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Cheaper flights for kids as Air Passenger Duty is scrapped for under 16s

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Families flying abroad should pay less for their plane tickets as Air Passenger Duty for children aged under 16 is scrapped from today.

The move will mean a family with two children under 16 travelling to long-haul destinations such as Florida could save as much as £142 and £26 off a holiday to Europe.

Air Passenger Duty (APD) is a levy on flights taking off from the UK and is based on the distance flown.

It is paid by airlines to HM Revenues and Customs (HMRC), though passengers typically cover the fee within their ticket prices.

In the 2014 Autumn Statement, Chancellor George Osborne announced that APD would be scrapped for children under 12 on economy flights from 1 May 2015 and this would be extended to children aged 15 and under from 1 March 2016.

Exchequer secretary to the Treasury, Damian Hinds said: “This government is pleased to make travel easier and more affordable for working families. Aviation plays a key role in our economy and in the midst of a volatile economic outlook it is crucial we help families where we can.”

Since 2010, APD has only risen with inflation, which the Treasury said represented “an effective price freeze on short-haul rates since 2012”.

Thomson and First Choice, part of the Tui group, have also today announced they will automatically refund the APD for passengers who have already booked a holiday that departs after 29 February. For other airlines, you may need to fill out a claim form.

According to the latest ONS Travel Trends statistics, the US is the third most visited country for UK residents. With average spend per day by Brits continuing to be the highest for trips to North America at £82, the APD saving for long-haul flights will effectively pay for almost two days of a two child family’s holiday.

The top five countries visited by UK residents have remained consistent since 2010. Spain continues to top the list in 2014 at 12.2m visits, a 5.4% increase from 2013.

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