If you have a family, you know how pricey it can be to take everyone away together. That’s why the announcement that Air Passenger Duty was to be scrapped for children under 12 is likely to have come as music to your ears. With the tax also set to be scrapped for under-16s from March 1st, here’s what these new rules could mean for you.
What is Air Passenger Duty?
Before we take you through what these changes are, let’s first make sure you know exactly what Air Passenger Duty (APD) is. APD is a tax placed on each passenger that boards a flight at a UK airport. Since it was brought in, the tax has typically been a “one-size-fits-all” charge with infants over the age of two and children paying the same tax as adults on flights.
As of April 2016, the rate of APD for travelling on short-haul flights is £13 or £73 for trips that cover more than 2,000 miles. These prices only apply to economy-class tickets, as APD can be higher for other forms of travel.
In the 2014 Autumn Statement, it was announced that all children would now be exempt from paying APD. From May 1st 2015, children under the age of 12 no longer had to pay this tax when travelling in economy, and this is now set to be extended to under-16s from March 2016. Children under the age of 2 without their own seat continue to be exempted from this tax when travelling in all classes.
This rule is based on the child’s age on the day of departure from the UK, not the age that they are when booking the flights or when flying back home. The age of the child will be confirmed at check-in or the departure gate when passport checks are carried out.
From the dates stated, the reduction in price should automatically apply. So if a short-haul flight for an adult is priced at £150, it should decrease to £137 for all children under-16 from March. The same goes for a long-haul economy trip costing £900 return for adults, this should be on sale for just £827 after April, (or £829 if you’re flying before April).
What if I’ve already booked a family holiday?
If you’ve already booked your family holiday for this year, then you could have a right to reclaim APD depending on your circumstances. If your flights were booked after 1st May last year, then the airline should have automatically reduced their prices by then – the same should be done for this March.
Don’t worry if your flights were booked before the first stage of these proposed plans were brought in (before April last year) –you should be still able to reclaim for APD you’ve already paid for a child under 12 or 16.
When it comes to getting a refund, the airline may contact you or you may have to go online and claim back the tax through their website. Be aware though that you may have to provide proof of your child’s age (e.g. a copy of their passport) in order to do so. If in doubt, get in touch with the airline or agency that you booked with.