Refunding taxes

Back to Forum

This topic contains 70 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  NTarrant 16 Sep 2011
at 21:00

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 71 total)

  • Anonymous


    I understand that a non-refundable ticket is … not reimbursed if not used. What’s about the taxes? While some airlines are reluctant to refund them, they should IMV have to oblige. As they should have to refund the fuel surcharges. Any view on this?


    From my understanding airport taxes are refundable, but sadly airlines make it difficult to claim and also have admin charges which are greater that the amount being claimed. BA will refund you back your fuel but only if you have to have a fully-flex ticket.

    also read this

    Participant gives also some hindsight. The point is if airlines want to treat this as a tax, then they should refund it when unused. But I fell they want it all. It is a surcharge when we use our miles but not when we want a refund…


    Airlines should be forced by law to refund all surcharges and taxes automatically if the ticket is unused. The airline’s computer knows what tickets were sold and if they were used, so could process the refunds with little or no human involvement.


    I have cut and pasted the details below, which I am afraid has not made it very easy to read.

    This ticket is a fully flex ticket so a refund, if necerssary shouldbe made. However, if it was not fully flex, would a passenger have some rather itneresting add ons refunded. Please note:

    1. Security bag charge – interesting because I will not even have hand luggage on this flight

    2. Council City tax – is this new

    3.Embarkation tax – why should there be a tax for boarding an aircraft for which a ticket has been purchased

    4. Passenger service charge – is this a new form of compulsory tipping. I am not quite sure I understand what this cost is for

    5. Passenger service charge Thailand – how on earth do the Thai authorities account for this money.

    6. and the list goes on.

    In todays Daily Express, the pensions industry got a front page hammering for invisble charges and fees that customers were totally unaware of – is this any different. I am sure the airlines and airports will somehow justify these charges, except when a restricted ticket needs a refund.

    I would love to hear any sort of justification for making these charges becasue it seems to me that this practise is on the verge of over charging.

    Ticket Number(s) 125

    Card Type
    Card Holder
    Card Number
    Payment Total
    Flight tickets issued by British Airways, Rome, Italy
    IATA Number
    Fare Details

    Fare breakdown The price of your ticket includes a security and insurance surcharge and a fuel surcharge per sector levied by the carrier.

    Where applicable, if you wish to change the date or time of your flight, or cancel your booking, the cost of doing so will generally be lower on than over the telephone or at a ticket desk. Service charges are subject to change. For further details and a list of the current charges, please visit:

    Government, authority and airport charges Per adult
    Italy Passenger Service Charge – Italy EUR0.58
    Security Bag Charge – Italy EUR2.07
    Council City Tax – Italy EUR4.50
    Embarkation Tax – Italy EUR5.56
    Security Charge – Italy EUR1.81
    Passenger Service Charge – United Kingdom EUR44.80
    Passenger Service Charge (Domestic) – Thailand EUR16.59
    Total government, authority and airport charges* EUR75.91
    > More information

    British Airways fees and surcharges Per adult
    Fuel Surcharge** EUR409.00
    Insurance and Security Surcharge** EUR12.00
    Total British Airways fees and surcharges EUR421.00
    > More information

    Total taxes, fees and surcharges per person EUR496.91

    *Government and/or airport taxes are refundable, however some countries will apply a Value Added Tax, Sales Tax or equivalent, which will only be refunded on fully flexible tickets.

    **In line with the fare rules, a refund of insurance, security and fuel surcharges can be made on fully flexible tickets only with unused flights in your itinerary.

    Why refunds are only permitted on fully flex tickets is something I dont quite undersatnd, but I am sure that someone out there will understand.


    It seems that airlines are using the taxes, fees and charges as a marketing tool when calculating ticket prices.

    That is why the suggestion by Bucksnet, as logical as it appears, is impractical unless the carriers change the way they construct their ticket prices. What it means is that you, the traveller, would qualify for flexible travel arrangements but yet pay only a tiny fare or none at all.

    For example, EI is currently advertising one-way fares from LGW to DUB for £19.99. The fare element of that is zero. In other words, if all the taxes/fees/charges were refunded it means you could qualify for a “flexible” ticket for just £19.99.

