Some airports will carry your duty-free after gate check like in the US, but some won't and just give it to you right at purchase

However, there are some articles that are quite sizable due to how they're packed (like a cardboard box around the item), with no chance of being packed into existing luggage or even the possibility that the existing cabin luggage is full.

What are the airlines stance on duty-free purchases contributing to cabin luggage allowance when not able to pack such purchases in existing luggage?

  • I suggest that 'duty free' is one thing and 'cabin luggage' quite another. While they clearly might overlap, that's as close as they get. By weight or size, 'bought duty-free' counts as cabin luggage. Sep 16, 2022 at 22:20

2 Answers 2


It varies per airline and might change over time. Keeping some kind of updated list here will be impossible so I will just give two examples to prove it.


Please note that any items you purchase at the airport, including tax-free products, are counted as part of your carry-on baggage allowance.


In addition you can bring duty-free bags and airport purchases in the cabin along with your cabin baggage.

  • 10
    These differences come about due to the conflict of interest between the airline and the airport including the shops in it. The airline wants to count everything you bring into the cabin as carry-on because they need to fit it into the cabin. The airport wants to entice people to shop there and not counting duty-free as part of carry-on is an extra perk that makes this more attractive. What kind of deal they negotiate depends on the airport and the airline.
    – quarague
    Sep 15, 2022 at 8:53
  • 3
    And sometimes the airline and airport give flat out contradictory advice bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1wspyn3VZQB4mw2d4C2P2kl/… Sep 15, 2022 at 9:44
  • "In addition you can bring duty-free bags and airport purchases in the cabin along with your cabin baggage." This does NOT actually say it will be counted as extra vs as part of. You can bring it. With your cabin baggage. If your cabin baggage was already at maximum, they won't treat it differently than if you'd simply been over maximum from the start.
    – Mast
    Sep 17, 2022 at 10:14

Even though many airlines are relatively lenient when it comes to enforcement of hand luggage limitations, there are usually no exemptions for items bought duty free.

Anything else would have been pretty odd. The restrictions are in place, simply because there is limited room for luggage in the flight cabin and the flight cabin does not get more room for luggage just because some of it is bought in a tax free shop.

  • Of course you can typically buy duty free goods while in-flight. However the stuff you buy in a plane has already been accounted for by the aircrew, whereas your cabin luggage has not.
    – Peter M
    Sep 14, 2022 at 13:12
  • @PeterM You can? Where? Sep 14, 2022 at 21:01
  • 2
    @AzorAhai-him- Most of the transatlantic flights I’ve been on have had such options, albeit with a limited selection of items, usually via either a catalog in the seat-back pocket or a menu in the in-flight entertainment system. Sep 14, 2022 at 23:06
  • 1
    And not just transatlantic. My last flight between UK and Germany had it on offer, with flight attendance simply pushing the cart with goods along the isle. There was a catalogue in the backseat pocket too.
    – Aleks G
    Sep 15, 2022 at 6:25
  • 2
    I would say the opposite - normally there are exemptions for duty free in my experience.
    – deep64blue
    Sep 15, 2022 at 21:06

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