Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Airport boarding pass scandal - yet another bogus case of 'sorry sir, security...'

What's the most irritating thing you come across at British airports? Is it the ever-tightening security checks? Is it the fondness for having more space devoted to retail space than seats? Or is it being called to the gate an hour ahead of departure, only to be herded into a cramped, airless room with no toilets and a broken vending machine?

I could go on. But I probably don't need to, given that for the last 24 hours, there has been only one hot topic on the subject of airport gripes. I refer, of course, to the revelations about why airport shops demand to see your boarding pass, just when you've tucked it away in a bag or pocket so not to lose it.

The official reason, as anyone who's ever asked may know, is that shops in duty-free zones need the info on the boarding pass to claim back VAT refunds. But as has now been revealed, many shops do not actually pass this 20 per cent saving on to customer through reduced prices. In other words, the inconvenience they put you to is benefiting them, not you.

 This is clearly something of a scandal, and as we report, ministers have now ordered offending airport retailers to trim their prices accordingly. But as a frequent air traveller myself due to my job on the Telegraph's foreign desk, what grates here is not just the sense of being ripped off, but the way airport retailers have deployed the blanket clause of "security" to practise this financial sleight of hand. Full story...

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