The U.K. Piles on the Airfare Taxes

In spring, the U.K. will again increase its unpopular Air Passenger Duty on departing flights.

Effective April 1, the U.K. will again increase its unpopular Air Passenger Duty, or ADP, on departing flights. The tax on flights to the U.S. or Canada will increase from £67 to £69 (about $113) in economy class; travelers in any higher classes, including premium economy, pay double. The tax applies to all departures from U.K. airports other than Belfast, and it applies even to frequent-flyer award tickets. Similar increases apply to most other long-haul flights, but APD on domestic and short-haul European flights will remain at £13.

The British travel industry has strongly opposed the APD, believing that it costs the economy too much in lost tourist revenue. But the government sees a cash cow and apparently doesn’t care that the tax damages British businesses.

If you’re visiting the U.K., you probably can’t avoid paying the tax on your return trip. But if you plan to combine the U.K. with another European country, you should obviously fly from North America to the U.K. and return from wherever else you plan to visit.  

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By Ed Perkins

A nationally recognized reporter, writer, and consumer advocate, Ed Perkins focuses on how travelers can find the best deals and avoid scams.

He is the author of "Online Travel" (2000) and "Business Travel: When It's Your Money" (2004), the first step-by-step guide specifically written for small business and self-employed professional travelers. He was also the co-author of the annual "Best Travel Deals" series from Consumers Union.

Perkins' advice for business travelers is featured on MyBusinessTravel.com, a website devoted to helping small business and self-employed professional travelers find the best value for their travel dollars.

Perkins was founding editor of Consumer Reports Travel Letter, one of the country's most influential travel publications, from which he retired in 1998. He has also written for Business Traveller magazine (London).

Perkins' travel expertise has led to frequent television appearances, including ABC's "Good Morning America" and "This Week with David Brinkley," "The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather," CNN, and numerous local TV and radio stations.

Before editing Consumer Reports Travel Letter, Perkins spent 25 years in travel research and consulting with assignments ranging from national tourism development strategies to the design of computer-based tourism models.

Born in Evanston, Illinois, Perkins lives in Ashland, Oregon with his wife.

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