Qatar Airways Onboard & Pre-Order Duty Free Shopping
If you are a believer in awards, Qatar Airways’ inflight duty-free shopping offer comes highly recommended. In 2011 the fast-growing Middle Eastern airline won the coveted title of ‘Inflight Retailer of the Year’ at the Frontier Awards, the duty-free industry’s version of The Oscars.
Was this award well deserved? Well, the Dohar-based airline certainly doesn’t short-change its customers with the size of its ‘Shopping Extravaganza’ brochure. The latest edition (No. 31/2013) of the twice-yearly duty-free catalogue contains no fewer than 116 pages brimming with fragrances, watches, skincare, jewellery, toys, electronics and gifts.
Another plus is that Qatar Airways offers passengers a convenient pre-order service. Just make your choice after browsing the online copy of Shopping Extravaganza, which can be downloaded at the airline’s website: www.qatarairways.com. After you’ve done that, mail your order with you flight details to email@example.com at least 72 hours before you fly. Finally, pay for and collect your goods once you have boarded your flight. What could be simpler?
Fragrances are a definite highlight of the Shopping Extravaganza offer. Choose from proven bestsellers such as Chanel’s J’adore as championed by Charlize Theron; the delightfully sensual Elie Saab, and the macho, gold ingot-shaped Paco Rabanne One Million. Alternatively, take your pick from many new launches such as the fresh, floral Bvlgari Mon Jasmin Noir L’Eau Exquise, and the decidedly romantic Mademoiselle Ricci.
Different scents suit different occasions whether it’s a big interview, a fun night out with your friends, or a first date. With that in mind, it is nice to see that a mini collection of Ralph Laren fragrances for women is listed onboard. Priced at $57 (£37.50), the Diverse Big Pony Collection for Women comprises four very different 15ml fragrances: ‘Sporty’, ‘Sensual’, ‘Free-spirited’ and ‘Stylish’.
The make up and cosmetics line up is almost as impressive as the fragrance offer. All the big beauty houses are there whether it’s Dior, Lancôme, Clinique, Givenchy or Estée Lauder. Alongside these heavyweights are some less expensive brands such as Revlon. We particularly like the fun and colourful Lip Smackers Balm Coca Cola Tin, which contains lip balms in six popular soft drink flavours: Coca Cola, Coca Cola Vanilla, Fanta Pineapple, Sprite, Fanta Orange and Fanta Strawberry. Priced at a reasonable $18 (£12), it would make a great gift for a fashion conscious daughter or niece.
When it comes to Qatar Airways’ jewellery offer, the accent is on fashion and colour. The range comprises many mid-priced costume brands, which are available on other airlines such as Toscow, Misaki, Hot Diamonds, Links of London and Folli Follie. Our pick of the selection is the highly decorative (and exclusive) La Vie Parisienne necklace from Fervor ($99/£65). Inspired by the Art Deco movement, it comes with a free pair of earrings.
Inflight duty-free often gives little attention to kids, but Qatar Airways gets credit for offering cute 18-carat gold necklaces from Fervor (priced at $60/£40), and a colourful Just girls watch with 11 interchangeable ribbon straps ($37/£24.50). Little princesses can also play at being mummy with a Kimmi Miniature Perfume Set in which each fragrance is a colourful doll ($42/£28).
Inexplicably, no toys are offered for boys except for a few model aeroplanes. However, a decent range of personal electronics and travel accessories will please young-at-heart Dads. We like the best-selling WorldSim card ($40/£26.50), which will receive calls for free in over 90 countries worldwide. Outbound calls are charged from $0.20 (£0.13) per minute, and the card will work in all unlocked mobile phones, including iPhones.
Why not pick up the basics of the language of the country you’re flying to? That’s the lure of the $82 (£54) Eurotalk USB stick, which claims to be able to teach you the rudiments of one of 10 languages (Arabic, English, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish and Thai) through a mixture of games, quizzes and exercises in a single weekend. The USB stick is compatible both with PC and Mac computers.
Qatar Airways does stock a limited range of liquor. Scotch whisky is represented by the wonderfully smoky Johnnie Walker Double Black ($42/£28) and the refined Glenfiddich 12 Year Old single malt ($41/£27). As for tobacco, it’s exceedingly cheap with prices for 200-stick carton ranging from $14 to $21 (£9-14). Six cigarette brands are available: Marlboro, Winston Lights, Dunhill Lights, Benson & Hedges and Davidoff Lights.
Where could the Shopping Extravaganza brochure do better? A few key product categories such as sunglasses and local souvenirs are not represented at all. The whole publication could also do with some features, competitions and special offers to inject some energy into what is otherwise a solid, if not spectacular, inflight shopping collection.
Great range of fragrances, cosmetics and jewellery with several exclusive lines
Online pre-order service available
Very cheap cigarette prices
Brochure design a little dull with not enough features and special offers
No local gifts/souvenirs