UK passengers’ tax-dodging techniques revealed

More than one in 10 British travellers taking long-haul flights will avoid the increase in air passenger duty by flying from other European countries, according to a new survey published this week.

A family of four travelling to Sydney could save about £760 in taxes and charges by flying from Amsterdam instead of London, claimed the report by Sainsbury’s Travel Money.

It said passengers would also pay lower taxes and fees by taking long-haul flights from Paris, Frankfurt, Madrid and Rome instead of London.

David Barrett of Sainsbury’s Travel Money said: “Our research suggests that some families are rethinking their holiday plans because of the increased level of tax placed on some flights through Air Passenger Duty.

“It appears that many are willing to do all they can to get around it, from avoiding air travel altogether to taking long-haul flights from more competitively priced European airports.”

The findings, based on researching typical fares of national flag carrier flights from major airports in Europe via Expedia, show that a passenger flying economy class from London to Sydney could typically £190 more in taxes and fees than those travelling from Amsterdam.
Passengers flying economy class from London to Cape Town would typically pay £460 in taxes and fees but only £347 when travelling from Rome, £326 from Amsterdam or £318 from Paris.

A survey of 2,001 carried out by ICM on behalf of the bank, suggests over 6.6 million (14%) Brits would book a short-haul flight to a non-UK airport, have a stopover and then take a separate long-haul flight from there.

Over 7.5 million (16%) Brits would go to a short-haul holiday destination rather than travel longhaul and one in eight (13%) would deliberately choose a destination in a cheaper APD band.

One in fiv would try to get the best economy class cabin seats at the front of the cabin instead of booking premium economy or business class seats, which carry a higher APD charge. Some 12% of Britons would choose an alternative mode of transport and avoid air travel altogether in an effort to avoid APD.