Plans to stop rolling the Duty-Free

Finnair is the latest airline to stop selling Duty-Free treats onboard its flights, in part for the environmental benefits of no longer flying heavy stock around the world but mainly because most travellers have simply fallen out of love with the Duty-Free cart.

Alongside cheap cigarettes, discounted alcohol and knockdown fragrances, many airline Duty-Free offerings featured a whole array of little heard of miracle products that just couldn’t be found anywhere else.

For Finnair passengers, the ‘joy’ of discovering these products while flicking through an inflight magazine in a moment of boredom will soon come to an end.

On Wednesday, the Helsinki-based airline announced plans to stop rolling the Duty-Free trolley down the aisles from February 28, although pre-ordered items will still be available for delivery onboard until the Spring.

From April 18, however, Finnair will completely eliminate onboard Duty-Free sales onboard all of its flights.

Valtteri Helve, Head of Product Offering at Finnair, admitted that the decision had been made because Duty-Free shopping had “become a less important service among our customers”.

Finnair had already discontinued Duty-Free sales on short-haul flights in order to reduce weight and, therefore, fuel burn and now Helve says it’s “time to take the next step”.

Many airlines jettisoned onboard Duty-Free carts at the start of the pandemic in an effort to reduce contact between cabin crew and passengers, although Dutch flag carrier KLM took the decision to permanently ‘suspend’ inflight Duty-Free shopping just before the pandemic struck.

American Airlines decided to ditch its onboard Duty-Free offerings back in 2015 after a “contractual disagreement” with its retail partner, a year after United Airlines dropped its own tax-free range. Delta Air Lines followed suit in 2016.

SWISS Air, however, is bucking the international trend and recently announced it was bringing back the Duty-Free trolley following a two and half year pandemic-induced suspension.