Is this the Airport Shopping Mall that got it right?

Airport Retail is a huge business, every airport has Stores, it’s a major part of their business income. The more we fly, the more we all have to navigate an increased number of Shops on our way to the plane.

We all have to pass these Stores, but how many of us really buy? How enjoyable is it for us and is it a real experience. Some research numbers for the Travel Retail Industry indicate that the level of actual shopping is low, nowhere near what it should be for a “captive audience”.

Bangkok is on of the world’s great shopping hubs and is famous for its tuk-tuks, those quaint motos with neon lights and disco music that shuttle you around the city.

Terminal 21 Bangkok, the “airport shopping mall”  that isn’t in an airport at all!

Many of the hotels have their own courtesy tuk-tuks that drop you at the nearest Skytrain stop. Now, many hostelries located near the Sukhumvit Road metropolis, will also drop you are the Terminal 21 airport shopping mall too!

But there’s a catch, Terminal 21 is an airport shopping mall, but it is not located in an airport at all. It is actually right next door to the Asok Skytrain Station on Sukhumvit Road, in central Bangkok. T21 is a parody, a take on all those Travel Retail Malls in airports. They took the travel shopping experience and bettered it. They managed to capture that feel of how you would really like to feel in an airport and they did it all as a Downtown Destination.

Airport Shopping
Entering “Airport” Terminal 21 baggage & all

So much so that it is rammed, “chock-a-block” as some would say, dawn till beyond dusk, 24/7, all year long.

So why is it so full to the brim and why is it so popular as an “experience”, and why has it become a destination in it’s own right, that key shopping concept, so craved after by all those real Airport Stores?

The best way to explain, would perhaps be to take you on a photographic journey and let you judge for yourself.

Every floor is a Destination experience

We’ll add a few hints and comments to give you our take on things. But one thing is for sure…. when you next escape your Departure Airport Stores, settle down on your flight and finally arrive in Bangkok, make sure you put Terminal 21 at the top of your omni-channel wish-list.

It will be a shopping experience you’ll never forget and one that is more likely to empty your wallet than almost any other airport mall that you have ever visited. But it will be a day out you won’t forget.

Travellers want destination shopping, they go on a trip to experience what is on offer when they get there, it’s all part of that great travel journey.

Leaving Istanbul for London? Shop before you fly at Terminal 21.

What none of us want is the mundane everyday thing that they we see at home, on a daily basis.

Accurate, simple and immediate info to hand

What we also don’t want is the ordinary, missable or the template shopping experience that most airports provide today, regardless of continent or culture.

Maybe this is one reason why T21 got it so right?

The first thing they did so right was to provide you with quick, easy and accurate information at the touch of a big screen.

Shopping Attendants there to assist every request

They also provided a desk where the super smartly attired assistants, did everything they could to help you.

You were not hit with a spray of Perfume after leaving security … at every entrance to T21 and as soon as you stepped foot in the Mall, you are entranced by a visual Aladdin’s Cave of real merchandise, merchandise that makes you want to touch and feel and not look, but not touch as merchandising often comes across in most airport stores.

Attractive Handicraft Stalls at the ready

Then there is the huge variety of goods. Small shops, local handicrafts, mini-boutiques and assistants sat behind their market stalls.

The small trader has been given the opportunity to peddle their wares in one of the world’s busiest shopping centres. Competing with the big and famous on the same playing field. When did you last see that concept in an airport?

The old town street sales are unique, browse the integrated arcades and their chic stores, all within a huge complex, but removing you from that template shopping experience.

Lighting, lanterns and local luxury

Individuality, independent and attractive. Find the Old City from within the big City!

That missable sameness removed at a stroke. Every Street at every different destination lit and designed differently.

Variety is the spice of life, is it not?

So is price, and T21 also does this best. It is certainly no more expensive than most airports, but variety wins hands down.

So does that VAT Tax-Back you can recover on your spend at Downtown Stores in Thailand, when you return home. How difficult is that to do? Not difficult at all. The assistants are trained, efficient and courteous, ready and waiting to help you spend and beat the airport on price.

