Citing a lack of sales, United Airlines is ending onboard duty free sales at the end of this month.
In an AFA news release, the demise of duty free sales was blamed on “declining sales revenue”–
United announced this week, effective March 31, 2017, we will no longer offer duty-free merchandise on any United flights. United made this decision based on declining sales revenue for both United and Duty Free World. All Flight Attendant commission inquires must be reconciled by June 1, 2017. As well as, if you were assigned a duty-free key you should return the key to Inflight no later than April 30, 2017.
While the retail catalogs will remain on board the aircraft through the end of June, there will be no sales onboard as of March 31, 2017.
Not sure why the retail catalogs would remain onboard, but this is your last call to buy duty free on United. Of course United did not remove Airfones either…
I’ve never bought duty free items onboard a plane before and always viewed it as a vestige of the past. The deals are rarely great and the internet gives you a tool to find the same item for cheaper, even from the comfort of your seat at 40,000 feet.
Will other airlines follow? Delta eliminated onboard duty free sales in 2014 and American in 2015, but it amazes me that duty free sales still seems to do well on many Asian and European carriers, like Finnair–
So I expect we’ll still see Duty Free onboard planes for quite some time, especially when a commission is involved. But as of April, no longer on United…