Mirror Travel Editor Nigel Thompson says: "Duty-frees used to be grim.
If you're heading off on a low-cost break this summer, you don't want to blow your holiday cash on duff duty-free deals.
We made a flying visit to popular UK airports to find the best savings - and we were surprised to find duty-free beating the high street on many products.
Britain, Ireland, Germany and France were the only member states to call on the European Commission to launch a new inquiry - seven years after ministers decided unanimously that duty-frees must end.
Coincidentally, Germany will be the EU presidency between January and the end of June, when duty-frees disappear, and Finance Minister Mr Oskar Lafontaine vowed tonight to keep the issue on the agenda.
Hopes of a reprieve for duty-free shopping were dashed in Brussels last night.
Britain, Ireland, Germany and France were the only states to back the call - seven years after ministers decided unanimously that duty-frees must end.
Fewer than half the EU's finance ministers supported demands for a fresh report into the implications of ending duty-free on cross-border EU plane and boat trips from next July.
A new campaign to save duty-frees was launched by Birds of a Feather star Lesley Joseph.
Duty-free shopping is a key feature of world travel and has shown phenomenal growth in the last 40 years.
Time is starting to run out for the millions of us who stock up on duty-free Euro bargains on the ferries and planes.
The Duty-Free Confederation has already begun its campaign to overturn this decision, by lobbying local MPs and Euro-MPs who will in turn be making the strongest represent-ations in Brussels about the decision.