1st, 2nd, 3rd or more Streets to enjoy?

One amazing oddity for Travel Retail is that your tax-back cash is given to you airside in the airport departure Terminal. So thanks to T21, Duty Free Retailers actually benefit from all that unwanted Baht, spent again in the airport, before departure.

Whether it is the main concourse, or all those little Streets, something T21 has done has captivated their Customers.

We think it is variety that captured the imagination.

Meantime, don’t want to carry your goods home today, or off to dinner before your hotel? Then leave your shopping at the baggage stop.

T21 realises that “airport shoppers” might have big bags to carry or store.

Another service ready and waiting to help you relax, enjoy and spend!

We could go on an on, but we are running out of space and you time, no doubt. So you better make your way down to arrivals to find your tuk-tuk.

Out of the Terminal and into the Street. Your Car, Cab, Tuk-Tuk or Sktrain is waiting

Apologies for the queues and mass of shoppers. But that’s what can happen if the Mall Operators managed to get it so right.

Getting to the Gate is always busy.

Congratulations Terminal 21. Pity they never thought about running a real airport Mall too?

If they did, you’d probably shop too much and forget to fly.

Airport Retailers, please dwell and dream on! Stop researching passenger behaviour and get down to Asok BTS as soon as you can find the time. In between retail conferences that is.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..   More photos… lesser quality, but describes more of the same.

Another Street
More chic independents
Streets of delight
Lanterns alight
Coffee & Cosmetics mingled together
Check in to buy
Cosmetics on the go
Feel free to send us in more fotos of Terminal 21 and we will give them full credit as due. Meantime, check before you fly at


Get your Duty Free delivered to the Airport Lounge

Airport Lounge access used to be the domain of the “rich and famous”, business travellers or those with a premium frequent flyer card.

Not any more!

Information for Duty Free shopping
Check before you buy!

More and more people can now access an Airport Lounge on a day-pass at a very competitive price. For the non-frequent flyer this can be advantageous, especially if you flight is delayed.

Most lounges allow you free airport WiFi, snacks or some hot dishes, a selection of free drinks and the comfort of your own space before you fly. Sometimes, there are shower facilities too.

And for shopping, Frankfurt airport have now introduced a delivery system where your online purchases can be delivered to the airport lounge, whilst you wait for your flight. This will save you time and trouble and also the hassle of carting your purchases around the Terminal. Other airports are now looking at this facility too, such as Auckland.

Some airport Stores will deliver your goods to the Gate, some are obliged to do this, as is the case in the USA where Customs restrictions do not permit you to actually buy in store and carry your goods around the Terminal.

All that baggage!

But, now that VIP Airport Lounge Access is open to so many passengers than before, it is well worth checking before you fly for your retail options.

Air travel is about convenience, or it should be, but more often than not it is stressful. So, these small innovations can help you during your journey.

Most people cant be bothered to buy “Duty Free” in an airport, only 19% of travellers actually buy, so using digital channels and easy delivery, this could be the simple method to find that bargain.

For detailed Duty Free information, the rules and regulations or a list of available airport lounge passes at good prices, check before you fly!

Check out the Lounge options at your Airport

Travel Retail Traffic™ | Official Site

Airport Retailers need traffic for their omni-channels, airlines like to maximise their Ancillary Revenues, will “the twain” ever meet?

Will that Quartet of Airlines, Airports, Retailers and Brands eventually come together to offer the Consumer what he wants for his Journey?

With more Travel Retail Stores offering digital pre-order facilities, Travellers now want to see all the shopping opportunities for their trip in one easy place.

Travel Retail TrafficIn early 2017 Travel Retail Traffic was born out of the website which was first launched in 2008 as a concept website. At that time, with a very basic global Airport & Airline Shopping Guide.

airport airlines duty free traffic
Original Global Duty Free Guide 2009 and now Travel Retail Traffic

The purpose of the site* was to advise Consumers as to where they could buy their “Duty Free on Arrival“, a little known concept to those in Europe or North America, but with the huge convenience of not having to carry the goods with you around the globe. Such a practice avoids many of the pitfalls experienced by travelers, like the numerous confiscations by Airport Security.

