What is Air Passenger Duty?

It is a tax charged by airlines on all economy flights that leave the UK.

You only pay Air Passenger Duty (APD) for flights leaving the United Kingdom, and not for inbound flights.

You are charged 26 per person on short haul economy flights to most of Europe, and 150 per person on long haul flights.

You pay APD as part of your ticket price, and airlines pass the tax onto the government.

Which flights are affected?

All economy flights departing the UK from 1st March 2016 that were booked for passengers aged between 12 and 15.

This change was announced in the 2014 Autumn Statement and is the second phase of reductions made on APD.

Depending on which airline you are travelling with, and when you booked, you may need to claim a refund of Air Passenger Duty you paid on flights for anyone aged between 12 and 15.

Can you claim back Air Passenger Duty?

Yes, but only for flights booked for passengers aged between 12 and 15 which had included the cost of APD.

If the ticket price you paid is less than the cost of APD then you may not be entitled to any money back.

If you are unsure or worried if this affects you, do not hesitate to contact your airline's customer service team.

They will confirm whether they'll be issuing automatic refunds or if you need to fill in a form to reclaim the money.

How much is Air Passenger Duty?

Flights are categorised into different Air Passenger Duty bands, based on the distance of the destination from the UK.

Air Passenger Duty bands from 1st April 2016 to 31st March 2017 are:

Band Miles Cost
A Up to 200026
B Over 2001 150

Air Passenger Duty is not payable on some long haul flights departing from Northern Ireland, and rates will likely be changing for some flights departing from Scotland in the near future.

How do you get your APD back?

Some airlines will automatically refund the money back to your payment card, or email instructions to you explaining how you can get your APD back.

Here is how some of the most popular airlines flying from the UK are handling APD refunds:

Airline Refund process Customer service number Are they still charging APD?
American AirlinesProactive refund by airline0800 433 7300 Yes
British Airways Complete online form if you booked before 30th September 2015, proactive refund by airline after this date 0344 493 0787 No
Cathay Pacific Contact customer services 0208 834 8866 Yes
Delta Airlines Proactive refund by airline 0871 221 1222 Yes
easyjet Proactive refund by airline 0330 365 5000 No
First Choice Proactive refund by airline 0203 451 2688 No
Flybe Complete online form 0371 700 2000 No
Jet2.com Log into 'Manage My Booking' to request a refund if you booked before December 2014, proactive refund by airline after this date 0333 300 0042 No
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Complete online form 020 7660 0293 Yes
Lufthansa Contact customer services 0371 945 9747Yes
Norwegian Air Shuttle Send refund request via contact us page online 0330 828 0854 Yes
Ryanair Complete online complaint form for refund 0330 100 7838 No
Scandinavian Airlines Contact customer services 0207 660 8001 Yes
South African Airways Contact customer services 0208 576 5555 Yes
Swiss International Contact customer services 0345 601 0956 Yes
Thomas Cook Proactive refund by airline 0173 322 4330 Yes
Thomson Proactive refund by airline0203 451 2688 No
Virgin Atlantic Contact customer services* 0344 209 7777 Yes
WowAir Contact customer services 0118 321 8384 Yes
* Signposted at booking stage.

What else do you need to think about?

You can still claim a refund for APD if you booked:

  • From a third party: Travel agents will be responsible for the refund rather than the airline. Be aware that acceptance of any refund from a third party agent will be dictated by their own specific terms and conditions of sale.

  • When your child was 15 years old, but turns 16 before or during the return flight: If the child flying is still 15 years old up until the final flight, then you are still eligible to apply for a refund.