No good news for air travellers in this week’s budget; the planned Air Passenger Duty (APD) hike will go ahead.
This will make long-haul flights £2 more expensive when flying economy and £5 more expensive for every other travel class from 1 April. The charge for short-haul (Band A) flights (less than 2,000 miles) will remain the same at £13 per passenger.
The APD is levied on all flights departing from the UK and can add up to £188 to the price of your ticket when travelling 6,000 miles or more in premium economy, business or first. We’ve taken a look at how the tax works to save you money:
- Distance will cost you
The biggest increase in APD is for Band A (flights of 2,000 miles or less) and Band B (from 2,000 to 4,000 miles), where the price goes up from £13 to £67 per passenger in economy, and from £26 to £134 for premium economy, business and first. Fly to Spain, Greece, Portugal or Italy, and the APD will be £13. Holiday to Egypt or Dubai and it will be £67.
- Be clever with the bands
The bands are calculated from London to the capital city of the country you are visiting -- not your destination airport. As a result, whilst two holidaymakers, one in Miami the other in Cuba, may be less than 200 miles apart, the former will have paid £67 APD (London to Washington, DC, 3,670 miles), and the latter £83 (Havana is 4,660 miles from London).
- If you want to upgrade, do it on the way back
Whether you’re travelling premium economy, business or first, the APD is the same: double the economy rate. As we mentioned above, the tax is levied on flights out of the UK, so treating yourself to a bigger seat could be up to £94 cheaper when flying back to the UK.
- Be flexible
This might not help you lower the APD, but flight prices can vary greatly depending on your travel dates -- look around for the best fares. We also recommend avoiding flying Friday-Sunday as most scheduled airlines will add a premium on these days. If you travel to the US, make sure your stay includes a Saturday (you don’t have to fly on the Saturday, just be in the country on that day) to avoid high fares.
Finally, visit websites like our very own Fly.com to find the best prices.