How Not To Get Ripped Off At Duty Free
You have an hour to kill before your flight takes off. You’ve already had a snack at a snazzy airport restaurant. Maybe you’ve even considered an express treatment at an airport spa.
But the siren’s call of duty-free shopping is too strong.
“Sometimes, we stop by the duty-free shop because we think we are getting a deal. Other times, we are bored before our flights and just want to kill some time,” says Scott Mayerowitz, editorial director at The Points Guy, an aviation-focused travel website. “Occasionally, we find items that we can’t get at home.”
But before you open your wallet, Mayerowitz says, do a little research to make sure you’re not getting ripped off — start by reviewing TPG’s study on duty-free shopping, which showed wild fluctuations in prices for the same item across duty-free shops worldwide.
The same product in duty free could cost an additional 30% or more in another airport, the study found. And prices for that item can vary between different duty-free stores even within the same airport. For example, at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City, the price of a 1-liter bottle of Bacardi Gold rum varies from $14 to $23.
The study collected and compared duty-free prices for 13 popular items (Bombay Sapphire gin, Johnny Walker Blue Label scotch, Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair face cream and Marlboro cigarettes, to name a few) at 50 airports across six continents.