One of the biggest airport hidden fees is getting another increase in 2020 — which is going to make it more expensive to fly in and out of the United Kingdom.
When you book a flight, you ultimately get a bottom-line number that helps obscure airport hidden fees and other built-in charges. One of the largest airport hidden fees is the United Kingdom’s Air Passenger Duty, which went up in April of 2018 — and is scheduled to go up again in April 2020.
These airport hidden fees can impact your overall travel spend and the global business traveler experience in several ways. Here’s a look at plans for the Air Passenger Duty hike in 2020, as well as hidden fees charged at other international airports.
What is the UK’s Air Passenger Duty?
Way back in 1994, the United Kingdom put in place the Air Passenger Duty in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The thinking: If the Duty is sufficiently high, passengers will be less likely to travel by air — which will reduce emissions.
If the Duty is sufficiently high, passengers will be less likely to travel by air — which will reduce emissions.
Most analysts think the Air Passenger Duty has not met its objective. Rather than discouraging travelers from choosing air travel at all, it has forced them to seek out less expensive flight options at airports outside the United Kingdom.
Still, the United Kingdom continues to raise its Air Passenger Duty. In April 2018, the duty increased from £75 to £78 for economy passengers and from £150 to £156 for premium passengers. In April 2020, the Air Passenger Duty will increase another £2 for economy passengers and another £4 for premium passengers.
Exceptions to the Air Passenger Duty
While almost all passengers flying in and out of the United Kingdom’s airports are affected by the Air Passenger Duty, there are exceptions. For example:
- Passengers on long-haul flights to and from Northern Ireland and the Scottish Highlands are exempt.
- Passengers changing planes in the United Kingdom with layovers of less than 24 hours are exempt.
- Children under the age of 16 are exempt.
Everyone else needs to be prepared to pay. Even if you use miles or points to book a flight, you will need to pay the Air Passenger Duty. If you upgrade from economy to premium, you will also need to pay the difference in the fees for each class.
Other Countries Charge Hidden Fees, Too
The United Kingdom isn’t the only country where air travelers face airport hidden fees. The business traveler experience includes the following charges in these countries:
- France: Air passengers pay a €35 fee for excessive noise at the country’s 9 busiest airports.
- Australia: Air passengers pay 60 AUD to cover what’s known as the “Passenger Movement Charge.”
- Germany: Air passengers pay a €40 air transport tax on all long-haul flights.
What Do These Airport Fees Mean for Travel Managers?
It’s hard to avoid airport hidden fees in many cases, especially if your team members need to do business in London on a regular basis. But be aware of these growing fees and how they affect your travel spend — there may be slight tweaks you can make to your travel policy in order to minimize costs to the greatest extent.
For example, you may find that it’s best to make longer visits to the United Kingdom less often as opposed to shorter, more regular trips. Also, on multi-leg trips, you may be able to craft itineraries that help avoid paying expensive fees like the Air Passenger Duty.
The business traveler experience should remain a priority, though. If you’re negatively impacting the travel experience just to save a few bucks, trying to avoid charges like the Air Passenger Duty may not be worth the inconvenience and human toll.
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