By: Stellar Spüfman, Guest Editor   •   email:

Inflight duty-free gets Swift reprieve

Global pop megastar Taylor Swift gives the flagging inflight retail business a huge boost by tweeting about a fantastic lipstick set she just bought on a first class trans-Atlantic flight. ‘Inflight shopping’ immediately starts trending on Twitter and, within weeks, the likes of Qantas and United Airlines announce the reinstatement of their inflight shopping programmes. Yay!

Royal Couple’s Duty Free Secret Revealed

The eyes of the world will be firmly focused on the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle next May. But who would have guessed that the happy couple were secret Duty Free shoppers? On their way to a six-star honeymoon in the Maldives, the newlyweds spend so much time mooching around Dubai Duty Free that they miss their onward flight. A new royal flight is hastily summoned and a quick, in-store photo-op with Dubai Duty Free’s own Colm McLoughlin is arranged, and it’s all smiles around.

Amazon Rules out Duty Free Takeover

Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, calms the nerves of the global Travel Retail business by saying that the e-commerce giant has absolutely no intention of entering the travel arena. Period. ”You know what”, Bezos tells a specially convened press conference (where each of the trade media claim it is their ‘exclusive’), ”I’ve already made a pile of cash and a complicated business like Duty Free just ain’t my gig. Those Duty Free guys are welcome to it. Besides, I’m scared of flying.”

Cannes Hoteliers Show their Appreciation

To mark the 34 years that Duty Free has been coming to Cannes for the TFWA World Exhibition, the hoteliers of the city astonish exhibitors by jointly announcing a one-off 20% discount on room rates for Cannes week! This is to thank the industry for its steadfast commitment to the city for over three decades. (No, we can’t imagine that one either! Ed)

Airport Robots Find their True Calling

Airport robots are becoming commonplace – welcoming shoppers, giving flight information, checking boarding cards and even helping to clean floors. Next year, one Silicon Valley start-up, in conjunction with Heinemann, finally launches a genuinely useful robot – the Q-Buddy. Fed up with queuing for the Duty Free cash desk or for your Flat White at Starbucks? Just use your contactless credit card to hire Q-Buddy to do it for you. Simples!

Keynote Shocker!!

The keynote speaker at next year’s TFWA Asia Pacific Conference in Singapore shocks the audience by actually mentioning Duty Free in their speech rather than reading out a generic speech they’ve used countless times before.

Winter Comes to Belfast

As every Game of Thrones fan knows, 2018 will see the last season of the famous sword-and-sorcery TV series. Northern Ireland’s Belfast Airport and Aelia Duty Free decide to cash in on the fact that many of the show’s scenes are shot in the country by opening a ‘Winter’s Here’ souvenir shop. Within weeks, Night King masks and Daenerys Targaryen wigs are outselling Bushmills Irish whiskey and Butler’s chocolates.

Words and Phrases Consigned to History

Miraculously, the words and phrases ‘terrorist attack’, volcanic ash cloud’, ‘epidemic’, ‘THAAD missile system’, ‘LAGS’, ‘overbid’, Millennial, ‘economic crisis’, ‘robust growth’, ‘stellar passenger slump’, ‘rental dispute’ and ‘disruptor’ never appear in a single news story during 2018.

How many of these New Year wishes will come true in 2018? Well, we’re hoping a sprinkle of magic elf dust and a couple of extra carrots for Rudolf will do the trick for most of them. In the meantime, let us know your hopes and wishes for Duty Free in 2018.

Happy Holidays!!

Peter Marshall

Founder: Arts
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