USA. United Airlines, the world’s third-busiest international airline, is stopping its onboard duty free programme, effective 31 March, The Moodie Davitt Report can confirm.
“We are unable to compete with airport duty free vendors that stock much more merchandise”
The news was first revealed by respected travel intelligence service Skift. The United Airlines business is handled by Miami-based Duty Free World, which won the inflight retail concession for the combined United Airline/Continental Airlines business in early 2012. Previously it had operated United’s programme since 2003. The Moodie Davitt Report contacted both United Airlines and Duty Free World President & CEO Mayra Del Valle for reaction on Friday. Ms Del Valle will issue a statement to us tomorrow morning (Tuesday), regarding a change in approach to the business.
Skift quoted a United e-mail to employees that said: “We made this decision based on declining sales revenue for both United and Duty Free World. We are unable to compete with airport duty free vendors that stock much more merchandise.”
In a statement confirming the story, the Association of Flight Attendants said: “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 inquiries 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.”
United is the third major US carrier to give up duty free in recent years.
As reported, American Airlines ceased its programme (until then run by DFASS) in March 2015. Delta Air Lines ceased duty free operations in August 2014.