This Is Why You Shouldn’t Show Your Boarding Pass In Duty Free Next Time

Boarding Pass

Did you ever stop and take a second to think why the shops asked for it?

You know when you go on holiday and you’re in the boarding area and you buy some snacks for the plane or the new Irvine Welsh book to read or whatever and the cashier asks for your boarding pass to scan, did you ever wonder why that was or did you just blindly hand it over? Probably the latter and I’m right there with you – I always assumed it was a requirement to make sure you were actually getting on the plane so qualified for the cheaper prices they were ‘obviously’ selling their goods at.

I guess that’s probably what you thought as well, but it turns out it’s something way more sinister than that and it’s another example of how big business is out there to screw the common man. It turns out that the shops scan your boarding pass so that they can avoid paying VAT on their sales, but they don’t pass this discount onto the customer with many of the prices actually exactly the same as those you would find on a regular high street. I never even bothered to question that – I just assumed they would be cheaper because they were at an airport, I mean surprisingly I’m not sad enough to actually make a note of it and compare them – but it turns out I really should have because those shops are totally messing us around. Standard.

The retailers get a 20% discount by not paying the VAT on products bought by travellers heading outside of the European Union. This is because there is no purchase tax on these sales, yet the shops are not passing this saving onto the customer.

Featured Image VIA

WH Smith Airport

Image VIA

They’ve come out in their defence and said that it would be impossible to have two pricing systems installed in their shops – one for travellers staying inside the EU and one for travellers heading elsewhere – but I really don’t think it would be that difficult, do you? Just need to put two labels or signs on each product, which might be annoying at first but at least benefit the customer and make us trust the retailers again. Oh wait, they don’t really care about that in the first place do they, no worries. I mean if it’s really that difficult, why not just give those lucky travellers a surprise discount at the till when they swipe their boarding cards? I’m sure nobody is going to be complaining about that, right?

So basically, unless they implement that option, next time you’re going on holiday refuse to swipe your boarding pass when they ask you. There have already been several protests against places like WH Smith and Boots in Heathrow airport and this is expected to continue, with many predicting that if it does then the retailers will have no choice but to take notice and start sharing their savings with the customer, exactly how it should be.

Make sure you help make a difference next time you go on holiday and also check out these incredible airport hacks – like getting into the first class lounge for free – and take something back from the travel industry as well.


To Top