/ Money, Travel & Leisure

Airport tax rising – will it stop you flying?

Departure gate sign

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…


Everything is rising with our new Government !…They are the rising star !..for our future generation !….Someone will find out the trick to travel via France,Ireland or Scotland to beat this mad airport tax.This is wonderful topic,hope more people join for their critics.

The airport experience put me off visiting their palaces of pain a long time ago. Surly staff, hopeless schedules, terrible waiting areas persistent delays check ins that loose your ticket so you miss the flight, yes a wonderful package, NOT!
Why would anyone want to suffer that much? At least at the dentist you get a better waiting room and possibly better outcome.
Now the airport tax introduced by the previous government has just been increased to further reduce the value of the airport experience perhaps it is just a VRT, Value Reduction Tax, just like the so called vat, another Value Reduction Tax!

Sophie Gilbert says:
2 November 2010

Airport tax rising won’t stop me flying to visit my parents abroad. The other public transport choices or driving are too impractical unfortunately, and probably not much cheaper anyway.

I fly to the US to visit family. If I can fly via Schiphol for £50 less than flying out of Heathrow or Gatwick I will do that. Come to think about it, given my experiences flying out of Heathrow and Gatwick I may fly via some European airport even if it costs £50 more.

Janice says:
9 October 2011

Some close friends are planning to fly to California in June. They were watching the prices of fares online and in 24 hours the flights increased by £200! How can this happen and when is the best time to buy flights? Are they likely to decrease again yb this amount? Today they have gone down by £20.

carl says:
20 April 2012

very upset and angry! caribbean flights are too expensive! it will cost over one and a half thousand pounds to fly to grenada now, back in 1993 it cost me only480 pounds for two weeks, many uk caribbean family who lost love ones in the caribbean islands, will have to pay well over 3,000 pounds or more!! its fast is becoming a rich man holiday now!! its so wrong and unfair.