Flying from Lanzarote AENA has confirmed to the Gazette that World Duty Free Group´s policy also applies in Spain. However, the lower VAT rates in the Canaries mean that shops here gain little from the boarding pass policy. You´ll almost always find cheaper products outside the airport on Lanzarote, but passengers should remember that liquids must be well packed in hold luggage and that, as the Canaries are considered to be outside the EU, duty limits apply. These mean you must declare and pay duty on more than 1 litre of spirits, 4 litres of wine, 200 cigarettes and gifts worth more than €390.
The response On August 11th, Boots, Dixons and WH Smith announced that they were changing their policy on boarding passes, and would “remind” shop assistants that producing boarding passes was not compulsory. However, the World Duty Free Group, which operates airport shops throughout Europe, has stated that production of a boarding pass is “a legal requirement specified by HMRC” and has refused to serve customers who withhold their pass. This policy clearly contradicts the above statement by HMRC as well as the policy adopted by
The future? Smiths and Boots. And none of the shops have addressed the fact that Canarian passengers are still being ripped off. As a possible solution, many have suggested a dual-pricing system that would immediately deduct the VAT at the point of sale to purchasers travelling outside the EU VAT zone. WH Smith responded that it would be “difficult to implement” a till system that would identify and offer appropriate discounts to customers flying outside the EU. However, this doesn´t seem to be a problem for UK food retailers that offer different prices for eating in or takeaways.
The boarding pass situation is clearly unsatisfactory, with certain shops continuing to demand documents while others will not do so. However, no shop has shown any willingness to address the basic injustice suffered by Canarian and other non-EU passengers. The Gazette will keep you updated on further developments. In the meantime, passengers may still find that they are asked to present boarding passes at shops. It´s up to you to comply or not, but surely asking a few questions will only hasten a solution to this problem.
The Gazette | September 2015 | 13