American Airlines Discontinues Duty-Free Sales
The days of duty-free sales onboard international flights appear to be coming to an end on many North American carriers. With an increase in airport duty-free stores and access to a wide variety of goods on the internet, onboard duty-free sales figures have been steadily declining over the last decade.
American Airlines recently announced that, effective March 20, 2015, it was discontinuing the sale of duty-free items on its international flights. Although the carrier is in the process of removing all duty-free items and catalogues from its aircraft, flyers will continue, for the moment, to find duty-free sales on some US Airways international flights.
This move by American, follows in the footsteps of Delta, which pulled its duty-free sales in August 2014. The other victim of declining sales was the parent company of SkyMall—an inflight catalog carried by numerous airlines—which declared bankruptcy in January 2015.
SkyMall stated that increased internet access onboard flights and competition from mega e-commerce providers, Amazon and eBay, caused passengers to spend time on the internet rather than perusing the SkyMall catalogue. It hopes to “sustain a scaled-down business operation” while a buyer is found for the company.