Travel tips

Air Passenger Duty

Last updated 7th June 2017

In an early Christmas present from the Government, the price of children’s airline tickets will fall from 1 May 2015. Find out what this means for you.

Air tax: the facts

It’s not often we get good news from the Government, but a cheer went up in Family Traveller HQ when we heard George Osborne announce in the Autumn Statement that air tax is to be abolished for under-12s from May 2015, and for under-16s from 2016.

But what does the scrapping of Air Passenger Duty (APD) for kids mean for your family? Family Traveller answers your questions below.

Great news about APD! But how much do I stand to save?

Flight duty ranges from £13 per passenger on short-haul flights, to £97 for the longest journeys. So, if you’re a family of four with two young children travelling to Europe after 1 May 2015, you’ll save £26. If you’re flying to the US next summer, your bill will be slashed by £142.

But Ive already booked a family holiday overseas for next year. Will I get a refund?

Yes! So if you’ve booked to fly to Florida, you’ll be reimbursed to the tune of £71 per child; so long as you’re flying economy – people in posher seats will continue to pay tax for their children’s flights.

Phew. So how do I claim my refund?

If you’ve booked through a tour operator, your final balance won’t be due until a couple of months before you set off, and you’ll see the price reduction in the final invoice. However, if you’ve already booked and paid for flights for under-12s through an airline, you’ll likely have to apply for a refund. Airlines have said they’re in the process of setting up systems to facilitate this. Your airline should contact you when it’s ready to start processing refunds. If you don’t hear from them, don’t be afraid to pester them.

My child is 11 now, but will be 12 when we travel. If I book flights now, will the exemption apply?

What counts is the child’s age on the day of departure from the UK, not how old they are when you book, or when you fly back from a foreign airport.

What about children under 16?

By March 2016, any children aged 12-16 will be exempt from air tax too, and the even better news is that the exemption will apply to children in all classes of travel, rather than just economy – so there’s never been a better time to treat yourselves to an upgrade!

Can I fib about the ages of my children?

Nice try, but no. Personal details including date of birth must be submitted when you book the flights, and any discrepancies will be flagged up at the passport check.

What about incoming flights?

Air tax is charged on all outbound flights from the UK and is calculated using the distance flown. It’s not charged on flights coming into the UK.

What does the future hold for ADP?

Experts predict the tax may soon be cut and eventually scrapped in Scotland, and easyJet has said it hopes the move is the first step towards complete abolition of the tax. We’ll keep you posted..

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Don’t miss our must-read guide to surviving Heathrow Airport with children. Who said flying with kids had to be stressful?