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Upgrades / SWUs / eVIPs and the UK APD / Air Passenger Duty questions

Old Jun 11, 2013, 10:40 am
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The U.K. Air Passenger Duty / APD is "a duty of Excise which is levied on the carriage, from a UK airport, of chargeable passengers on chargeable aircraft... The amount due is dependent on the final destination and class of travel of the chargeable passenger... The reduced rates apply where the passengers are carried in the lowest class of travel on any flight unless the seat pitch exceeds 1.016 metres (40 inches), in which case, whether there is one or more than one class of travel the standard rates apply." Link; PDF APD link. Those in transit and merely connecting in the UK are generally exempt.

The UK APD will be charged to passengers obtaining upgraded seats from the "discounted rate"; AA normally requires a credit card to pay the APD when granting an SWU or other upgrade for a light originating in the U.K.

As of 01 Apr 2013 the revised UK APD is:

. . . . ● Band A (0 to 2,000 miles) Ģ13 Reduced, Ģ26 Standard (no change)
. . . . ● Band B (2,001 to 4,000 miles) (e.g. USA, Canada): Reduced Ģ62, Standard Ģ134 (Ģ2 and Ģ4 increase)
. . . . ● Band C (4,001 to 6,000 miles): Reduced Ģ83, Standard Ģ166 (Ģ2 and Ģ4 increase)
. . . . ● Band D (over 6,000 miles): Reduced Ģ94, Standard Ģ188 (Ģ2 and Ģ4 increase)

Related threads:

UK APD / Air Passenger Duty and increases again - 1 Apr 2013

What's a Systemwide Upgrade SWU VIP eVIP SWUs, questions etc. (2012 on, consolidated)
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Upgrades / SWUs / eVIPs and the UK APD / Air Passenger Duty questions

Old Dec 7, 2012, 2:56 am
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Upgrades / SWUs / eVIPs and the UK APD / Air Passenger Duty questions

I seem to recall that AA - unlike some other airlines - charges the APD / luxury tax when upgrading from Y to J/C using eVIPs/SWUs ex-LHR, but couldnīt find any exact info anywhere.

1) Is this still the case?
2) Does AA also collect that tax when connecting in LHR, e.g. when flying FRA-LHR-JFK? (The UK government doesnīt collect the APD for connecting pax, so AA would be making a nice profit.)

Thanks in advance!
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 3:02 am
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Originally Posted by Jasper2009
I seem to recall that AA - unlike some other airlines - charges the APD / luxury tax when upgrading from Y to J/C using eVIPs/SWUs ex-LHR, but couldnīt find any exact info anywhere.

1) Is this still the case?
2) Does AA also collect that tax when connecting in LHR, e.g. when flying FRA-LHR-JFK? (The UK government doesnīt collect the APD for connecting pax, so AA would be making a nice profit.)

Thanks in advance!
You can also read this thread: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...solidated.html

1) Any intinerary departing the United Kingdom is assessed the luxury tax if seated in a premium cabin. For example, if you started in EDI or MAN you would still be subject to the tax. France has a similar policy but I believe the tax is slightly lower.

2) No. Transiting at LHR and on to the US will not be assessed the tax.

And I believe since the merger UA is now charging the tax too, before the merger PM-UA covered the tax but now it's passed onto the traveler/upgrade sponsor.

Last edited by JDiver; Jun 11, 2013 at 10:47 am Reason: hange thread link reference
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 3:23 am
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Thanks for the fast response.

Iīm aware of how the APD works, I was just wondering whether the AA agents all knew the rules and treated connecting pax accordingly or just imposed a flat fee to everyone.

Btw, do you have any experience with getting the upgrade at the airport (when the upgrade didnīt clear before) as a connecting pax? I read a few posts where pax were refused the upgrade because the agents couldnīt handle the tax / there was no time to go to the ticket counter. Do the airport agents upgrade connecting pax (as no tax is due)?
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 4:10 am
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1) Any confirmed upgrade to a higher cabin using an instrument triggers an increased APD
2) This is a regulated tax. An airline cannot just collect and pocket it. Most reservation systems are programmed in such a way so the tax is calculated automatically.

Operational upgrades are exempt from APD. A confirmed upgrade at check-in would trigger an increased APD for an LHR originating passenger but not for a connecting passenger.
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 6:28 am
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Originally Posted by Jasper2009
Thanks for the fast response.

Iīm aware of how the APD works, I was just wondering whether the AA agents all knew the rules and treated connecting pax accordingly or just imposed a flat fee to everyone.
Yes, of course. They've been doing this for quite a while and are well-versed in the distinctions between originating and connecting passengers....although sometimes a reminder is necessary. This is very standard. Had there been any large-scale violation of this, it would surely be big news here and easily found.

