APD on connecting flights – luck of the draw?

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This topic contains 15 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  MarcusGB 1 Nov 2016
at 13:53
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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 16 total)

  • Flyingfemme
    Participant

    As a resident of a small island I often need to take connecting flights to get anywhere. Often it requires different airlines so a connecting ticket is something of a luxury…..
    Recently I was able to book a journey to Portugal with Easyjet, connecting through Gatwick, and they charged me two lots of APD for the outbound and another for the second leg of the inbound.
    Now I can read quite well and the APD guidelines quite clearly state that connecting flights attract no APD, so I complained and requested a refund of the two “extra” charges. Easyjet told me that they are a “point to point airline” and so they charge everything for each leg since they consider them separate flights…………on a single ticket? With a single locator? I think not.
    So I am now faced with the necessity of taking them to small claims court to get my fifty quid back…………
    This raises a couple of questions in my mind. Do they collect this extra tax and pay it to the UK government? I’d rather they didn’t rip me off to benefit the Chancellor. Or do they rip me off and keep the money? Negligence, laziness or fraud? Given that Carolyn McCall is one of the more outspoken critics of APD I find the whole thing quite ironic.
    There seems to be no official way to complain about this – the CAA scheme is fixated with delays, cancellations, baggage charges, denied boarding and there seems to be no government contact for APD that a traveller can use. Does anyone know of an avenue that I haven’t found yet?
    Thinking about the problem, and recognising that the rules are a total dogs breakfast from an airline perspective, I took a look at some other airlines and routes to see if they were getting it right from an APD point of view. Seems to be the luck of the draw. Some charge twice for domestic trips, some charge twice for international trips (especially badly treated are travellers to/from the Isle of Man where I happen to live) and some get it right (sometimes). I even got a double charge on a BA journey from Ronaldsway to New York connecting through London that had a £73 IOM UK APD (correct) PLUS a £13 UK APD – WTF? How can that ever be even a consideration?
    Apart from swear off travelling ever again – is there any sensible mode of attack that I can try? Small Claims Court is a PITA for somebody who doesn’t even live in the UK but I don’t see why lots of people should be ripped off in this fashion because airlines are too lazy to implement a correct solution or tes their systems.


    travelsforfun
    Participant

    I appreciate your frustration, based near an airport without a wide range of airlines/routes and requiring multiple flights with different carriers.

    Unfortunately, in this instance, I don’t think you will find you have a case against easyJet. From its inception, it has been central to its business model only to offer point-to-point travel (and avoid the complexities of connections) – even if customers are welcome to combine flights on a DIY basis.

    The APD rules are clear (Excise Notice 550: Air Passenger Duty, Section 4: Connected Flights – specifically Sub-section 4.4: Tickets):

    “The connected flights must be detailed on the same ticket or conjunction tickets to qualify for the exemption”

    “Although the flights may meet all the other criteria for determining whether 2 flights are connected, they will only qualify for the exemption if the connection is evidenced on the ticket or a flight summary.”

    Because easyJet do not sell any flights connecting with other flights, your self-booked connections are not covered by the APD exemption – indeed, easyJet systems would not record that you were making a connection, even if the two flights were booked at the same time. As such, the APD is applicable (and paid to the UK Government, as normal). easyJet may object to APD, but it is understandable that they follow the law until such time that it is changed.

    I can see why you might feel unfairly penalised by this state of affairs; alas, the only solution would be to stick to non-low-cost airlines offering true through-connection tickets through the UK (ensuring less than 24 hours between flights) or flying via other jurisdictions (e.g. changing planes in Dublin).

    Sorry if that’s not the answer you were after.


    Flyingfemme
    Participant

    In this case I booked on one ticket, one locator, paid for with a single credit card payment and the Easyjet itinerary specifies “flight 1 of 4”, “flight 2 of 4” etc. etc.
    British Airways is a full service airline that also can’t (always) get it right. They do sell though tickets and their APD charging is a dog’s breakfast.
    I’m just wondering how many people notice they are being ripped off.
    As for the “point to point” argument – is that some sort of marketing doublespeak or is it a condition of their AOC?


    penfold69
    Participant

    I appreciate your frustration, but you’ll probably find it is all tied up in the T&C’s, that they don’t sell connecting flights. I think you’ll be wasting your time trying to claim, but do let us know how it goes.