Later in 2010, the database was extended, with the addition of land border, downtown and maritime shopping information for travelers and thus providing all the different purchase options available.

Today in 2017, the online Travel Retail shopping market is moving on and now airlines and airports are finally talking about joining forces to integrate retail offers to consumers with the best available duty free deals, at the right time. And, with many more convenient delivery options – including those available “on arrival”.

Some Operators are even talking about home-delivery now, but within most Customs regulations, there are restrictions on what you can buy. (Mostly within Europe, alcohol and tobaccos** cannot be included for delivery to your property they must be exported personally by the passenger).

Digital duty free airport airtraffix
Published 2015: Integrating Airport shopping and Airline Traffic for a better experience – Strategic Document, Ricardo Pilon Airline Consultant

Now, is developing Travel Retail Traffic  and addressing the new digital era for shopping, soon we intend to integrate our store data with airline information, so to maximise the passenger air traffic data, for better and easier shopping.

What will this do for you, the consumer?

It means that you will be able to find all the different shopping options on your journey and not just those in the airport or on your flight. It also means that you will be able to find the most convenient delivery options for your trip too and where allowed, the Tax Free refund services in Downtown stores and Outlet Malls.

Travel Retail, (better known as Duty Free Shops), has tended to resist digital change until now, just as airlines have been very selective with their air traffic data related to passengers’ journeys. But this is changing now and the market is opening up. Everybody wants to generate ancillary revenues, but we want to put the consumer first.

tax refund shopping
Tax Free Shops Global Refunds

For almost ten years we have seen what you are searching for online and where, so the eventual Travel Retail Traffic platform will primarily focus on your needs and priorities, not theirs!

Digital communication gives you more choice to find all your options for your trip, rather than just being “captive” in the airport.

Look out for more developments soon and we will keep you updated as to our progress and if you have any ideas or suggestions as to what you would like to find when it comes to Travel Retail…. please let us know.

travel retail traffic duty free

Meantime, check before you fly at our global shopping and information directory for all the details related to your specific journey.

Update: 11/04/17

Since our post related to this market development, the need for such a model has been supported by a key Duty Free Industry airline retail Conference.  The inaugural DFNI Inflight Forum… “We need to secure these multiple sales channels, whether its a web-order, mail-order, online credit card processing or corporate orders. These are all methods and target audiences for us.”

* Before we launched our database for arrivals shopping, nobody had ever created such a directory for consumers. DFOA and our associates were the first to create this search facility by researching every territory in the world for the relevant Customs rules. We retain all this original correspondence and our research documents on file. Our databases and the global arrivals search mechanisms are copyright protected and original IP.

** Moving forward, this information will become a vital participant for the digital sales of home or airport "Duty Free" deliveries, because online sales portals will need to incorporate all the relevant Rules, before they can sell to you. Such Customs Rules are highly relevant to the delivery aspects of your goods, because in some Territories or Jurisdictions, the online or mail-order of so-called Duty Free sales is not permitted.

*** What is Duty Free? First published 11/8/2010 Explaining exactly what you are buying and whether it includes the tax or not.

New airline security rules and Electronics in Duty Free Shops

Buying electronics in Duty Free shops has been a growing trend over a number of years and the selection of products has grown enormously. Additional stand-alone airport electronic stores are also more common in the terminals, especially with the growth in demand for smartphones and tablets.

We can see regular searches on our main store directory database for items such as “iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Tab 3” and the Latino terms for a phone “celular or fones“. We also now see many searches for “apple watch, smartwatch, Huawei Watch, Gear3 or LG Watch style“.

mobiles duty free
Duty Free Smartphones

All this has come about because in some countries, the latest electronic gadgets are very expensive, due to the high import duties levied in some countries.

In particular we see these searches from SE Asia and Latin America. Many Spanish and Portuguese searches seek out “Panama Duty Free” because this tax-free territory is perceived to have much cheaper prices for these gadgets than many other countries, like Brazil.

A similar trend is apparent from certain Asian countries, although from these territories “Dubai Duty Free” is a more common search term.

