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Duty-Free Angst: Save That Scotch!

Cindy Loose

Already a bit confused about the rules governing liquids in airports and airlines, especially duty-free purchases in Europe and the U.S.? Hold on to your hats: Other nations are joining the fray.

First, the older rules concerning Europe: If you buy specially packaged duty-free items you can take them as carryon on a U.S.-bound plane, but only if you're flying direct. For example, if you load up on Scotch and fly from Great Britain to Dulles, no problem. But if you're onward bound from Dulles to, say, Chicago, you'll lose your Scotch.

In recent days, and in recent ways, more countries have instituted rules about duty-free liquid purchases. Among the countries with fairly or very recent new rules: Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand and Tunisia. They're all pretty consistent when it comes to the 3-1-1 on liquids: i.e. you may have as many three-ounce bottles of liquid as will fit in one one-quart zip-top baggie. (The only inconsistency is in metric measurements, but they're generally close enough that security officers will pay the difference no mind.)

Not so when it comes to duty-free. For example, passengers traveling from Europe through South Korea can transfer with their purchases, but not those traveling through Japan.

Bottom line: Check the rules before you buy. Anyone encountered any inconsistencies in airport/airlne policies regarding liquid duty-free items recently?

By Cindy Loose |  April 10, 2007; 12:12 PM ET  | Category:  Airline Industry , Cindy Loose
Previous: What's New at U.S. Airports | Next: How Cheap Can Flying Get?

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So what about when you transfer within Europe on your way back to the US - i.e. Rome to London to Dulles? Can you keep your duty free that you bought in Rome?

Posted by: Bring on the vino | April 10, 2007 12:41 PM

If one flies into Atlanta with Duty-free liquids, one must find one's checked luggage in Customs and place the Duty-free item in the luggage. This is because the airport mixes all incoming passengers with all out-going passengers in its rail system. If one has no checked luggage, one must place the Duty-free item in a carry-on bag and wait in line to check it. Next step is to wait for the bag to finally appear with other checked bags. So much for packing light to avoid the baggage claim delay.

Posted by: Frustrated | April 11, 2007 7:05 AM

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