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Wed 26 Aug 2015 10:25 AM

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Dubai stands firm over UK boarding pass row

Airport passengers are only asked to show boarding passes “a few times a year”, it has been claimed

Dubai stands firm over UK boarding pass row
Image for illustrative purpose only (Getty Images)

Dubai Duty Free has sought to reassure airport passengers in the wake of a row over boarding passes in the UK.

The Independent revealed this month that the longstanding practice of asking passengers to show their boarding passes when purchasing goods at airports is actually to help stores avoid paying value added tax (VAT) – without passing on the discount to customers.

It prompted a backlash among UK consumers, who have reportedly begun refusing to show their boarding passes at airports in protest.

Passengers passing through airports in the UAE are also typically asked to show their boarding passes when purchasing goods – and Hassan Elhais, a legal consultant for UAE-based law firm Al Rowaad, told Al Arabiya News that if the passenger refuses to do so, “the seller has the right to refuse completing the sales and purchase process”.

However, a spokeswoman for Dubai Duty Free told Arabian Business that airport passengers are only asked to show their boarding passes “a few times a year”.

She sought to reassure consumers that this is never for tax purposes, only for market research.

The spokeswoman said: “Firstly, Dubai Duty Free does not differentiate between our customers based on destination of travel, all of our customers are charged free of taxation, regardless of their final destination.

“The only times that we do request boarding passes is so that we can undertake boarding card analysis which help us to us monitor retail trends.

“This happens a few times a year for limited periods only and enables us to ensure that we meet customer demands for products across specific terminals.”

Hisham Eltahan, another consultant at Al Rowaad told Al Arabiya that security may be an additional reason. “There are no restrictions in the law on the airport authority to take the necessary procedures for security purposes,” he said.

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