And now, for anyone flying to the UK or the USA via some Middle Eastern, North African or Gulf Countries, your problems could start with the recently imposed “Laptop Ban” in the main aircraft cabin. Especially if you had planned to buy any electronics in a Duty Free airport store, whilst travelling.

electronics duty free delhi
Electronics Store Delhi Airport – where are you flying to?

These new rules are very ambiguous, confusing and we are discussing here, any new purchases in Duty Free Stores and we are not referring to the gadgets you had already planned to take with you from home.

That said, the rules are much the same, except that your personal possessions will (mostly**) be dealt with at the check-in area, before you enter the “duty-free airside section” of an airport.

Without wishing to tell you something you don’t already know!  Once you “go airside” (i.e through security to your Gate for boarding), it is hard to turn back. More importantly, not all airlines will then have the facility to place any newly purchased electronics into the baggage hold of the aircraft.

If they do, it still could mean a long wait at the Gate and also the possibility of extra bag charges, but this will depend on each airline.

* Electronics in Duty Free Shops, how your purchases will relate to the new security rules into Great Britain and beyond.

If you are travelling in or out of the UK with any of the airlines below, to or from any of the Countries mentioned below, you should check with the store, to find out if you can now carry your electronics purchase with you into the main cabin. Or whether your airlines will check it in for you as hold baggage.

Do not assume anything, ask and ask again.

Likewise, you should really also contact the Airline Customer Service departments at the British (or other) airlines mentioned below, for an extra double-check, before you buy.

The British government announced Tuesday that it would be following the United States in banning large electronic items in cabin baggage on flights from several Middle Eastern and North African countries.

Passengers traveling from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia will from now on be forced to check their bags in if they carry any electronic equipment larger than 16 centimeters (6 inches) long, 9.3 cm wide and 1.5 cm deep.

The British airlines to be affected by the move are British Airways, EasyJet,, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson, while the foreign ones are Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airways, Atlas-Global Airlines, Middle East Airlines, Egyptair, Royal Jordanian, Tunis Air and Saudia.

** Apparently, Emirates in Dubai, are packing your electronics at the Boarding Gate for you and then placing these possessions in the hold. At this time, we don’t know if this is free or charged. For sure they will do the same for purchases made in the Dubai Duty Free shops. But expect long queues at the Gate for the time being.

Always better to know all the rules in advance …. check before you fly!

Internacional: Para buscar tiendas libres de impuestos, catálogos y precios, ingresa tu ciudad o país de destino y haga clic "Go". Cuando encuentre la información de su destino haga clic en el icono rojo de Aduanas para la búsqueda restricciones aduaneros. Para encontrar lojas duty free e os preços, inserir destino, click e Go! A cota de isenção alfandegária refere-se ao seu país de chegada e não ao país de partida. Os regulamentos alfandegários podem ser encontrados clicando no botão aduaneiro para a esquerda ou procurando seu país de destino.

American airlines are United stopping Duty Free on board

United stopping Duty Free on board. Last Friday it was decided by the major US airline management that United Airlines had decided to follow their competitors, American & Delta and were also terminating their inflight duty free shop service.

This now means that virtually none of the airlines based out of the USA provide an on board Duty Free Shopping facility on board. In the case of United, it was declared that the decision was forced on them by falling sales and an inability to compete with other stores, especially airport shops.

Duty Free United
US Airlines all stop selling Duty Free on board

So, for those of you out there looking to shop on your travels, this option has now been removed. United’s main HUBs include Newark, Houston, Washington Dulles and San Francisco and all these airports have duty free stores in their departure terminals. You can check these details on our global shopping database.

The Duty Free shopping industry can be a strange business, especially in the USA, where few airports have extensive online catalogues for their stores and even fewer have an online pre-order portal, so it won’t be easy to find advance information. Where links are available, we will feature them. We are updating on a regular basis.

Many travellers, won’t be the least bit upset by the disappearance of the inflight duty free shop, many frequent travellers saw it as a disturbance to their sleep after eating their meal and others just couldn’t be bothered to buy. (Airlines have a miniscule 6% of the global Duty Free market).

