Holidays cheaper for families as under 16s Air Passenger Duty abolished

Families could save up to £292 on flights

Updated: 
Family walking together on a beach

Families with teenage children can now fly for less following yesterday's (Monday) removal of the UK's air tax, Air Passenger Duty (APD), on economy flights for children under 16.

Following the cut, a family of four with two children under 16 taking two trips of more than 2,000 miles annually will save up to £292. The move follows the 1 May 2015 legislation which saw under 12s exempted from APD.

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ABTA says that with significant savings on longer flights for children, bookings to family favourite Florida are up 13% over two years, perhaps partly boosted by the abolition of APD. Additionally, bookings to the Caribbean are up 29 for this summer.

The cut was announced in the Autumn Statement in 2014 and is a result of a 'Scrap the Tax on Family Flights' initiative, which was launched by A Fair Tax on Flying. ABTA adds that families will now save £26 on flights to Europe and £146 on flights to long-haul destinations such as the USA, Thailand and Australia.

But children travelling in any class other than economy remain chargeable passengers and APD will be due.

Most airlines and travel companies have refunded or will refund APD on flights for under 16s that were booked and paid for before the reductions come into effect. Holidaymakers should contact their travel company or airline to find out more.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive commented: "The abolition of APD on flights for children and teens under 16 is undoubtedly good news for holidaymakers. However, whilst families will see welcome savings, APD in the UK remains one of the highest taxes of its kind anywhere in the world."

Cheapflights, which says families can save up to £292 per year if they take two trips abroad or £438 per year if they take three trips, believes long-haul holidays will become more popular.

Phil Bloomfield, a spokesperson for Cheapflights, said: "We expect to see a significant increase in long-haul flight searches as mums and dads weigh up the potential effects of the change in legislation on their future holiday plans."

"We'd also urge those families with existing bookings to talk with the their travel agent or airline to ensure that this change in tax bands has already been factored in the price they've paid for their flights, as some opportunities for refunds may exist."

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