Will your airline hang onto money that's rightfully yours?

Many airlines won't automatically refund Air Passenger Duty

Updated: 
airplane taking off at sunset....

Air Passenger Duty has been abolished for children under the age of 12. The change kicks in from 1 May, and anyone who is flying with children after that date - who booked before the change was announced on 3rd December - should get their money back. Unfortunately some airlines are not automatically refunding this cash.

Some of the major airlines have decided to automatically give people their money back, including: British Airways, Thomson, First Choice, Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines, and Delta Airlines.

Others have decided to hang onto the cash, unless travellers specifically request a refund. Some, such as Easyjet, are getting in touch with customers and letting them know they need to ask for their money back. Others are keeping quiet - so there's a good chance that passengers will never see this cash again.

Not applying

Many are going to miss out on getting their money back, because according to research from money.co.uk, 41% of them are not even sure whether they were charged duty on the flights they bought for their children - let alone whether they are entitled to their money back. Of those who know they were charged the duty, just 29% expect an automatic refund.

Even when they do know about the charge, many travellers can't be bothered getting their money back. On average, they agree that unless they were due to get £28 or more back, they wouldn't bother, and only 37% of people would take the time to reclaim the £13 per child charged on the average short haul flight. Surprisingly, 34% of people can't be bothered - regardless of the size of the refund they could receive.

What can you do?

If you booked a package before 3 December, you will have paid the duty, and you need to apply to your tour operator for your money back. If you booked through a travel agent, they will need to chase the refund for you. If you booked direct with the airline, they have various methods for reclaiming the money.

Money.co.uk says that Air France, Lufthansa, South African Airways, WowAir and Cathay Pacific say that travellers should contact customer services, who will explain the procedure.

Easyjet, Monarch, KLM, Flybe, Swiss International and Norwegian Air Shuttle, meanwhile, ask passengers to complete a form on their website. Ryanair also has an online form, but has said that it will be applying the refund for all flights from 27 March - six weeks early.

Thomas Cook and Jet2.com will email instructions for you to follow if you are entitled to the money back.

It may seem like a lot of bother for £13, but if you have more than one child, and if you are flying long-distance, you could easily be due a refund of more than £100 - and surely that is worth sending off an online form for.

But what do you think? Are you entitled to a refund? And will you bother to claim?

Flights on AOL Money

The cheapest destinations for a city break

This man is off on a round the world trip - and all for free

Where airport car parking can cost more than your holiday

Autumn Statement Brings Stamp Duty Reform and Tax-Free Flying for Children