Bristol Airport passengers told to return duty-free purchases after cancelled flights

Many flights were delayed or cancelled over the half term holiday and Jubilee weekend periods. Credit: ITV

Passengers travelling from Bristol Airport who had their flights cancelled were told to return any duty-free items they bought while waiting in the lounge.

One person said a "chorus of laughter" erupted after the announcement.

Since the recent half term break and jubilee bank holiday weekend, hundreds of flights have been delayed and cancelled from airports and airlines across the country, including in Bristol.

Bristol Airport experienced the delays particularly badly, with queues snaking outside the terminal building and inside at check in and security desks.

One unknown consequence for these disappointed passengers who had to abandon their holiday plans due to flight cancellations was not being able to keep duty free purchases from the airport.

A spokesperson for said: "Returning duty-free is normal procedure for a cancelled flight. Customers can purchase duty-free (and receive the duty-free discounted prices) [but] this allowance is only eligible for customers who are departing from the UK.

"When flights are cancelled, the customer is not leaving the UK, so it is a customs requirement that all duty-free purchases are returned, and a full refund provided. This is an HM Customs requirement."

Despite the legal requirement of returning the purchases, the announcement to already disgruntled passengers at check-in desks sparked humour and outrage.

Bristol resident Aaliyah Miller - who had a flight cancelled from Bristol Airport to Lisbon last month - said: "I was told 10 minutes before boarding that my flight was cancelled.

"As if that wasn't bad enough, being asked to return duty-free purchases was certainly salt in the wound.

"I think the entire room was in disbelief, and a chorus of laughter literally erupted when they made the duty-free announcement."