When you buy your flight ticket (whether direct with the airline, or part of a package holiday), a portion of the total cost for the ticket is for airport taxes - or "air passenger duty" (APD) as its more commonly known.
From 1st February 2007, tax on flights was increased by the UK government as mentioned in the 2006 pre-budget report by Gordon Brown.
This was increased in November 2009, November 2010, April 2012 and finally again in April 2013.
This duty is payable on all flights from UK airports and the amount of tax you pay depends on where you are flying to:
APD is now based on how far you fly and what class of travel you are flying in, as follows (note this is per leg, so return passengers would pay twice):
|Band||Rate for lowest class of travel||Rate for any other class|
|Band A (0 - 2000 miles)||£13||£26|
|Band B (2001 - 4000 miles)||£67||£134|
|Band C (4001 - 6000 miles)||£83||£166|
|Band D (over 6000 miles)||£94||£188|
The distance in the above case is based upon the distance from London to the capital city of the destination you are travelling to. It is per leg i.e. you pay both for the outbound flight and the inbound flight. Most airlines seperate out the APD fee which is paid upon booking, but is only charged when the seat is occupied and flies.
Note that the duty is only applied to departures and inbound flights where it is the passengers final destiantion. Flights destined for other countries where the stay is less than 24 hours are not subjected to the tax.
Remember that the duty is per person travelling and that although UK air passenger duty is payable on flights departing from the UK, when you return from your holiday, the country you fly back from will 99.9% of the time impose their equivalent tax on the flight so you'll end up paying roughly the same again to come back.
On a typical Easyjet flight from London Luton to Basel, Switzerland the APD is £13.00 per leg (assuming you are flying economy), as the distance is less than 2000 miles. Therefore the APD for a return journey would be £26.
There has been some criticism over budget airlines advertising flights for as little as £1 in some instances - which technically is true - but once the other little bits are added such as airport taxes, credit card fees to buy online (£4.50 for Easyjet) etc, the cost can quite easily come to up to £60 or more - not quite the £1 that people were let to believe in the adverts!
Interesting Fact: Over 230 million people flew to and from the UK in 2005 - up from approximately 105 million in 1990.
Anything we didn't cover in the article? Did you want to see more information about other countries? If so, let us know in the comments below!