Delta Air Lines drops duty free sales – indefinitely

By Kevin Rozario |

In a shock move, Delta Airlines has decided to drop its inflight duty free programme, seemingly on a permanent basis, after failing to agree on terms with its concessionaire, DFASS.


The US airline – the second biggest in the world based on passengers carried in 2013 (164.6m) – will stop all onboard sales from Wednesday.


In a statement the carrier says: “Delta has ended its on-board duty free programme (effective August 13) after the airline and its vendor were unable to agree on terms to continue to administer the programme.”



However the move may be more strategic than simply a disagreement over terms. When TRBusiness today asked the airline’s spokesperson, Michael Thomas, if it had intentions of seeking another concessionaire he said that Delta is discontinuing duty free sales, adding: “Delta is not exploring a replacement duty free vendor at this time.”


Delta declined to state why it is dropping this ancillary revenue stream. The investor relations department has not, so far, answered requests from TRBusiness about the financial effect of the loss of this business on its overall revenue in the 2014 financial year.


However, it is likely to be minimal given that the airline appears unperturbed by the loss – even going so far as to suggest alternative duty free options. “Delta apologises for any inconvenience to our customers and as a reminder, a variety of duty free items are available at most international airports,” it says.


DFASS also declined to comment. John Garner, Deputy Chairman, told TRBusiness: “We are unable to discuss the matter at this moment in time.” While the loss of Delta will be a blow, DFASS still retains contracts with other large US carriers American Airlines and US Airways – although these carriers are currently merging parts of their operations after a deal was announced last February.

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