New UK Passenger Tax

In the "Headlines" section of the website, Rick notes that the UK has assessed an environmental tax on flights (news item pasted below). I found this out the hard way the other day when my family and I checked in for our flight from Gatwick to Charlotte on US Airways. We were assessed GBP20 per person before we were allowed to go through security and head to our plane. I'm a champion of the environment, but wish that US Airways had let us know about this sooner than an hour before our plane departed. We were sent to a ticketing desk and paid the fee (in otehr words, had to wait in another line) and almost missed our flight. We were told that the tax was assessed after we purchased our tickets (in December) and that the tax is retroactive.

All this to say that it's a good idea to check with your airline to see if you need to pay the new tax.

Environmental Tax on UK Flights
Feb 1 — Any thoughtful travel-related business is considering the impact its success has on global warming. And consumers who care about the environment will understand and support various carbon offset fees that will be more and more common as we come to grips with this reality.

For instance, a new tax on airline passengers flying out of the United Kingdom went into effect today and is intended to offset environmental damage caused by airplane emissions. It varies from £10 on economy class flights in Europe — including internal UK flights — to £40 for economy class long-haul flights and £80 for business and first class long-haul flights. All airlines, including those based outside the UK, are required to collect the tax for each passenger they fly out of the country. Most airlines are collecting the fee at the airport before allowing passengers to board.

Posted by nathalie
tacoma, wa, usa
18 posts

After reading this post, I had tucked away a few pounds in my pocket to pay the tax when we returned home to Tacoma from Gatwick on April 12 (we flew NWA and had purchased our tickets in September). I dont know if it depends on which airline you fly, but we were never asked to pay.

Posted by Jeff
Bend, OR, United States
1145 posts

I wonder what the UK government plans to do with this money. It is apparently a little known fact that less than 1% of all greenhouse gases are the result of human activity and therefore even if we were to eliminate ALL carbon emissions greenhouse gase concentrations would not be significantly affected. My guess is that they will have to use the revenue generated by this tax to subsidize the loss of tourism revenue that it will cause.

Posted by Kate
Scotland
505 posts

It's NOT a new tax. They've simply doubled the existing airport tax which every passenger pays - as part of the ticket - when landing or taking off at a UK airport. So some of it might go to environmental issues, but also just to regular upkeep of airports etc. I would suspect that it might be more to cover the costs of increased security than anything else...

I e-mailed the website to correct the posting, but not response. Neither have they figured out that there isn't a smoking ban in ALL of Britain. There's a smoking ban in Scotland, and now one in Wales, but England still has a few months to go.

Posted by Jeff
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
206 posts

In response to Nathalie--I'm glad that you weren't charged the additional fee. The good news for us is that the charge hasn't come through yet (although everything else from the trip has)--an overzealous magager wrongly implementing the tax, perhaps? I'm not going to celebrate for a couple more months, though.