The first phase of a UK law abolishing airport passenger taxes for children came into effect today. The initial stage of the regulations sees the tax waived for children under 12 years old occupying economy class seats on flights leaving from airports in the UK.
The regulation is due to be expanded in March next year so that it will apply to all seat classes and raise the age ceiling to 16. The airport tax young passengers have paid on pre-booked tickets depends on where they were flying to and when they made their reservations.
The airport tax for under 12s until yesterday was £13 if the flight was less than 2,000 miles. This distance covers the UK, mainland Europe, Turkey and North Africa. Taxes for under 12s booked on long-haul flights were up to £71 after April 2014 and £97 before.
UK chancellor George Osborne announced the measure in his statement last autumn. People who have made reservations for passengers younger than 12 years old are due to get refunds of the duties they paid, but not all airlines are granting these as a matter of course.
Virgin Atlantic says it will be giving refunds while EasyJet says it will give refunds on international flights, but applications for refunds for youngsters travelling on domestic flights need to be made online. A spokesperson for British Airways says the carrier will authorise refunds once passengers have departed on their flights.
Ryanair is making the process more difficult by stipulating that passengers have to apply for refunds and only once their flight has departed. Of the airlines surveyed, Wizz Air seems to have the trickiest application method and requires customers to apply online and also supply a copy of the traveller’s passport details page to prove they are still under 12.