Duty Free, Not What It Used To Be

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Preferred Member
Mar 16, 2019
Jacksonville, FL
I just finished perusing the duty free At SVO (Sherrmtyevo Airport in Moscow). The “tobacco section” is securely locked behind a counter and you have to request access. There is absolutely nothing for pipe smokers. No pipe tobacco whatsoever. They have a small selection of portable packs of cigars and a larger selection of cigarettes. Times have changed. I will give a more complete accounting on the state of pipe smoking in Russia upon my return.


Senior Member
Jul 15, 2018
Chicago, IL, USA
I did a trip to Europe this summer. We flew into/out of airports in Madrid, Spain, Bergen, Norway, Rovaniemi, and Helsinki Finland.

The duty free shops in Madrid and Bergen had 3-5 pipe tobaccos (all MacBaren blends) at honestly pretty reasonable prices. Rovaniemi was too small an airport to have a duty free, and Helsinki didn't have any pipe tobacco.

In Madrid, all the tobacco products were out in the open. In Norway and Finland's airports, they were in a separate room of the duty free store.


Preferred Member
Jul 10, 2018
Las Vegas
I've not seen any pipe tobacco in any of the duty free shops I've been to in the US and Mexico but the cigars and alcohol they have has always been noticably more than I can by it for elsewhere.
Reactions: jpmcwjr


Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
Square footage is expensive, very expensive in terminals. Pipe blends really don't need more than a few inches, if that, of display. Three hundred travelers heading for the plane and probably not a pipe smoker in the bunch. Simply no sense to display product for which there is no or little demand.


Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
I think pipe smoking may be just too small a demographic for duty free shops. People use the shops as a way to unload foreign currency as much as to save on products. Some of the better buys (a while back anyway) were alcohol, but that quickly becomes a bulky and heavy purchase, and the prices ain't always great. In my dreams I encounter well-stocked pipe tobacco counters at the duty free shop, but then I wake up.


Senior Member
Mar 19, 2014
I never stop now. They are all starting to look the same to me, no matter where I pass through. It seems like a handful of companies are getting the contracts and supply the same generic crap worldwide.

Why the hell would I buy a Toblerone bar in Brazil? Or in Germany for that matter? Or in Turkey!? Johnny Walker is in all four corners of the world and the tobacco is predictable cigarette and cigar brands. I'd never buy cigars in one of those shops, with dodgy humidors and inexperienced staff. I've only seen a few tins of pipe tobacco in European airports. Generic brands that are easy to find outside of the airport.

It's not really much in savings. Sometimes it even costs more. It costs more to buy a bottle of whisky or wine in Brazil duty free than if I just pick one off the shelf in my own city before going. They snag people after a 15 hour flight when they're like a zombie trying to get out of the confusing mess of a terminal and rob them.

For some reason, it doesn't seem regional at all. Airports look like giant shopping malls now, with the same brand stores repeated worldwide and maybe 1 or 2 token "local" shops with overpriced junk. It's an absolute scam for people who suddenly decide they need something overpriced and of middle of the road quality at luxury rates. Seriously. Who buys a $2000 macbook at an airport? Apple doesn't give deals anyway. Ever. It's crazy.