APD refunds: how to claim back airline tax
If you booked a flight for your family before March 1st 2016, you could be entitled to a refund on the APD (air passenger duty). APD was scrapped for children under 12 on May 1st 2015, and then abolished for children under 16 on March 1st 2016. Here's how to find out whether you're entitled to a refund, and how to get one.
What is APD?
Air Passenger Duty (APD) is paid by (almost) all passengers flying from a UK airport. Our definitive guide to everything you need to know about APD is the best place to find out exactly what it is - and how to avoid paying it. At the moment, APD ranges from £13 for an economy-class, short-haul flight, to £150 for a first-class long-haul flight: see the HM Revenue and Customs website for a full breakdown of rates. APD is paid by you on booking, but it's not collected from the airline by the tax authorities until you actually fly - and it’s not paid at all by children under 16 years of age.
I booked a flight for my family before March 1st 2016, am I due a refund?
It depends. If you booked a flight before March 1st 2016 that departed after March 1st 2016, and one of your children was under the age of 16 but older than 12 when the flight departed, then you might be due a refund. This is because APD was scrapped for children aged 12 to 15 on March 1st 2016, and the airline might have charged APD for your child when you booked your flight.
Similarly, if you booked a flight before May 1st 2015 that departed after May 1st 2015, and one of your children was under the age of 12 when the flight departed, you might also be due a refund, as APD was scrapped for children under 12 on May 1st 2015.
However, both of these cases only apply to seats booked in the lowest class of travel – if you booked your child into first class, then APD is still applied.
How do I claim back APD from the airline?
The procedures for claiming a refund vary from airline to airline – some will refund the tax automatically, whereas others require you to fill out a form. Each airline should publish details of how to claim back APD tax on its own website. If you cannot find this, call the airline and request details.
HMRC has confirmed that there is no deadline to claim back APD.
Can I have an example of how to claim?
Sure, you can have a whole bunch. We looked at five different airlines to see how easy it is to claim back your tax.
EasyJet make if fairly easy to claim back your child’s APD. For international flights, just sign in on their website and confirm the ages of your child/children by entering their passport details under ‘Manage my booking’. Once you’ve done that, you should receive your refund automatically. If you booked a domestic flight though, you’ll need to fill out an APD confirmation form: more details and a link to the form can be found here.
You’ll need to fill out an online form in order to claim back APD from Ryanair. Head here to find a link to the form and more instructions.
Similarly to easyJet, British Airways just requires you to enter your child’s travel document details on their ‘Manage my booking’ portal, which can be found on their homepage. Once you’ve entered your child’s age, the refund should happen automatically – but bear in mind that the airline requires you to enter the information at least 72 hours before your flight departs. If you booked a domestic flight, you’ll need to contact the airline directly: full details can be found on their APD page.
Monarch keep it nice and simple – they’ve taken care of everything for you. Any booking made after November 26th 2015 for a child under 16 won’t have APD added. Easy!
OK, I tried to claim but I’m getting nowhere with the airline. Can anyone help?
If you require further assistance, check the Air Transport Users Council (AUC) website for information on passenger rights and travel issues, or call them on 020 7240 6061. The travel association ABTA can also help to resolve disputes and give advice.
Check out these articles for more tips on airline tickets:
How can you avoid paying APD on international flights? Will the changes to APD affect the cost of your family holiday? And what exactly is APD anyway?
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