Tax on children’s flights to be abolished
Since the introduction of Air Passenger Duty twenty years ago, tax is payable on every flight leaving the UK; this currently adds between £13 and £388 to the cost of a flight – depending on what class a person is travelling in, the size of the aircraft and the destination they are travelling to. Air Passenger Duty can have costly consequences for families; a family of four with two children traveling standard class in an average aircraft currently pays an extra £52 for a flight to Europe, an extra £276 to North America, an extra £340 to the Caribbean and an extra £340 to Australia or New Zealand.
The abolition of this travelling tax for children is therefore sure to be welcomed by parents experiencing increasingly expensive family holidays. Recent research from the Forestry Commission has found that Britons have an average of two family holidays per annum, spending thousands of pounds; 48% of those questioned stated that they ‘dread’ this expense.
Air Passenger Duty will be abolished for passengers under 12 on 1st May 2015 and extended to those under 16 from 1st March 2016. The Chancellor will also decrease the overall amount of Air Passenger Duty payable on 1st April 2015 – reducing the highest tax on a single ticket from £376 to £268, which will allow travellers taking longer distance flights to destinations like the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand to pay less duty than at present.
Although these changes have yet to come in force, airlines such as Easyjet and Ryanair are already offering refunds on flight taxes customers who have already booked their children’s flights for next year. Other airlines are expected to follow suit shortly.
Further changes needed?
Although the Chancellor’s changes have been positively received, there have been reinvigorated calls for legislation to address flight costs. As prices often dramatically increase during school holidays, families with children are most often the victims of price-hiking – where the same trip costs substantially more during peak-periods. This looks set to worsen as it becomes harder for parents to holiday with children during term time: since September 2013 the Department of Education only permits parents to take their children out of school in “exceptional circumstances”. It is important for parents to adhere to these rules as failure to do so can result in a £60 fine per child, which is increased to £120 if it is not paid within a week; if this is not paid, parents can face prosecution and a possible fine of £2,500 and a 3 month jail sentence.
This is a guest post by Sara Zadeh. She is interested in all aspects of Family Law. She studied Criminology and Applied Psychology and has completed the Graduate Diploma in Law and Legal Practice Course. Sara is currently volunteering at the Citizens Advice Bureau and Disability Advice Centre.