The UK is infamous for its high departure tax imposed on departing airline passengers. Under the Air Passenger Duty, passengers are currently slugged up to $280 on top of their airfare! But there is some good news for flyers. From the first of May, children are now exempt from this tax if flying in economy. This means that if you’re yet to book, you’ll find that a child’s ticket is now cheaper. It also means you may be eligible for a refund on child fares.

So, just how much is this departure tax? And who is affected? The UK government imposes this tax on passengers over the age of twelve departing from anywhere in the UK, including London, by plane. The cost is determined by the distance you’re travelling, and your class of travel. If you’re travelling less than 2,000 miles in economy the tax is only £13 (around $25). However if you’re flying more than 2,000 miles (to Australia, for example) then the tax increases to £71, or about $140! And, if you’re flying in any class other than economy, the tax is doubled. But the tax is not charged to passengers who begin their journey outside the UK, and stopover in the country for under 24 hours.

Until recently this tax was also charged to children, but this is no longer the case. If you have already booked a ticket for a child under twelve, for travel after 1 May, you will have already payed the tax. As such, you will be entitled to a refund. Passengers who booked directly with the airline should be contacted directly. However, if you booked with a travel agent, it will be the agent’s responsibility to follow up on this.

Qantas say they will be contacting customers that are owed refunds. Other airlines may or may not contact you. If you are eligible and the airline does not get in touch, you may wish to contact the airline yourself.

It should be pointed out that children flying business or first class will still need to pay the tax.

If you’re eligible for a refund, it may seem like a bit of work. But there is $140 up for grabs for your effort. Find out more HERE.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]