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Air passenger duty

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lisyloo2
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Air passenger duty

#50063

Postby lisyloo2 » April 30th, 2017, 9:05 am

My husband is large. He is losing weight but still cannot travel in an economy flight seat.
If premium/business is available we pay for that, but it's not always available so we normally pay for an extra seat.

I've booked some flights to Spain this year and EasyJet have refunded the air passenger duty as it's not due on the third seat (2 passengers = 2xAPD).

I am trying to book a holiday via a 3rd (it's a package) where Thomas Cook are the airline.
There is very little choice airline and we wouldn't really want to make independent arrangements when everyone else in the group is travelling with a pakage.

Thomas cook are insisting on charging all the fees and charges -this is not due and I'm absolutely certain both that airlines know how many "souls" are on board (legal obligation) and fairly certain they won't overpay their taxes.

Is this legal and is there anything I can do given its verbal and no contract in place.
My aim would be to change the airlines behaviours rather than retrieve the holiday booking (currently cancelled).
Can I report them to someone? Is there a group for large passengers that might be able to help?

The holiday company and airline have not been any help so far (although we were under time pressure as we could only hold the booking for 24 hours) and there are not loads of alternatives to the area we are travelling.

lisyloo2
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Re: Air passenger duty

#50064

Postby lisyloo2 » April 30th, 2017, 9:06 am

Apologies for the poor spelling. Predictive text means I sometime say things I didn't Nintendo.

pochisoldi
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Re: Air passenger duty

#50278

Postby pochisoldi » May 1st, 2017, 10:20 am

From your post I gather that your argument is that air passenger duty is payable on a per passenger basis, and therefore the APD normally charged on the second seat should be refunded.

I'm not surprised that whoever you deal with at the airline can't handle your request - usually one occupied seat = 1 lot of APD - it just needs escalating up the organisation.

Have a look at https://www.gov.uk/government/publicati ... enger-duty

which says:
"APD is a duty of excise levied on the carriage, from a UK airport, of chargeable passengers on chargeable aircraft. It becomes due when a flight with chargeable passengers occurs and is payable by the operator of the aircraft. The amount due is dependent on the final destination and class of travel of the chargeable passenger."

followed by

"From 1 April 2013 a ‘chargeable passenger’ is anyone carried on a chargeable aircraft who is not covered by an exemption. It doesn’t matter whether the passenger has paid for their transport or not."

The rate of APD depends on class of travel and the doc says:

"The following in themselves don’t affect the class of travel:
...

paying extra to be seated next to an empty seat
paying for an empty seat"

Note that APD is only paid after the flight, so if you haven't flown yet no APD has been paid, and the airline can't claim that you have to speak to HMRC.
If you have already flown, then the argument towards the airline becomes - "you mistakely paid 2xAPD for one passenger, therefore you have to take the hit, not me"

lisyloo2
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Re: Air passenger duty

#50607

Postby lisyloo2 » May 2nd, 2017, 1:28 pm

I don't see why they can't or shouldn't be able handle it.
EasyJet's on-line system can't handle it automatically, but you call them up (after booking) and they refund you there and then on the phone.

Thomas Cook are not saying they can't handle it automatically, they are saying they are going to charge it on the empty seat and won't budge on that.

We don't have a contract currently and wouldn't have one with Thomas Cook directly anyway because it would be via a 3rd party.

Is it legal for companies to charges taxes when they aren't due? (it was in the breakdown).

What's my best line of approach?

I am pretty certain the tax would not get paid to HMRC for two reasons.
Firstly airlines definitely know how many souls on board (they have a manifest and have to know how many to search for in a crash - they also count everyone to make sure there are no bags without passengers. This is definitely heavily enforced as I'm sure you know they remove checked-in bags without passengers so a bomb cannot go on board that way).
I'm pretty sure they invest in not overpaying taxes and don't make basic errors like paying for seats instead of people - it's not like this is the first time this can every have been requested - people have travelled with musical instruments, bicycles etc. for many decades.

Any advice on my best line of approach.
I can see that not having a contract or written breakdown is an obstacle, but in theory is it legal to charge taxes that aren't due?

bruncher
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Re: Air passenger duty

#50615

Postby bruncher » May 2nd, 2017, 2:09 pm

I would book the seats and claim later. I think the main problem will be identifying the carrier from whom to claim the refund. It may be difficult if you pay a holiday company and they subcontract the flying to a different company.

I have claimed from both BA and Easy Jet, but in both cases I paid and claimed from the same entity.

lisyloo2
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Re: Air passenger duty

#50770

Postby lisyloo2 » May 3rd, 2017, 7:29 am

There are only 2 companies who fly to hurghada at the moment (Thomas cook and Thompson) so I can't see how it would be difficult, but it the charging of it that's the issue.
Id like to have a conversation about this with the travel agent.

Does anyone know if charging taxes that aren't due is illegal?
And can refer me to the appropriate law?

Thanks

didds
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Re: Air passenger duty

#50986

Postby didds » May 3rd, 2017, 5:33 pm

I am not a lawyer.

I suspect it is legal - because whilst the situation is not unprecedented it wouldn't be that normal eg not even 2% of every flight etc.

I suspect that its a case of pay first, claim later via some over complicated and kafquesque system.

I of course be wrong, but its my cynical and exasperated life experience that if anything can be made more complicated, it will be and never in any easy form for the person most affected by it.

I symapthoise.

redsturgeon
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Re: Air passenger duty

#51119

Postby redsturgeon » May 4th, 2017, 7:48 am

I can see that not having a contract or written breakdown is an obstacle, but in theory is it legal to charge taxes that aren't due?


I can see a direct parallel here with the onside retailers at airports charging VAT and claiming back the same from long haul passengers.

So I guess it must be legal.

John

Gengulphus
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Re: Air passenger duty

#51166

Postby Gengulphus » May 4th, 2017, 10:35 am

lisyloo2 wrote:Does anyone know if charging taxes that aren't due is illegal?
And can refer me to the appropriate law?

Can't help directly, but it strikes me as precisely the sort of question that Trading Standards ought to know about - have you tried asking them?

Gengulphus

bruncher
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Re: Air passenger duty

#51218

Postby bruncher » May 4th, 2017, 1:33 pm

Does anyone know if charging taxes that aren't due is illegal?


I don't think I would have received refunds if keeping the money for journeys not undertaken was lawful.


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