Nowadays, airlines want to sell you their “ancillaries”, like food, drink, insurance, car hire or upgrades to premium class and clearly questions are now being asked by the airlines as to whether the duty free shop is profitable and fits with their new commercial models.

Duty Free BA
Paid Food or Duty Free, which option works best for airlines?

British Airways has moved into paid catering in Europe and are yet to do the same on long-haul flights. But as the above article from Forbes explains, a halfway-house doesn’t serve anyone properly, nor does it keep them all very happy.

Watch out for more airlines dropping their duty free shopping in the future and concentrate your shopping in the airport or downtown for a better selection of products.

But, one thing to watch; can you carry all that shopping with you on board?

Check before you fly for all relevant duty free information about your trip.

Internacional: Para buscar tiendas libres de impuestos, catálogos y precios, ingresa tu ciudad o país de destino y haga clic "Go". Cuando encuentre la información de su destino haga clic en el icono rojo de Aduanas para la búsqueda restricciones aduaneros.

Para encontrar lojas duty free e os preços, inserir destino, click e Go! A cota de isenção alfandegária refere-se ao seu país de chegada e não ao país de partida. Os regulamentos alfandegários podem ser encontrados clicando no botão aduaneiro para a esquerda ou procurando seu país de destino.

búsqueda-pesquisa: Perfumes, fragrâncias, cosméticos, beleza, tratamentos, Perfume, fragancias, cosméticos, belleza, tratamientos

Airport Duty Free stores – top locations around the world

Here are some of the links to our global database of airport Duty Free stores. This will give you easy access to the top destinations and also key Customs info.

If you want to see this duty free information in another language, just click your flag at the top of your search page. If you want to see the Allowances, click the Customs icon above the title.

London Heathrow

Dubai International

Auckland Airport

São Paulo Guarulhos Cumbica

Miami International

Madrid Barajas


Panama Tocumen


Bangkok Suvarnabhumi

We see many searches for brand names on our duty free directory, but we do not really feature individual brands, only travel destinations. It is pointless just searching for a Brand or specific product, because all listings and prices are based on where the Duty Free store is located. You cannot buy goods duty free for delivery to you at home. It is the regulation to buy them at a recognised store and take the goods with you on your journey.

Some stores do offer “home delivery” but these goods will not be tax-free in the official capacity. Such home-delivered goods will be tax-paid goods and discounted for you by the retailer, so to circumvent the Customs regulations. Of course, this doesn’t matter if the price is right.

We recommend that you check prices and products in advance and then make your decision as to how and where you wish to buy.

Here are some more key links to major airport locations….

Hong Kong

Singapore Changi





Rome Leonardo Da Vinci Fiumicino

Punta Cana

Happy travels and make sure you .. Check before you fly!

Internacional: Para buscar tiendas libres de impuestos, catálogos y precios, ingresa tu ciudad o país de destino y haga clic "Go". Cuando encuentre la información de su destino haga clic en el icono rojo de Aduanas para la búsqueda restricciones aduaneros.

Para encontrar lojas duty free e os preços, inserir destino, click e Go! A cota de isenção alfandegária refere-se ao seu país de chegada e não ao país de partida. Os regulamentos alfandegários podem ser encontrados clicando no botão aduaneiro para a esquerda ou procurando seu país de destino. 

Dicas para comprar perfumes, cosméticos e produtos de beleza nos Free Shops

É melhor verificar antecipadamente quando você compra perfumes, cosméticos ou produtos de beleza em suas viagens.

Hoje em dia as a tendência das companhias duty free é de especializar-se em produtos de beleza, fragrâncias e cosméticos. Uma das razoes é que estes produtos são mais fáceis de armazenar e transportar em vôos.

O que eu posso comprar quando chegar ao aeroporto? Há algumas lojas nas áreas de chegadas em todos os aeroportos, onde principalmente perfumes e alguns cosméticos podem ser comprados. Em vista do limitado espaço nas áreas de chegada, a seleção de produtos não é ampla e o atendimento é limitado, em comparação com as das lojas duty free nas aéreas de partida.

