Air Passenger Duty: Your Guide to Getting Your Money Back

What is Air Passenger Duty?

Air Passenger Duty, or APD for short, is a tax paid by all passengers departing from a UK airport. It’s been a fairly unpopular tax because it has risen by up to 1,320% on some flights since it was introduced in 1994.

Many in the airline industry have campaigned against it. They argue that it inhibits growth of UK tourism as it is currently one of the highest flight departure taxes anywhere in the world. In some cases it costs more than the flight fare itself.

Paper plane from £20 note

What’s Changed?

There have been a number of reforms of APD in the past year, all designed to save travellers money. Already APD has been simplified, abolishing some of the higher fares on further away destinations (that came into effect for flights departing after 1st April 2015).

But the biggest change for families came in December 2014, when it was announced that APD would no longer be charged on Economy child seats. This has the potential to save UK families £100s on their summer holidays.
Because the tax change would come into effect relatively quickly – for all flights departing on or after 1st May 2015 – that meant all families who had already booked their 2015 holiday in advance would have already paid tax on their children’s seats. And airlines were in a fight against time to change their booking systems to reflect the new taxes – and to refund existing bookings.

How Much Will You Save?

The amount you save depends on your destination:

  Band A Destinations – 0-2,000 miles
E.g. Spain, Turkey, Greece
Band B Destinations – Over 2,000 miles
E.g. Egypt, USA, Caribbean
APD saving (based on rate from 1st April 2015) £13 per child £71 per child


Child behind piles of coins

Getting Your Refund

First you need to check you are eligible for a refund. Refunds ONLY apply to:

  • Travellers aged under 12 on the date of travel
  • Economy class seats
  • Children with their own seat (infants aged under two travelling on an adult’s lap already don’t pay APD)
  • Flights departing from the UK
  • Flights on or after 1st May 2015

Also, you should check that you have been charged APD. If you booked your flight before 3rd December 2014 you definitely will have paid APD. Airlines also continued to charge APD for some time afterwards whilst they adjusted their systems to account for the new rules. In either case you will be eligible for a refund.

These are the refund policies for some of the biggest airlines in the UK:

British Airways

Refunds will be processed automatically, BUT you will not receive the money until after the flight has departed. More details here.


EasyJet just need confirmation of child ages and they’ll be able to refund you automatically. To do this either log into fill in your passenger details. Or, if you’re unable to do that, or travelling to a UK destination you can fill in an APD age confirmation form. Full details here.


If you booked your flight before 12th December 2014 you can claim your refund here.


Refunds processed automatically. See details here.


Monarch will process refunds where they know the ages of the passengers travelling. So if you haven’t already, log into your booking and add the Advanced Passenger Information so they can start the refund process for travellers aged under 12. Additional info here.


Ryanair is the only airline to have extended the tax rebate. They are offering £13 off each eligible child seat departing the UK from 27th March onwards. The catch is you need to apply for it, and you can’t apply until you travel. If you’ve already flown, apply here and for details of their policy head here

Thomas Cook

Check your bank statements, as any flights eligible for refunds should have already been processed. Further details here.

Thomson Airways

Refunds were processed at the end of February 2015. See here for their blog all about it.

Virgin Atlantic

Refunds processed automatically. Further details here.

The above information relates to direct airline bookings. If you booked via a travel agent, they should be your first port of call.

Future Changes to APD

The current tax change only applies to children under 12. This will be extended to all children under 16 from 1st March 2016. Most airlines have already fixed their booking systems so if you buy a flight departing after this date it will show the correct APD for the fare.

Further Reading

If you want to know more about APD and the campaign to reduce it check out A Fair Tax on Flying.


Happy family about to board plane
Everyone’s very excited about the savings!

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Tips and advice on getting great value travel - from one of our dealchecker alumni.

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