Cheers.
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Old Jun 6, 2013, 7:52 pm
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I understand higher APD/luxury is triggered ex-LHR in a premium cabin, i.e. clearing a SWU upgrade. However, what if I route LHR-MAD-DFW, with LHR-MAD in BA Y and upgrade MAD-DFW in J using a SWU. Will that trigger the higher tax as I'm technically departing LHR in Y?
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Old Jun 6, 2013, 10:13 pm
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Originally Posted by dat4life
I understand higher APD/luxury is triggered ex-LHR in a premium cabin, i.e. clearing a SWU upgrade. However, what if I route LHR-MAD-DFW, with LHR-MAD in BA Y and upgrade MAD-DFW in J using a SWU. Will that trigger the higher tax as I'm technically departing LHR in Y?
The full rate of APD should apply in that case. Whether there's a hiccup and they fail to collect it is another matter, but the rule is to look at the most significant portion of the journey or something to that effect.
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Old Jun 6, 2013, 11:25 pm
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Originally Posted by mtkeller
The full rate of APD should apply in that case. Whether there's a hiccup and they fail to collect it is another matter, but the rule is to look at the most significant portion of the journey or something to that effect.
The full rate does apply in this case

The rule is nothing to do with significance

On a journey where APD is due :

If *any* part of the journey up to the next stopover point / end of journey is in anything other than a cabin that is eligable for the reduced rate, then the full rate applies

LHR-MAD-DFW in Y/J will either have

Reduced rate APD applicable for just LHR-MAD if the passenger stops for >24 hours in Madrid

Full rate APD applicable for LHR-DFW if the passenger only transits in MAD

Last edited by JDiver; Jun 11, 2013 at 10:48 am Reason: highlight crucial language
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Old Jun 6, 2013, 11:39 pm
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Originally Posted by Jasper2009
Btw, do you have any experience with getting the upgrade at the airport (when the upgrade didnīt clear before) as a connecting pax? I read a few posts where pax were refused the upgrade because the agents couldnīt handle the tax / there was no time to go to the ticket counter. Do the airport agents upgrade connecting pax (as no tax is due)?
When you call to apply the SWU, the agent should collect payment information for the APD in the event that it clears. If not, ask about it when you call.
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Old Jun 11, 2013, 10:13 am
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Mailed receipt for LHR APD

A few weeks ago I used a SWU for LHR->DFW that didn't clear until after check-in. Yesterday I get in the mail a hand written envelope from the UK containing a receipt for the extra APD (on the standard ticket/BP paper).

Is it just me that thinks that in the day and age of e-tickets and electronic receipts this is a rather inefficient way of doing things?
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Old Jun 11, 2013, 1:37 pm
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Originally Posted by dmsdfw
A few weeks ago I used a SWU for LHR->DFW that didn't clear until after check-in. Yesterday I get in the mail a hand written envelope from the UK containing a receipt for the extra APD (on the standard ticket/BP paper).

Is it just me that thinks that in the day and age of e-tickets and electronic receipts this is a rather inefficient way of doing things?
More work to scan it and then email manually than just post plus, if the person did do that, then the complaint could be that AA wouldn't provide an original receipt but just a scan
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 11:00 am
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Originally Posted by dat4life
I understand higher APD/luxury is triggered ex-LHR in a premium cabin, i.e. clearing a SWU upgrade. However, what if I route LHR-MAD-DFW, with LHR-MAD in BA Y and upgrade MAD-DFW in J using a SWU. Will that trigger the higher tax as I'm technically departing LHR in Y?
Despite the rules, my guess is that if it does not clear till departure, you will probably not get charged.
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 11:10 am
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Originally Posted by nbevan
Despite the rules, my guess is that if it does not clear till departure, you will probably not get charged.
I think it is hit and miss. As you will see from my post a few above yours, I've recently been charged it on an upgrade that didn't clear until after T-2, but I've also not been charged it in the past on upgrades that have cleared at a similar time.
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 11:34 am
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Originally Posted by dmsdfw
I think it is hit and miss. As you will see from my post a few above yours, I've recently been charged it on an upgrade that didn't clear until after T-2, but I've also not been charged it in the past on upgrades that have cleared at a similar time.
I have always been charged for last minute SWU upgrades out of LHR, but probably more miss than hit when flying via MAD:
Originally Posted by dat4life
However, what if I route LHR-MAD-DFW, with LHR-MAD in BA Y and upgrade MAD-DFW in J using a SWU. Will that trigger the higher tax as I'm technically departing LHR in Y?
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 1:37 pm
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Welp, I found a way around it. I bought a multi city ticket for DFW-LHR//LIS-LHR-DFW. Even after buying a BA Y ticket (doing BA 500/501 direct turnaround) to get to LIS, my total cost was $200 lower than if I did a DFW-LHR r/t. And that's in addition to the APD savings. Since C space was open, I applied SWUs ahead of time with no issues.

I'm on leisure trip, so time really isn't a big deal. It only really cost me a couple of extra hours for a few hundred dollars savings, which is worth it to me.

It was not about the cost of the extra APD to me. It's my reluctance of paying sort of unnecessary tax
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