UK raises Air Passenger Duty by 8% today

Here’s something I wish were an April Fool’s joke. The UK’s latest increase in the APD (Air Passenger Duty) has kicked in today. It’s an across the board 8% increase, meaning journeys of under 2,000 miles go from £12 to £13, journeys between 2,000 and 4,000 miles go from £60 to £65, and journeys of over 6,000 miles go from £85 to £92. Those are the economy prices, while premium cabins cost double as much.

That means you’re paying £184 (~$295) for a premium cabin journey of over 6,000 miles originating in the UK. This is an especially inconvenient time to increase the APD given oil prices and the impact they’re having on airlines.

Keep in mind that the way the APD is charged is pretty tricky, so see this post for more details on how to avoid or minimize it.

How they get away with this without offering free flowing Krug and caviar in the gate area is beyond me. If I didn’t love the UK so much I’d boycott them. Now someone get me some clotted cream and scones…


  1. There is a really easy solution: Cheap 89 euro roundtrip to AMS or CDG and originate from there.

  2. Note that the distance used to define the APD band is not the length of the journey, but rather the distance from London to the capital city of the country of the first stopover. Thus, US west coast cities incur the same APD as NYC, since the distance used is LON-WAS, which is under 4000 miles.

  3. Why would you need a round-trip fare? No APD is assessed on arrivals into UK airports, so you technically just need a one-way out. Note that there is also a French departure tax that is rather hefty at around ~45€.

  4. The way to avoid APD on premium tickets is to book into FRA, AMS, MAD etc. for the destination of your main ticket and then book a small separate/connecting hop ticket back to the UK … I hope the UK government is going to wake up and realize how unfair this is to UK businesses (makes them uncompetitive in comparison to their neighboring EU businesses) and how this will hurt the direct long-hault business into the UK – i.e. mostly BA, Virgin etc …

    I fear they’re just trying to pay off their debts though

  5. @robert Booking an open jaw is actually better, given the number of cheap ways to get one-ways intra-EU. Fly into LHR, since there are no arrival taxes in the UK (no customs fee, no APD, no passenger facility charge, etc.) as @deux centimes notes. Then do your return from the continent. You have EuroStar as an option to get to CDG and BRU quickly and inexpensively, or buy a one-way from London to AMS/CDG/FRA/BRU/MAD.

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