Duty Free is an exciting part of the travel journey, allowing passengers to grab a memento from their trip often involving chocolate, booze or perfume to celebrate. Or really, just to take a quick spray of a tester to mask the travel musk. If you do plan on buying something in these bustling airport shops, there’s one travel fail which catches out unsuspecting travelers more than you’d ever imagine.
Unless you want to watch someone pour out your booze, you may want to read up.
When travel returns, it’s likely to involve more connections than it did before, and when it comes to duty free, that matters. Airlines are dropping many of their less successful routes, and that means you’ll be going through another airport to reach your final destination far more often. If you are, the duty free game is totally different.
Travelers are caught out every day, buying something at their point of origin, not realizing that in they’ll be re-screened before any onward connections, if they exist. That means liquids over 100ml must go, or be consumed, with just a few exceptions.
Tamper proof bags, sealed with an original purchase receipt by a duty free employee are typically that exception. If they ask “do you have any onward connections” that’s usually why they’re asking. You need one.
If you don’t have one, and you don’t want to get arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct in a foreign country, for consuming a bottle of booze so it doesn’t get poured out, be sure to check the rules for each journey. Your Toblerone would be fine, but in many transit countries larger perfumes and liquids, like champagne or whiskey not so much.
Yep, that beautiful bottle of champagne you bought to toast the trip could be going to someone else, or worse, in the bin at a security checkpoint. With very few exceptions, there are no exceptions and that’s why paying attention to your itinerary is vital to any duty free purchase.
No connection? No worries! Unless your final destination is a country which prohibits bringing in alcohol of any kind, you should be absolutely fine buying duty free goods. Qatar, for example doesn’t allow you to bring any alcohol into the country, but transit is fine.
The issue is around buying duty free liquids before your last flight. Unless you’re able to reconnect with your bag in between, or have a tamper proof bag, sealed with the receipt inside, and are transiting a country which allows this, the goods won’t be joining you.
Yes, some countries will allow you with sealed, tamper proof bags from duty free, even if the liquids are over 100ml, but you’ll need to read up on airport information from the country you plan to connect in.
Let’s say you’re flying from London to Bangkok, with a connection in China. Anything you buy at duty free in London will need to go through security again in China, before you board the onward flight to Bangkok.
This means any liquids over 100ml are getting tossed, unless China offers an exception for tamper proof duty free bags, which it currently does not. The good news? Other countries do, but it’s based on where you’re going, or where the duty free was purchased.
If you resisted the temptation in London, and instead bought duty free in China, you’d be fine, since it’s your last flight, either way.
Travel memories should always be toasted, or sprayed via a lovely perfume, but just make sure not to swipe your card until just before the last flight on your international itinerary, or when you know your connecting country allows duty free exceptions. Otherwise you may end up buying twice, which kinda defeats the point of duty free pricing.