Qantas is shutting down its inflight duty-free shopping service, with that last watch, universal AC adaptor or bottle of perfume sold above the clouds on New Year's Eve.
The airline this morning confirmed the move, following comments to trade publication TRBusiness by Alpha Flight Services' Manager of Duty Free Lenelle Williams – who oversaw the inflight duty-free operation under contract to Qantas – "that Qantas have made the decision to discontinue their traditional offering of inflight duty free from 1 January 2018, with the last flight departing the Australian ports on 31 December 2017."
As a global trend inflight duty-free sales are said to have been steadily declining over the past decade, driven by improved duty-free retail outlets at airports as well as the greater availability of goods – and greater price competition – through online shopping.
"If you look at what has been happening in Australian retail over the last year or two, there has been a lot of pressure on retailers with online ordering," observed Alpha Flight Services Marketing and Duty Free general manager Pat Osborne. "The recent launch of Amazon in the country is a prime example."
Qantas flights will not only ditch their extensive stock of duty-free but also the In Sky Shopping catalogue which crowds those seat pockets.
We'd like to hear from Australian Business Traveller readers on this: will you miss duty-free shopping on Qantas flights? Indeed, what's the last time you bought any duty-free product on a flight – and what was it, and why?