United States USA
SEA | Seattle Tacoma SEA-TAC Airport
Duty Free on arrival is not permitted when arriving in the United States of America, only departure duty free shopping is allowed.
If you want to shop and fly you should also be aware that two major US Carriers, Delta and American Airlines, no longer sell any duty free goods on board, they terminated this practice last year.
So, on your travels to the US, make sure you buy at your departure airport store.
For your return from the USA, you can buy in the departure terminal if you are travelling on an international flight, all major gateway airports have stores. But, in the USA your purchases will be delivered to you at the gate when you board your aircraft and not in the store.
Another important advice is if your outbound airport uses the system known as “pre-clearance” for US Customs and Immigration. This procedure operates from some airports in Canada, Abu Dhabi and Ireland and will soon be extended to other airports around the world.
When you clear Customs for the USA at your outbound airport, your flight to the USA is then classified as a US Domestic and not as an International flight, because you have already cleared Customs and technically entered the USA before departure.
This means that you cannot buy Duty Free goods, such as Liquors or Tobaccos, in the departure lounge, nor can you buy these products on your flight to the US.
Some countries like Canada and Japan are studying the introduction of arrival duty free shopping as it will bring new revenues to airports and also avoid the confusion encountered by travellers with the transit of liquids on aircraft.
Already, Bermuda, Jamaica and Grenada have introduced arrivals shops in the baggage claim areas of their airport terminals, the terminal arrival shops in the main Swiss airports are now open. Convenience and Food Operators like Spar, 7-Eleven and Hudson have shops in the arrivals area.
Airport retailers are now introducing online pre-order duty free shopping, you can pre-order goods from your tablet or iPhone, before you travel, for collection on departure. Miami and other airports now have an online order system in place called Duty Free Express. As and when more airports introduce pre-order or shop and collect systems, we will place a link on the corresponding page so you can find products and prices and order your goods, pre-travel.
Many airports in this country operate what is known as a Gate-Delivery system for duty free purchases. This means that you can enter a shop in the terminal when you depart, but the goods you buy are delivered to you at the boarding gate. This system is operated for customs reasons as some departure areas in the terminal have both domestic and international passengers. Duty Free sales are only permitted for international journeys.
Some airline and airport retailers are yet to publish their online duty free prices and catalogues, others have now started incorporating online pre-order facilities.
We will publish the details for this airport as soon as they are available and where relevant to this airport, publish the airline in-flight price list, enabling you to make a comparison of the available products and prices.