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British Departure Tax aka "Air Passenger Duty"

We purchased economy coach tickets on Norwegian Airlines to fly round trip from Los Angeles to London. Recently, I read that there is a very expensive departure tax charged for leaving Great Britain (Around $200 or more). Does anyone know if that tax is usually included in the airline ticket price? I called Norwegian Airlines and they are "clueless" and say that they don't know what I am talking about. We are on a tight budget so we are concerned about this new wrinkle.

Posted by
4675 posts

APD is included in the ticket price. It is £69 for economy class travel to the USA.

Posted by
3681 posts

This issue of the UK's "departure tax" comes up occasionaly on several travel boards. The posts I have seen follow a pattern that I think refers to travelling on airline points rather than regular purchases. British Air and its partner American do impose a rather hefty surcharge on their points awards to or through London, blaming taxes but which may involve other routine costs of doing business. Other routes have surcharges too. Other airlines' awards involving the UK may have different surcharges. For the regular pay-the-cash ticket from London, the purchase price is what you pay, period.

Posted by
4675 posts

Note that some airports in the UK do impose a user fee that is collected at time of use rather than through tickets. These are not airports that many of the users of this board would encounter ( Blackpool, Durham Tees Valley, Newquay, and Norwich to my knowledge). Many more charge a drop off fee for people arriving by car.

Posted by
44 posts

A few years ago, while planning a trip from the USA to England and France using miles to pay for the airline tickets I noticed that the fees were much lower if we departed for the USA from Paris instead of London.

In the end, the route was to London via American Airlines, then after a few days visiting we rode the Eurostar to Paris, spend a few days there, and then flew home.

I don't have the receipts anymore, but I remember mentioning to my wife that the savings in departure fees almost offset the whole price of the Eurostar tickets.

Posted by
4675 posts

On revenue tickets London may well turn out cheaper because of the number of flights and competition; on reward flights the tax component is more or totally naked.

Posted by
1063 posts

" British Air and its partner"
Isn't that what you breathe when you're over here? :-)

Posted by
171 posts

My experience with the British Departure Tax is that I had to pay $108.00 at check in before my flight to England last September. The ticket had been bought at least 6 months earlier with no mention of a departure tax. My options were to pay the tax or I could not board the plane in the US. This was flying Delta First Class. At that point I had no choice but to pay the fee. Has anyone else had this experience?

Posted by
1549 posts

We are using United miles in Sept and flying San Francisco-Charlotte-London, and taxes were $82.50 for two tickets. Changed last leg to Edinburgh didn't affect the amount. The return flight from London-Montreal-San Francisco $645.00.
Both directions business class. London departures using miles in economy were about $100 less.

Posted by
449 posts

I, too, noticed this tax when I booked my flight to the UK (Edinburgh) on United using mileage points. The charge was 30,000 points and about $40. The cost of returning from Heathrow was 30,000 points and $200. I used the difference to purchase a ticket on Turkish Airline and will fly to Istanbul cutting short my stay in London by 6 days. The if the cost of returning from Europe was the same from London and Istanbul I might have stayed in London longer, but the price difference convinced me to visit another city that is exotic and cheaper.

Posted by
4675 posts

There are two rates of APD, the 'Reduced Rate' paid in the lowest class of travel, and the 'Standard Rate' payable on higher classes, which is twice as much. If upgraded involuntarily you don't pay the extra but if you pay to upgrade by money or miles etc then you do.

If flying transatlantic above economy, I often leave from Brussels or Dublin.

Posted by
351 posts

That may explain why, in booking my upcoming trip, I noticed such a big difference in tax costs between a round trip London and an open jaw returning from Paris. In my case it would have been $200 to do the round trip London, and $100 to do the open jaw, and indeed pretty well pays for the Eurostar ticket. In our case, we were going to Paris anyway, but were toying with backtracking to London for various reasons.

At any rate, for Delta, it seemed to be included in the ticket price.

Posted by
1353 posts

We are flying into london in Nov and home from Berlin in Dec. on American Miles. Last time we flew on miles taxes were about 100.00 a piece. For this years flights the taxes and fees were close to 400 a piece. After reading this thread I sure wish I had shopped around a bit to see if changing arrival / departure destinations would have been cheaper.

Posted by
9110 posts

Britain wouldn't be the problem. Their departure tax is based on the length of the first flight segment. Berlin's a short hop.