    Flyingfemme
    Participant

    I don’t think they are above the law.


    penfold69
    Participant

    I think they are following the law. Let us know what happens though.


    penfold69
    Participant

    2 flights on the same locator, going into and out of the same airport on the same day doesn’t make it a connecting flight.


    JAXBA
    Participant

    I wonder how U2 ‘ticket’ things, that is, if they issue tickets in the way that most airlines think of them and issue a document, or if they price flights individually and you simply had four flights in your ‘basket’ that were invoiced together. Sadly, being on one invoice or one itinerary isn’t the same as being on one ticket, and there’d be no way to reclaim the APD.


    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    I tried to replicate your itinerary Flyingfemme, on Easyjet’s website and found it impossible, so I wonder if you bought your ticket through an agent rather than directly on EZY’s website? I see a company called edreams offers flights with various airlines including TAP who may be a better bet next time. If you did then your gripe should be with them perhaps?

    If you did buy it with EZY directly then I question if it’s really worth the time, effort and trouble for £50. I understand the principle at stake here but I think EZY would win as their terms clearly state they are a point to point airline. Of course they may not contest it and just pay up but you would not have proved the point then, though you would be fifty quid better off…

    Even if you win they may appeal it, and I believe they can, and that could leave you horribly out of pocket. I know it seems unfair and it likely is, but it’s so difficult to fight these airlines that I’d put it down to experience and live to enjoy another day.


    Tallinnman
    Participant

    I’m curious to know if Easyjet remits all the APD to HM Government or are they pocketing half the ‘double’ charge. Not sure their terms and conditions can hide that?


    TimFitzgeraldTC
    Participant

    They don’t pocket any of the money as extras as they are separate contracts and thus separate amounts of APD is due. The fares are sold as point to point and as such the APD charging is correct. If you had booked a Faro – Gatwick – Edinburgh as a through ticket then only 1 amount of APD would be due. But as Easyjet don’t do through tickets then what they have charged is 100% correct.

    So you have no case against them and you’re wasting a huge amount of time and effort in pursuing it.

    On your BA IOM-LON-JFK routing that you mention. If it had been a through ticket then £73 would have been due. If you had 2 tickets as separate contract (IOM-LON return and LON-NYC return) then the charges are correct £73 + £13.


    Flyingfemme
    Participant

    LP – I booked on the Easyjet website. All at once. Got one confirmation, one itinerary, one locator. And the itinerary described itself as “flight 1 of 4” etc.
    According to the government rules only a “conjuncted” ticket is required to satisfy the requirement for one lot of APD.
    As a “foreigner” I’m not actually required to pay any UK APD at all when connecting through the UK. In the same way that a French passenger from Paris connecting to New York would not be liable………
    Whichever way you look at it – it is stealing. Other airlines are doing it as well…..even BA, who definitely offer “connecting options” on their booking website.


    Flyingfemme
    Participant

    TFTC – it was a single booking on the BA website – using their “connecting options”.
    Interestingly…..changing the first leg for a Paris-London flight the APD was correct.


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    According to the government rules only a “conjuncted” ticket is required to satisfy the requirement for one lot of APD.

    A conjunction ticket is a ticket that is issued together with another ticket as a single contract of carriage, it’s a throwback to the old days of ticket booklets which only had 4 coupons and had to be stapled in banks for complex itineraries.

    Extract from easyJet T&Cs – 3.1.6 easyJet is a point to point carrier and does not operate a connecting flight service for onward travel using Our Flights or the flights of other carriers. If You have booked an onward Flight with easyJet, this represents a separate contract of carriage.

    So the UK government requires connecting (or conjunction) tickets and easyJet doesn’t issue these.

    The fact that more than one flight exists on a ONR does not make then connecting or conjunction tickets – you can ‘no show’ on flight #1 on an easyJet itinerary and still fly #2 onwards, unlike single contract tickets, which are automatically cancelled.

    Unfortunately, there is no APD claim due.


    FaroFlyer
    Participant

    FDOS is correct. They are not truly “connecting” flights. I have failed to fly sector 1 of a 2 sector EZY ticket, and sector 2 was no problem as they are 2 bookings on 1 ticket. As I am sure you know, if you fail to make sector 1 of a true through 2 sector ticket then sector 2 is cancelled.

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