Whether you utilize factors or money to e-book flights, there are all the time further taxes and charges that you’ve got to pay attention to. Sometimes these further prices will be nominal, and different instances they’ll simply make up a big portion of the ticket value.
One instance of the latter is the United Kingdom’s Air Passenger Duty, or APD. The UK APD is a payment imposed on most passengers departing from the United Kingdom by air.
Let’s take a more in-depth have a look at how and when the APD is utilized, the distinction in APD relying on flight size and cabin class, and what measures you possibly can take to keep away from or scale back these hefty further prices.
What Is the UK Air Passenger Duty?
Initially introduced forth in 1994, the United Kingdom’s APD is a payment levied towards aircraft operators for flights that depart from a UK airport. While there are some exceptions, the payment is charged per passenger.
When it started in 1994, the APD was set at £5 ($6.77 CAD) for intra-European flights, and £10 ($13.54 CAD) for long-haul flights. Since then, it has elevated drastically, and has additionally turn out to be extra difficult to grasp.
Ultimately, the APD is handed on to the patron, which means that flights with APD charges are going to be dearer than these with out.
The quantity you’ll must pay is set by two components: the flight’s distance and the class of service you’re flying in. There’s the next payment for longer flights than shorter flights, and the quantity will even differ for those who’re in financial system, premium financial system, enterprise class, or First Class.
The flight distance is calculated by measuring the miles between London and the vacation spot nation’s capital metropolis. The APD payment is presently divided between Band A (0–2,000 miles) and Band B (over 2,000 miles).
You’ll both pay the decreased fee for financial system class flights, or the usual fee for journey in some other class of service.
If you might have a number of flights with a layover of lower than 24 hours for worldwide flights and also you’ll be in several cabin courses –say, financial system class from London Heathrow to New York, after which enterprise class from New York to Toronto – you’ll be charged the usual fee for the entire journey.
Currently, the UK APD charges are as follows:
If you’re flying on a direct flight, it’s slightly simple to calculate your distance so as to decide if you’re in Band A or Band B. You merely search for the flight distance in miles between London and the capital metropolis of your vacation spot nation, maybe by utilizing Great Circle Mapper.
If it’s underneath 2,000 miles, you’ll be in Band A, and if it’s over 2,000 miles, you’ll fall into Band B.
Connecting Flights Departing from the UK
Where issues get extra difficult is you probably have a connecting flight. Even in case your preliminary flight departing from the UK is underneath 2,000 miles, however you might have a layover and proceed to an extra vacation spot that brings your complete distance to over 2,000 miles, you’ll nonetheless fall underneath Band B, and due to this fact be charged the next APD.
For instance, flying from London to Paris has a distance of lower than 2,000 miles, placing you comfortably in Band A. Now, for those who had been to have a layover shorter than 24 hours in Paris and proceed onward to New York, placing you at properly over 2,000 miles, you’d fall underneath Band B.
The result’s that you must pay considerably extra taxes and charges, despite the fact that the long-haul flight is definitely originating from a vacation spot exterior of the UK.
Connecting Flights Through the UK
For worldwide connections by way of the UK, APD is relevant on the entire journey provided that the cease is larger than 24 hours.
So, for those who had been to fly from New York to Paris with a layover in London, you gained’t must pay any APD if that layover is lower than 24 hours. If it’s a stopover of greater than 24 hours, you’ll be topic to APD within the Band A fee.
On the best way again to New York, flying from Paris by way of London, you additionally gained’t be charged APD if the layover is lower than 24 hours; nonetheless, if it’s a cease of greater than 24 hours, then APD is relevant on the Band B fee, because it’s calculated on the space from London to New York.
Upcoming Changes to the UK Air Passenger Duty
Effective April 1, 2023, there might be modifications to the UK APD construction. Instead of two classes, Band A (short-haul), and Band B (long-haul), there might be 4 bands as an alternative.
A home band might be added, which incorporates locations in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The distance for Band A will stay the identical (0–2,000 miles), however Band B modifications to 2,001–5,500 miles, and Band C will apply to something over 5,500 miles.
As a reminder, the space is calculated as being between London and the capital metropolis of the vacation spot nation, slightly than being calculated primarily based on the space between your departure airport and your ultimate vacation spot airport.
Therefore, for those who had been to start a visit within the UK with a vacation spot of Hawaii, even supposing Hawaii is over 7,000 miles from London, you’ll nonetheless fall in Band B. This is as a result of the capital metropolis of the United States is Washington D.C., which is lower than 5,500 miles from London.
The cabin courses will stay the identical, with financial system (the decreased fee) being cheaper than non-economy cabins (the usual fee).
With this in thoughts, the brand new UK APD charges as of April 1, 2023 might be as follows:
Canada and the US will nonetheless fall underneath Band B, so flights originating from the UK to North America will see a rise of £3 ($4.64 CAD) for flights in financial system and £6 ($9.29 CAD) for any cabin larger than financial system.
