If you're travelling from the UK, don't be surprised if your airline hits you up for some extra cash to cover a rise in the UK's Air Passenger Duty (APD) tax from 1 April.
APD is a cunning way to raise general taxation revenue for the UK government from international air passengers departing from the UK, and is charmingly divided into "standard" and "reduced" rates.
Basically speaking, "standard" is for anyone not in economy class, and is double the "reduced" rate, which passengers in the cheap seats are charged. Doesn't that sound nice?
You may already have had an email or letter from your airline asking for some extra cash, but don't be surprised if you're asked to swipe your credit card at check-in.
Several airlines also request the additional money -- which can be as much as A$141 on top of what you've already paid -- when you're upgrading from economy to premium economy or business class.
From 1 April, the charges you'll pay will go up according to the distance you're travelling from the UK, with the reduced/standard rate in GBP:
- Band A (0-2000 miles): £13 / £26
- Band B (2001-4000 miles): £65 / £130
- Band C (4001-6000 miles): £81 / £162
- Band D (6000+ miles): £92 / £184
In Australian dollars, that's:
- Band A (0-2000 miles): $20 / $40
- Band B (2001-4000 miles): $99 / $198
- Band C (4001-6000 miles): $124 / $248
- Band D (6000+ miles): $141 / $282
(The distance is calculated from London to the capital city of the country you're heading for, which naturally creates examples where that's ridiculous -- Perth, Los Angeles and Vancouver to name just three.)
As recently as October 2010, the "reduced" band for the longest flights was £55 (A$84), making this the latest in a series of eyewatering increases.