Perfumes e Cosméticos se encaixam na categoria de segurança aérea para líquidos? Sim, tenha cuidado com o que você carrega para o aeroporto e para o vôo. Todos estes produtos de beleza são considerados como “líquidos ou gel” e estão limitados a tamanhos máximos (normalmente 100ml ou 100g), quando passar pelos controles de segurança dos aeroportos. Se você comprar no centro da cidade, certifique-se de seus bens estão embalados em sua bagagem de porão, então você não terá problema. Mas, se você viajar com bagagem de mão só você pode ter um problema se as compras estiverem embaladas individualmente em um tamanho maior do que o limite de segurança. Se você comprar em um aeroporto, a partir das lojas francas, suas compras devem ser embaladas em uma sacola especial transparente vedada, conhecida como “Saco STEB”. De um modo geral, estes sacos devem dar-lhe livre trânsito com esses produtos para a maioria dos países. Mas, se você estiver mudando de avião em trânsito em um aeroporto, especialmente nos EUA, você terá um problema. A única resposta verdadeira para isso é tentar embalar seus produtos na bagagem etiquetada de porão de modo a evitar essas dificuldades.

Muchas compañías de bajo costo, han introducido una regla de “una sola maleta” para equipaje de mano y esto puede ser dificultoso si ud. desea ir de compras en el aeropuerto. Algunas líneas aéreas son más rígidas que otras en cuanto a cómo hacen cumplir esta regla de equipaje de mano y la respuesta es asegurarse de planear sus compras con anticipación y siempre y cuando sea posible, pre adquirir los bienes que desee para su llegada.

Compras no Duty Free Shop o que vale a pena?

Compras no Duty Free Shop. Você sabia que há muitos países no mundo onde se pode comprar produtos importados livres de impostos (Free Shopping) após desembarcar no aeroporto de chegada, assim como a bordo durante o vôo ou antes de embarcar no aeroporto de partida?

Para encontrar lojas duty free e os preços, inserir destino, click e Go! A cota de isenção alfandegária refere-se ao seu país de chegada e não ao país de partida. Os regulamentos alfandegários podem ser encontrados clicando no botão aduaneiro para a esquerda ou procurando seu país de destino.

Algumas lojas duty free impõem uma cota de compra quando você parte de um país, porém essas cotas nem sempre tem relevância quanto à cota de isenção do país de chegada. Você deveria sempre conferir os limites para o seu destino antes de comprar os produtos.

A compra de aparelhos de telefonia celular em lojas duty free é um tema complexo. Em primeiro lugar, muito poucas lojas convencionais com isençao de impostos, tais como aquelas em aeroportos, tem uma secção de telefones celulares extensa. Mais importante, a maioria dos celulares em demanda, como iPhones, são vendidos atrelados à um operador de rede local, e isto significa que eles estão bloqueados não são facilmente transferidos para outro país ou rede, e também é provável que você precise de um contrato com um provedor de serviços do país onde comprou o telefone.

Você poderá pesquisar o mundo a partir de seu telefone para as lojas duty free shop em seu destino, em aviões ou lojas de aeroporto. A seção online de isenção de impostos das linhas aéreas neste site mostra empresas do mundo todo e as regras se aplicam à produtos comprados nos vôos. Você também pode usar o site para conferir os códigos de aeroportos e linhas aéreas da IATA ou ICAO. As empresas aéreas estão listadas pelo pais onde tem sua matriz localizada.

Internacional: Para buscar tiendas libres de impuestos, catálogos y precios, ingresa tu ciudad o país de destino y haga clic "Go". Cuando encuentre la información de su destino haga clic en el icono rojo de Aduanas para la búsqueda restricciones aduaneros.

Para encontrar lojas duty free e os preços, inserir destino, click e Go! A cota de isenção alfandegária refere-se ao seu país de chegada e não ao país de partida. Os regulamentos alfandegários podem ser encontrados clicando no botão aduaneiro para a esquerda ou procurando seu país de destino.
búsqueda-pesquisa: celular, celulares fones, movil, cellfone, phones, smartphone, iphone, android, saumsung, apple