From today you’ll be paying more airport tax on any flight you take. So how much will your wallet be affected by these changes – and are you willing to swallow the extra cost?
If you believe the stories in the press, today (1 November, 2010) is one of the blackest days in history.
Why? Today is the day that Air Passenger Duty (APD) – the tax put on travellers flying out of the UK – is increased.
How are airport taxes changing?
- Taxes are being increased by up to 55% year-on-year if you’re flying over 6,000 miles
- People flying to Europe in economy class will now pay £12 per person in tax (up from £11)
- Those travelling to the US or Egypt will have to pay £60
- Airport tax to the Caribbean will now be £75
- Long haul flights to Australia or New Zealand will incur £85 per person
- Those travelling in business class will pay double these amounts
The charge, originally mooted as an environmental tax to offset the cost of carbon emissions from aircraft, now just goes straight into HM Revenue & Custom’s coffers. No real wonder when the Treasury expects the tax to raise £3.8b by 2015.
Regardless of where the money goes and the reason for it, however, people taking a flight will have no choice but to pay it.
That’s all very well, but what happens when, for some reason, you don’t take your flight? We researched this issue last year and found that passengers who try to claim back APD on unused flights were being hit by admin charges of up to four times the value of the tax.
If you book but don’t take your flight you’re entitled to reclaim APD, but many major airlines charge an admin fee which costs more than the tax itself. Yes – that means you’re worse off if you make a claim.
How will you be holidaying?
But will extra APD costs and difficulties in claiming back actually stop us flying? Since the vast majority of us holiday in Europe and will only be faced with an increase of £1 in tax per person, it’s unlikely to have much affect on short-haul destinations.
Still, the airlines are arguing that these increases are unaffordable. Will the increase change the way you take your holidays? Maybe instead of gathering brochures for Spain, Turkey or Greece, we’ll all be taking another look at those for Norfolk, Pembrokeshire or Yorkshire…