Passengers warned over big flight tax risesAir passenger duty to increase from 1 November

29 October 2010

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Some passengers will see the cost of air travel soar from Monday 1 November, when new Air Passenger Duty (APD) rates come into effect.

APD applies to all flight routes out of the UK, and under the new rules passengers will fall into one of four different tax bands depending on how far they will be flying. Those taking long-haul flights will be hit hardest, and may see the cost of their flight tax hiked by as much as 50%.

Ensure APD is included in flight prices

The introduction of the new APD bands and rates has stirred controversy in the travel industry, raising concerns that it will prevent some families from taking foreign holidays – particularly to far-flung destinations. APD applies to all passengers including children over the age of two, so large parties of travellers will face the biggest combined price increases.

Holidaymakers are being urged to ensure that the price they are quoted for any flight is inclusive of APD before they buy. Many travel deals advertise prices exclusive of tax, so passengers could find that apparently cheap flights rocket in cost once APD is taken into consideration.

New air passenger duty rules

There has also been criticism of how different flight destinations have been categorised for APC.

Because a country’s APC band is worked out based on how far its capital city is from London, there will be anomalies in the system – as in the case of large countries such as the United States.

Flights to the USA, whose capital is Washington D.C., fall into Band B under the APD rules, whereas Cuba – which is much closer to the UK than parts of the USA such as Hawaii – falls into the more expensive Band C.

APD on economy, premium, business and first class flights

Each APD band encompasses two different rates of flight tax – one for economy (or ‘lowest’) class passengers, and one for ‘others’ - premium, business and first class passengers. Airlines’ ‘other’ class passengers will face the sharpest flight tax increases, though anyone upgraded to premium, business or first class from an economy seat will not have to pay extra.

You can find out more about the changes to air passenger duty by downloading this HM Revenue and Customs PDF. Meanwhile, for more money-saving travel tips, stay on we have useful guides on everything from finding the best-value travel money to finding top travel insurance deal.

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