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Duty Free for 'Onward Travelling Passengers'

Stirling, United...
posts: 8
reviews: 8
Duty Free for 'Onward Travelling Passengers'

Hi All,

I meant to Post this earlier as a WARNING to anyone who MAY find themselves in OUR position.

We travelled from Orlando to Glasgow via Heathrow (Dial-a-Flight, with a SEVEN hour stopover at Heathrow!)

On the Orlando to Heathrow 'leg', the cabin Crew sold us Duty Free Spirits, without warning us, that as 'Onward Travelling Pax' we would have to go through Security once more (thereby having to ditch the Spirits!) To cut a long story short, I was sent back to the British Airways Desk to have my hand luggage put into the 'hold' for onward transmission to Glasgow - complete with a 'Fragile' label on it (Ho, ho, ho!) On arrival at Glasgow, YEP! You've guessed it, smashed to smithereens!

By this stage you are saying; 'What a half-wit'! (As I did) but to tell the truth, I never gave the re-run at Security any thought when I purchased the Spirits.

I don't want to speak 'ill' of the BA Cabin Crew - they were only trying to flog the 'goods', but there should be SOME kind of warning or caveat as to the consequences of buying on board for 'Onward Travelling Pax'?

Moral of the story? Don't do as I did! Happy Travelling!

Kind Regards, Jim

22 replies to this topic
posts: 44,672
reviews: 89
1. Re: Duty Free for 'Onward Travelling Passengers'

Often mentioned here, often ignored, since people are so keen to save a tenner despite the aggravation and hassle, the potential savings overrides common sense.

But, kudos for your admission, and to give the BA staff the benefit of the doubt, they dont know where your destination is, for all they know you will be heading out of Heathrow and home, or perhaps you are a regular and pack bubble wrap in your carry on.

Its pretty much the same in the opposite direction as well except you do get a chance to grab your hold cases and repack, which I guess you don't arriving at LHR?

Calgary, Canada
posts: 3,147
reviews: 44
2. Re: Duty Free for 'Onward Travelling Passengers'

Air Canada cabin crew invariably advise you that if you are connecting at 'Destination' you will need to be able to access your baggage and put the DF in there...or don't bother buying.

I know this, but its good that they do it for those who may be less informed etc.

posts: 2,558
reviews: 26
3. Re: Duty Free for 'Onward Travelling Passengers'

I'm confused.

It was my understanding that you can buy duty-free liquids on board EU airlines and have them sealed in exactly the same way as you would in an airport duty-free shop, and then take them through security in their sealed bag (I've done this with KLM). Did BA staff not offer to seal your purchase?

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 18,941
reviews: 5
4. Re: Duty Free for 'Onward Travelling Passengers'

"It was my understanding that you can buy duty-free liquids on board EU airlines and have them sealed in exactly the same way as you would in an airport duty-free shop,"

That's correct,


"I am changing flights at Heathrow. Can I carry liquids, aerosols and gels in my hand luggage that I bought from the duty-free store at my previous airport?

It depends where you bought them. You can carry liquids, aerosols and gels through security at Heathrow if the following applies:

1. You bought the liquids, aerosols or gels in a passenger-only zone at an airport in the European Union*, Norway, Iceland or Switzerland, or on an aircraft operated by an airline based in one of these countries. Your items must be sealed in a tamper-proof bag provided by the airport or airline, inside of which must be proof of purchase showing that you bought them within the previous 24 hours; OR ..."

So the question per Aviatrix holds. Did BA place your duty free in a secure tamper evident bag (STEB)? If so, then airport security is wrong. If not, then BA is wrong. And given that a very good percentage of BA passengers flying from the US to Heathrow would be in transit to an onward destination, I'd have expected them to ask.

Edited: 9:39 pm, September 23, 2013
posts: 2,074
reviews: 20
5. Re: Duty Free for 'Onward Travelling Passengers'

I'm confused. BA fly Orlando to Gatwick, not Orlando to Heathrow. Was the OP connecting at Gatwick rather than Heathrow? As far as I can see nobody at all operates Orlando-Heathrow though there are flights from Miami, for example.

My understanding is the same as Aviatrix, EU airlines can sell duty free goods onboard and seal the bags so that they are acceptable to UK security, or indeed security at any EU airport.

Stirling, United...
posts: 8
reviews: 8
6. Re: Duty Free for 'Onward Travelling Passengers'

Hi Folks,

First of all, apologies, via Gatwick NOT Heathrow! Secondly, I'm taking more of the blame than the BA Staff, although there was NO warning, I could possibly have used a wee bit more 'aforethought'!

Remember that this is a Forum to share experiences, good, bad and indifferent. My main point is 'Don't let it happen to YOU.

Kind Regards and thank you for all the replies!

Cairns, Australia
posts: 1
reviews: 1
7. Re: Duty Free for 'Onward Travelling Passengers'

I travelled recently on a BA flight to Australia and purchased 2 litre duty bottles of alcohol placed a plastic unsealed bag in the secure part of terminal 5 at LHR for a flight to Sydney, which meant a stop in Singapore for refuelling.In Singapore all passengers were told to leave the plane with cabin bags and belongings and when I went to board the flight through the same gate security confiscated my bottles even though my boarding pass told them where my flight and duty free had originated.When I objected they told me this happens often but there was no way I could carry these bottles on board.The duty free store at terminal 5 looked at my boarding pass but made now mention that my liquor might or would be removed on a transit stop but were quite happy to sell it to me.Strangely I was later told this is BA/Qantas ruling for international flights,there is no restriction on liquids in cabin baggage on domestic flights in Australia, explain that?

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
posts: 62,258
reviews: 12
8. Re: Duty Free for 'Onward Travelling Passengers'

So far as I know, it is an Australian government ruling for all flights into Australia. There have been a number of posts about this confiscation of duty-free liquids at various airports and with various airlines.

The rules about liquids do not apply to domestic flights within Australia, but they do apply to all flights into and out of Australia.

Brisbane, Australia
Destination Expert
for Brisbane
posts: 6,192
reviews: 53
9. Re: Duty Free for 'Onward Travelling Passengers'

redjensen ... to carry duty free alcohol onboard into Australia it must be purchased and handled from your final stopover. This is a government regulation, not the airlines. I presume the duty fee staff at Heathrow knew this but that's not definite. Also it doesn't really have anything to do with domestic flights, different system.

Darwin, Australia
Destination Expert
for Darwin, Kakadu National Park
posts: 2,247
reviews: 157
10. Re: Duty Free for 'Onward Travelling Passengers'

Rules seem to have changed in the last period at Singapore for flights to Australia, but before travelling Jetstar to Darwin if you purchased duty free alcohol at Singapore and it was in the approved packing, it would pass through Security when you entered the gate area. The other week I noticed that there was a duty free employee after Security handing out your purchases, sealed, from a cart located just before you left the lounge to walk to the aircraft.

There was a warning displayed in the Transit area that different airlines had different rules for Duty Free items purchased in the Duty Free area and you should check.

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