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Spending £1 coins at Heathrow

I recall reading that the £1 coins are being withdrawn from circulation and will not be accepted after a certain date. Will they still be good in September? We will be flying through Heathrow (not stopping in the U.K. onthis trip) and it occurred to me I could spent them at the airport, maybe in the duty-free shop. My husband would appreciate a bottle of gin.

Since I have not shopped in the duty-free area before, can someone explain how it works? I have the impression they seal the purchase in a bag and then deliver it to the plane---is that correct? I know we cannot open it on the plane-don't worry.

Posted by
533 posts

The old £1 coins are being withdrawn on October 15th, so you should still be able to use yours in September. I can't help you on the duty-free shops - but there's no shortage of places to spend your money at Heathrow.

Posted by
20597 posts

Once behind security in the duty free areas, that is the general (some variations) procedure. Not sure why you couldn't open it on the plane other than airlines prohibit the consumption of spirits other than what is provided by the airline. The bigger problem is what happens when you hit the US. If you are terminating in the US at the first airport, you are fine. Just carry it off. But, if connecting then the bottle has to go into your check luggage with the associated risk of breakage.

Posted by
11677 posts

Thanks. This will actually be on a flight FROM the US, heading to Munich. I found the Heathrow duty-free shop online and after looking at gin prices I think we will just find a bottle of wine.

Posted by
8889 posts

I have the impression they seal the purchase in a bag and then deliver it to the plane---is that correct?

Lola, not true. You just carry it, like a normal shop.
But, there is no Duty-Free between EU countries, because the EU is a Customs Union. They check your boarding card, and will not sell you Duty Free if you are travelling within the EU. Munich is no good. Going the other way (Munich-London-USA) you could buy duty free.

There are plenty of other shops which charge taxes you can spend your pounds in.

You will be just in time, the old £1 coins expire in October: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-4078230/Round-pound-coins-cease-legal-tender-October.html

Posted by
11677 posts

Thanks, Chris. I am not seeking to avoid taxes, just want to purchase a bottle of wine with my ££ with assurance I can take it on the plane (unopened) to Munich.

So it is no different than any other bottled liquid I might purchase after security, like a bottle of water?

Posted by
8889 posts

So it is no different than any other bottled liquid I might purchase after security, like a bottle of water?

Correct, buy a bottle of water and some Fridge magnets with scenes of London with your £1 coins (how many have you got?)
Wine in Germany is cheaper than in the UK.

Posted by
23393 posts

To follow up - I was watching a show on the squawk box a week or so ago and it focussed on price differences at Heathrow. They specifically called out that the cheap prices are based on travel outside the EU, and how angry people were when they saw the price they were charged for "duty free" within the EU. It was even higher than base price plus duty.

Just a word to the wise, Lola. Gute Reise!

Posted by
11677 posts

I have 17 of them, along with some £10 bills. (I gave my £5 notes to a friend's two children for their London last summer, before they became obsolete). I guess I could exchange them for euros at the airport, but don't the exchange places give a bad rate? Or I could put them in the FlyingStart envelope on board the plane ( BA children's charity) as I do with the rest my leftover coins. I'll see what my husband wants to do.

Refrigerator magnets are a no-go as our new fridge does not have a magnetic cabinet. The stainless steel outer covering must be woefully thin.

Posted by
3224 posts

Coins are not exchangeable. Only paper money. So spend them.

Posted by
4468 posts

Alcohol is generally dual-priced at Heathrow. Spirit duty in the UK is £27.66 per litre of 100% alcohol which is roughly £11 on a litre of a standard strength gin - much too expensive for a shop to 'eat' on intra-EU purchases, without even considering the 20% VAT as well.

Posted by
4438 posts

You don't have to spend them at the duty free. There are plenty of shops in the airport terminal. Buy a book or a magazine. Buy some toiletries. Buy a water and some snacks. I am sure you can find something you could use for 17 GBP.

Posted by
11677 posts

Thank you for all the suggestions. We won't need to buy water or snacks as we are flying Business Class and both are provided in the lounge.

Books and magazines are heavy and not something I want to carry the rest of our trip. I don't use cosmetics and will have my own toiletries (shampoo, toothpaste etc.) so no need to buy more. My husband likes the shaving cream or soap at Boots but that is only £3.

I really think that a bottle of wine is the most practical thing for us, and it doesn't have to be duty-free---we are content to pay regular retail tax-included price. Even if it costs more than it would in Germany, that is better than throwing the money away on something we don't want. The reason I mentioned duty-free is that somehow I thought the duty-free shop is the only place that sells wine, But perhaps that is incorrect?

Posted by
11677 posts

OK! I found more information, and the World Duty Free webpage showing wines they have for sale. They clearly state that unlike some spirits, which are only available to international travelers, wines can be purchased by intra-EU travelers.

http://lhrt5.worlddutyfree.com/lhrt5_en/wines-port/white.html

http://lhrt5.worlddutyfree.com/lhrt5_en/duty-free-shopping

The prices look OK, but I wonder if these are "blue sticker" or "green sticker" prices? Or maybe for wine there is no difference? We like New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and they are particularly well-priced. For example, the highly-regarded Marlborough Cloudy Bay at £18.49 is cheaper than it is here in the US (usually around $28-30) and also cheaper than the Tesco price of £21. But that is more than we like to pay for white wine and we will look at others.