonder that the only attacks occurred during the years prior, when the private sector was in charge?”

  5. Actually, having your “Duty Free” delivered to you at the Gate in the USA is a quirk of fate and an exception, not the rule. This rule exists in the US because there is no differentiation between Domestic and International flights, unlike most major airports around the world. Therefore US Customs demand that these goods are “exported” and so must be delivered at the gate. Otherwise, what is stop stop anyone passing their purchases to 3rd Parties on a Domestic flight?

    If the USA had a proper “transit-system” for internationally connecting passengers, then this rule would not be necessary. With regard to dropping inflight sales, in the days of virtual ancillary revenues, the handling of goods, small selection and other contraints, like passenger disturbance, make the practice un-weildy for many large airlines.

    Will others follow suit? For sure, once they start looking at the numbers and the issues like weight. Digital linkeage to ground stores will be the way forward.

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