    Another example would be AF from LHR to ATH via CDG. According to Opodo, a return ticket for travel in November costs as little as £157 of which all but £1 are taken up with taxes/fees/charges.

    Or how about BA ? Opodo quotes £404 for LHR-JFK return in November … the fare element is £90, the rest is taxes/fees/charges.


    Um… the EI offer is interesting. The reality is that a single flight from LGW to DUB can be bought for a zero fare, plus £19.99 for taxes etc, plus £6 (nonrefundable) booking fee – so a total cost of £25.99

    However, if by some misfortune you have to cancel before the date of travel, you get caught for a € 20 admin charge. (about £18) So all you would get back would be £1.99. Fair ? debatable.

    Consider a similar scenario. You buy an item in the sales from a high street store. You get it home and decide it isn’t quite what you wanted. You still retain all the original packaging plus the reciept so you take it back to the shop. The store may be a bit sniffy about offering a refund, but will usually have no problem with giving you a credit note.

    Now let’s look at the cheap ticket deal and see what it would cost if you wanted to just change the date of travel. Remember, the original ticket cost was £25.99. The change fee is €40 (about £36).


    there are only 2 possible outcomes:

    1. That fare structures are Regulated, which may result in new rules, but the cost will no doubt be returned to the passenger, thereby probably increasing costs

    2. Airlines play fair

    3. I leave option 3 open for suggestions…………………….

    It seems that the travel business is an open check book for the providers to do what they want, how they want and when they want and the bigger joke is that we all continue to pay!


    3. Force airlines to automatically refund charges/taxes on non-refundable tickets that are not used and their income from this source will drop, therefore they will have to structure their ticket prices in a proper manner.

    This could mean, for example, that BA drop their fuel surcharge and just incorporate the cost in the normal fare.


    MartynSinclair, there was a time when the airlines could not do what they liked (in terms of pricing). You may remember that, until the late 1970s when IATA had teeth, there was no flexibility at all in pricing.

    Fares were set by IATA then rubber-stamped by governments. Woo betide any carrier or travel agent who dared to undercut the official IATA-approved rate. Airlines risked stiff fines while travel agents would lose their IATA licence to trade.

    So today’s fares jungle, as confusing and unfair as it might appear, does provide the customer with an overall better deal.

    Fares have tumbled massively and the cheap flights we take for granted nowadays simply did not exist in the days when IATA had the power to enforce prices.

    To give one example … in the mid-1970s the cheapest return economy class fare between London and Tokyo was just over £800. There was no business or premium economy classes in those days and no promotional fares of any type.

    Today a non-stop flight on that route, with a reputable airline, is often available for £600 or less.


    Agree with Bucksnet. It would force them to play a fair game. We would probably pay for it, probably when redeeming miles. But at least it would be clear.


    Thanks Martyn for again demonstrating that the surcharges taken by carriers far exceed the taxes levied by nations.
    Secondly with regard to changes this is unlikely. It is policy at BA to continue with surcharges because they apply to all tickets. Simply changing fares will not apply to redemption bookings for example.
    As a result you now have the ludicrous situation where lhr Cai return is priced at 43 return but the fees are 5 times more. It is an outrage and ripe for investigation.


    For inexpensive flights on AF/Cityjet from LCY to Amsterdam, or KLM LHR- Amsterdam, If i have ever had to cancel, all fees charged have always been refunded in full, less the flight fare.
    If the KLM fare is £99 return and the total charges £96, this is what i get back. It is also decent to let them know when calling, that you want to free up the seat for them also, so they can re-sell it, this always goes down well, and is appreciated with a bit more flexibility!

    The higher the fare the more you lose, unless it is part flexible as pointed out above. KLM and Cityjet by booking direct with them, and calling them direct, with a mention of the Gold card, has always secured the odd refund without any levies or admin charges made, unlike other Airlines.
    This is pretty decent of them, compared to others like BA, and the low cost carriers.

    Better in your pocket, but I am sure the EU has a Regulation on this, but the Airlines can charge an admin fee. I think Alex covered this sometime ago in one article…


    Well, Marcus, this is precisely with KLM I am dealing with now… Trying to get CHF 200 * 4 back (this is about USD 1’000).

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 71 total)
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
BTUK June 2018
BTUK June 2018
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below