UK airport passengers’ disbelief at order to return duty-free purchases after flights are cancelled

Passengers at UK airports will have to return their duty-free purchases if their flights are cancelled, adding further insult to those already disappointed

Passengers queuing for check-in at Bristol Airport on Wednesday
Passengers queuing for check-in at Bristol Airport on Wednesday

Airport passengers left in disbelief as they were forced to return their duty-free purchases after their holiday hopes were dashed.

A “chorus of laughter literally erupted” before wannabe jetsetters left Bristol Airport empty-handed after finding out their flights had been cancelled.

It’s the latest blow to travelers adding insults to injuries amid the staffing crisis at UK airports.

The chaos continued this week as airlines struggled to fill security and check-in roles.

Passengers queued outside the terminals and hundreds more flights were delayed or cancelled.

However, a lesser-known consequence for flightless returnees is not being able to take their duty-free groceries with them, they say Bristol Live.

Aaliyah Miller from Bristol was due to fly to Lisbon, Portugal last month.

But she was told her flight was canceled just ten minutes before boarding.

British travelers face hardship at airports



“As if that weren’t bad enough, being asked to return duty-free groceries was certainly salt in the wound,” Aaliyah said.

“I think the whole room was in disbelief and a chorus of laughter literally erupted when they made the duty free announcement.”

Twitter user @AFrenchHome also shared his disappointment after being confronted with the rule on Monday.

“easyJet has just canceled two more flights and expects anyone with duty free qualifications to return them before they leave,” he tweeted.

Many passengers have faced extreme delays or canceled flights


Rowan Griffiths / Daily Mirror)

“Seriously! Customs laws mean that already disappointed travelers whose flights have been canceled are also banned from leaving the airport with duty-free goods.”

The return of duty-free goods is a legal obligation for airport users who do not board their flight and therefore remain in the UK.

But the rule was met with humor and outrage from already disgruntled passengers at the check-in desks.

Passengers have been urged to return their duty-free purchases after their flights were canceled at Bristol Airport


Bristol Live/BPM MEDIA)

A Bristol Airport spokesman said: “Duty-free return is a normal procedure for a canceled flight.

“Customers can shop duty-free (and get the duty-free discounted prices) [but] This allowance only applies to customers departing from the UK.

“When flights are cancelled, the customer does not leave the UK, so it is a customs requirement that all duty-free purchases are returned and a full refund given. This is a UK Customs requirement.”

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