Saturday, June 9, 2012

Malaga Airport's response to the crisis? Jack up prices

I find Malaga Airport a somewhat irritating and depressing place.  Very big, new and modern it may be but it's hard to escape the feeling of being a captive market for the shops and restaurants that, almost without exception, charge eye-wateringly high prices.

Obviously I am not naive enough to expect airport prices anywhere to be low or comparable with those in the real world.  But Malaga Airport takes the art of fleecing innocent travellers to a new level.

When you land at the airport and come out of the arrivals hall there is a duty free shop which has a refrigerated beer display unit selling San Miguel.  As I often arrive late and enjoy a beer after a long journey, I   could be considered part of the target market for the beer selling tactic but I have always been put off by the price - €9 for 6 small cans, about 350% more than the same beer would cost at the supermarket.

It's the same all over the airport with sandwiches, drinks and snacks at the top end of the range and too rich for my blood.  The prices in the London Airports are at or just above normal high street prices but the Malaga Airport prices are so high it smacks of an attempt to fleece foreigners.

Even cigarettes in the Duty Free shop, an area which is supposed to offer travellers a chance for a bargain, are about 15% more than the normal "estanco" prices.  There is actually an estanco just opposite the terminal entrance which sells cartons of cigarettes at normal, not airport rip off, prices.

As for the shops selling souvenirs, fashion items and electrical goods, they are a joke.  They are so expensive that you rarely see them doing any business.  Even the fast food outlets like Pizza Express and Burger King are expensive - I quite often see holiday-makers pulling faces when they see the prices on the boards.

In these times of grave economic and financial crisis for Spain (see Spain's Fred Goodwin has sunk his country's credibility) you might have thought that there would be plenty of deals available, cut-throat competition and desperate bids by retailers to get the punters buying.  But in the airport and beyond I don't see much different - the restaurants in tourist areas are actually quite expensive and the retailers seem pretty much the same complacent bunch as ever.

As for the beer in the arrivals hall - I noticed on my latest trip that they had at last done something about the prices . . . put them up.  Now €9,60 for six small beers.  Cheers!

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  1. Well observed. We notice here as well on the North coast that in times of trouble they hike up the prices - the mentality of fewer sales so... put up prices - seems to be par for the course. Tourist numbers are down dramatically with fewer people visiting during the week - so what do they do? put up the prices on a weekend - menu of the day goes up, petrol increases, markets charge more - a strange way of encouraging business.

  2. Have to agree with this example of Rip Off, but not just Spanish airports because those in the UK are really no better..
    I saw a bottle of Soberano advertised as a special offer at €11 when I had paid just under €8 in the shop across from my hotel.
    Yes these shops, usually international brands, have to pay much more for their place at the airport than they would across the street landside, which is where the rip-off starts.
    Their marketing people should know that volume will increase as prices fall. Increasing a price to make it expensive doesnt work, especially when they are being promoted as being Without Duty.

    1. Hi Totally agree came back from Malaga a couple of weeks ago from a cruise. Could not but the cigarettes on board as not the right brand. Left it until Malaga Airport and I can understand why they are in a mess UK Airport £70 for 400 B&H yet Malaga 104 euros. Also aftershave and Perfume silly prices.


  3. Just come back from Costa Del Sol and was planning to but cigs (as presents!!). Asked in the Tabacs if prices were same at the airport as it would be easier to bring them back in hand luggage. Tabac staff said they were more expensive at airport but a helpful Scot told me that Spanish law required them to be the same price and that they were actually the same price. Maybe he was just having a joke at an Englishman's expense. 40 Euros in Tabacs, 50 at airport. You're right - the airport are taking total advantage of tourists. Portugal from now on where the airport prices ARE the same.


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