The change will extra negatively impression these flying from the UK to locations in most of Asia and Oceania, the place the rise is £7 ($10.84 CAD) for financial system and £15 ($23.22 CAD) for some other cabin class.
While these will increase might not appear to be a lot, the UK APD payment is along with carrier-imposed surcharges and different relevant taxes. Note that it’s additionally imposed on bookings made with factors.
Do You Have to Pay UK Air Passenger Duty on Upgrades?
If you pay outright for an improve to the next class of service after reserving your unique seat in financial system class on a flight that’s topic to APD, then you definitely’d must pay further APD in consequence.
However, for those who had been to obtain a free improve from the airline or redeem non-monetary devices for an improve, then you definitely wouldn’t must pay further APD for that improve.
Therefore, you probably have Aeroplan Elite Status with Air Canada and entry to eUpgrades, you possibly can avert the pricier APD of a enterprise class fare by reserving an Economy (Latitude) fare.
Using eUpgrades, you possibly can immediately affirm a seat in enterprise class (topic to eUpgrade availability), whereas not incurring any further taxes or charges.
Exemptions from the UK Air Passenger Duty
Children underneath 16 as of the date of the flight are exempt from paying APD, however provided that they’re flying in financial system.
Children underneath two are exempt from paying APD throughout all cabin courses, so long as they don’t have their very own seat. If they do have their very own seat, then they’ll solely be exempt from paying APD in the event that they’re within the financial system class.
If your departing flight is from the Scottish Highlands and surrounding islands, you’ll be exempt from paying the APD. This is even the case for those who’re connecting by way of an airport in one other area of the UK.
Similarly, for those who’re departing from Northern Ireland, you gained’t must pay any APD you probably have a direct flight to a vacation spot that falls exterior of Band A (presently flights over 2,000 miles).
This has little or no real-life implications, although, as there’s solely truly one route that will be relevant: Belfast to Paphos, Cyprus.
If Northern Ireland ever has a direct flight throughout the Atlantic, then this could possibly be an choice to keep away from paying APD. Note that the flight must be direct, so a flight leaving Northern Ireland with a layover in London wouldn’t be eligible for the exemption.
There are different exemptions associated to travellers finishing up sure duties, flying for statutory obligations, and other specific circumstances.
Tips & Tricks to Avoid Paying UK Air Passenger Duty
The APD will be fairly expensive you probably have any upcoming journeys that contain the UK. The excellent news is that there are some methods you possibly can scale back and, in some circumstances, keep away from APD altogether, with out having to utterly keep away from the UK.
First off, for those who’re flying out of the UK, then APD can’t truly be averted, however can nonetheless be considerably decreased. If you’re in London, then one strategy to scale back your APD fee is to originate your worldwide journey from Inverness within the Scottish Highlands as an alternative of from London.
The 90-minute positioning flight from London to Inverness would nonetheless incur APD; nonetheless, these one-way flights can be found for round $40 (CAD) all-in.
So, as an alternative of paying the additional APD of $130.03 for financial system or $286.38 for a non-economy fare, you’d solely must pay $40 further for the flight to Inverness, and also you’d be capable to discover the attractive Scottish Highlands.
Note that your flight from Inverness to your ultimate vacation spot must be on the identical ticket. If you fly from Inverness to London after which onwards on a separate ticket, then you definitely’ll nonetheless must pay APD, even when your layover in London is lower than 24 hours.
Similarly, you possibly can reposition your self elsewhere in Europe with a less expensive flight from London – say, by redeeming 4,000 Avios for a short-haul British Airways flight – earlier than persevering with your journey onwards.
Instead of flying, an alternative choice is to take the practice from London to Paris, by way of the Channel Tunnel. Despite the space, a practice from London to Paris is just 2.5 hours, and may price lower than a flight from London to Paris, which might incur APD prices.
From there, you possibly can fly from Paris to your ultimate vacation spot, and keep away from the UK APD altogether.
If you might have a global connection within the UK, be sure that it’s lower than 24 hours to keep away from the APD. London generally is a great spot to go to on a protracted layover, however the distinction between a 19-hour layover and a 27-hour stopover will be fairly expensive.
Lastly, despite the fact that you pay APD on the time of reserving, it’s not payable for those who don’t truly fly. So, with that in thoughts, within the occasion that you just’re unable to make your flight, however you’re exterior of the cancellation window, you should still be capable to get a refund on the APD you paid.
Note that you just’d must contact your airline to inquire concerning the APD refund, and you might have to pay further administrative charges.
The Air Passenger Duty is a expensive surcharge that may make flights to and from the UK fairly costly, particularly for those who had been hoping to attain a less expensive flight by redeeming factors.
Fortunately, there are methods to scale back and even keep away from the APD, with out having to scrap the UK out of your journey plans altogether.
Long layovers, positioning flights, or redeeming eUpgrades for Air Canada enterprise class are all nice methods to just be sure you’re getting essentially the most for the least in your subsequent journey throughout the pond.