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Claiming back part of your airfare - even when it's your fault you miss your flight

Robin Bowman

Robin Bowman
Jan 13, 2017

Airlines don’t generally shout about it, but there’s a proportion of your flight ticket that is Air Passenger Duty (APD) – basically a tax on any adult flying out of most airports in the UK.

So, if you don’t fly, for whatever reason, the airline doesn’t have to hand over the tax and you can claim it back.

There is no legal requirement on airlines to pay it back, however, and some will impose an ‘admin charge’ for repaying it.

But with most well-known airlines, it’s certainly worth asking what process they have in place and most will accept that you are entitled to have it back.

You usually can’t see the tax spelt out on a receipt for your ticket, so also ask the airline what you paid specifically.

We suggest contacting the relevant airline and asking how they repay the tax.

Some will automatically refund it when you inquire, others may require you to fill out an online form.

The key point, though, is that they are highly unlikely to tell you that you can claim APD back.

You have to ask.

In fact, it’s been estimated that airlines have pocketed over £300 million in unpaid APD over the past six years in charges that passengers could have been refunded.

Most airlines will have procedural details on their websites.



Air Passenger Duty - what you need to know

Here’s what you need to know:

* The tax is charged on all outbound flights only.
* What you pay will depend on how far you’re flying and in what class.
* Children who are under 16 on the date of the flight do not pay.
* There are two bands, economy and premium class.

You pay £13 per ticket if travelling economy and under 2,000 miles and £26 if flying the same distance in a higher class.

If travelling more than 2,000 miles, you pay £75 in economy and £150 in higher classes.

If you can’t find any details about claiming the tax back on an airline’s website, phone them and ask. Don’t give up.

And, if you don’t get anywhere with getting the money back, contact the Air Transport Users Council (AUC) for help. The travel agents’ body ABTA can also help in the case of disputes.

Or contact us here at A Spokesman Said and let us take up the cudgels on your behalf.

Bear in mind, however, that you won’t get money back if the cost of your ticket was less than the APD charged.


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