Got this email this morning… I reproduce it as sent.
I don’t have your direct e-mail address, so I’m writing via the general office one.
Future editions of Bucharest IYP should warn unwary travellers departing from Otopeni/Henri Coanda Airport that there is no Duty Free Shopping at the airport.
After passing immigration & customs, in the departure hall where you would normally find Duty Free shopping in any other international airport on the planet, the shops are infact full price – and more. The prices in the wine shop for example (a commodity I know well), are infact double those in even good wine shops in Bucharest, such as Vin Expert Unirea, not to mention the cheaper hypermarkets. There can be no justification for this, it’s outright profiteering, taking advantage of an uninformed captive market.
I’ve not checked out in detail the other traditional duty free purchases – spirits, cigarettes, perfume, etc, but for sure they are not any cheaper than outside the airport.
Furthermore, all purchases, except for newspapers & magazines, must be made in EURO not RON – so any visitor hoping to use up their unspent local currency will be disappointed. I thought this practice was confined to a declining handful of regimes desperate for hard currency – Cuba, North Korea, etc, certainly not a member of the EU.
The airport website acknowledges blandly that ‘according to the Romanian legislation in force’ the shops in the departure hall sell ‘duty paid products’. However, it is a scandal and a final rip-off to departing visitors – which your readers should be aware of.