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'Airport Passenger Duty' (APD) fee now required to waitlist ex-UK with GPUs!

'Airport Passenger Duty' (APD) fee now required to waitlist ex-UK with GPUs!

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Old Mar 7, 12, 3:42 pm
  #1  
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'Airport Passenger Duty' (APD) fee now required to waitlist ex-UK with GPUs!

This is a change I do NOT like!

I waited to book my April IAD-LHR trip since there was no NC space and I figured I might as well wait until after the system migration was complete. Turns out this mistake is going to cost me.

The new site is now trying to charge me $61 USD in advance in order to WAITLIST the SWU. Apparantly paying a premium for an elligible fare is no longer enough extra revenue for UA.

See: http://imgur.com/SVm60

I know that there were anecdotal reports of being charged a similar fee ex-CDG on PMUA, but it was never in advance, and certainly not for a waitlist that has not cleared. I do not know how this worked on PMCO, but I certainly have NEVER been charged such a fee on PMUA, and seen no such notice prior to this point that I would be.
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Old Mar 7, 12, 4:03 pm
  #2  
 
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This APD a normal customs charge at Heathrow (and I assume any other UK airport) for any type of ticket. Doesn't have anything to do with the GPU waitlist.

http://customs.hmrc.gov.uk/channelsP...document#P1_33

All my pmUA LHR trips have this government charge on them. I honestly think you might be overlooking something from your past trips....maybe it was hidden in a broader fee category or something.
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Old Mar 7, 12, 4:14 pm
  #3  
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Originally Posted by johnmont View Post
This APD a normal customs charge at Heathrow (and I assume any other UK airport) for any type of ticket. Doesn't have anything to do with the GPU waitlist.

http://customs.hmrc.gov.uk/channelsP...document#P1_33

All my pmUA LHR trips have this government charge on them. I honestly think you might be overlooking something from your past trips....maybe it was hidden in a broader fee category or something.
This intinerary is already ticketed in Y, and yes, it includes the air passenger duty and other UK fees:

U.K. Air Passenger Duty: 102.90
U.K. Passenger Service Charge: 54.60

This is in addition to those fees and only shows up when I go to waitlist it with a GPU. (See screenshot in the OP). I have never paid an extra APD on PMUA when using a SWU.
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Old Mar 7, 12, 4:23 pm
  #4  
 
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NOT GOOD - this is the equivalent of the Chirac tax in France, gone across the channel to England!

Does any other airline charge for this for upgrade purposes using instruments/miles? Did PMCO do this, because I know PMUA didn't!

-jeremy
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Old Mar 7, 12, 4:40 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by kmfdm91 View Post
NOT GOOD - this is the equivalent of the Chirac tax in France, gone across the channel to England!

Does any other airline charge for this for upgrade purposes using instruments/miles? Did PMCO do this, because I know PMUA didn't!

-jeremy
LHR already had this sort of tax in place, and there were reports of it being collected at the gate or check-in IIRC if not the upgrade hadn't cleared in advanced.

However, the big deal is that UA is now collecting this fee up-front. Yeah, I'm sure they will refund it if you don't clear the upgrade--but this is still a negative change for long-time UA flyers.

It's the same situation as the copays for miles + copay upgrades, which UA also now collects up front--meaning you have to float UA an interest-free loan for up to several months at a time on the hope that your upgrade will eventually clear.
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Old Mar 7, 12, 4:47 pm
  #6  
 
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The extra tax for premium class passengers has been there for a long time, although HM Governments of all shades have been turning the screw relentlessly during recent years to a setting above and beyond the pain threshold. Hitherto, UA has been absorbing the substantial extra cost, which really was rather generous (or possibly disorganised) of them, whilst AA has been collecting it from upgraded passengers. I guess those days are now over . Another reason for not glancing over one's shoulder and contemplating a defection bites the dust, I guess.
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Old Mar 7, 12, 5:05 pm
  #7  
 
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This is a stupid post. Governments are shooting themselves in the foot by deterring travelers with high taxes, and you blame the carriers for collecting it?
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Old Mar 7, 12, 5:33 pm
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Originally Posted by smashr View Post

This is in addition to those fees and only shows up when I go to waitlist it with a GPU. (See screenshot in the OP). I have never paid an extra APD on PMUA when using a SWU.
Well then, I've been unlucky

I paid this the last two times through LHR using an SWU. This was in March of last year and also in November.

I did, however, misunderstand the fact you already booked in Y. I think what you ran into has to do with the new UA procedure of paying fees and charges at the time you book a waitlisted upgrade instead of when you clear. I read in another post they're collecting the co-pay at booking for mileage upgrades, even if you can't confirm. That's a bullsh-t change imho.
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Old Mar 7, 12, 5:40 pm
  #9  
 
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I've never paid this ex-LHR. Most recent upgrade to C was late December and there was no charge.
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Old Mar 7, 12, 6:27 pm
  #10  
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Originally Posted by 5khours View Post
This is a stupid post. Governments are shooting themselves in the foot by deterring travelers with high taxes, and you blame the carriers for collecting it?
Thank you for contributing to the positive discourse.

That being said, I contend this is not a "stupid post" for a number of reasons:

1. The tax is not new; UA passing it along to their customers is. You could argue that it was generous for them to cover it previously, however it is nonetheless a change. I contend that this further devalues SWU/GPUs as now in addition to buying up to minimum fare classes, we must cover taxes when the upgrade clears.

2. While other posters indicated they have paid it, in the past three years, I have flown in upgraded C ex-LHR around 8 times, clearing both in advance and at the gate/lounge, and have never been charged it.

3. Even if you ignore 1 and 2, UA is now collecting this fee upfront, and leaving it up to the customer to double check there is a refund, etc. A major
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Old Mar 7, 12, 6:59 pm
  #11  
 
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Another way to look at the issue is that when UA did not charge co-pays or higher-cabin duties until check-in passengers would rant and rave that they were told there would be no additional fees/taxes and either demand at the gate to be allowed into Business or First without paying it or insist on a refund after the fact. Now you make sure they know about it by having them pay up front through the website or reservations (the agent will have to disclose it because the new system won't store credit card info for humans to access so they have to ask for a credit card number to process the upgrade request). The passenger can no longer claim ignorance or that the agent told them they wouldn't have to pay anything extra.
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Old Mar 7, 12, 7:28 pm
  #12  
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Did PMUA ever charge increased APD on upgrades?

The issue, being obscured by some, is not whether UA charges APD! The issue is whether UA charges the difference in Y-cabin APD and F/C-cabin APD on a SWU upgrade.

I don't think UA was paying the extra tax for the passengers; instead, I think UA was simply not collecting the extra tax because it did not apply.

Unless UK law has been amended, the last time I checked, the laws governing the higher APD on premium-cabin fares exempts upgrades that the passenger does not pay for in cash. The laws even stated that, for example, if a passenger was upgraded from Y to C as a thank-you for purchasing a bottle of champagne, no additional APD was required to be collected for the C seat.
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Old Mar 7, 12, 8:10 pm
  #13  
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Assuming that miles/copay would also trigger the additional tax it's conceivable that a pax using this method would have their copay and APD tied held in UA's coffers for months.

1. Charge upfront and bank the money until (astute) pax request the refund
2. Chop miles from long held city pair distances
3 Profit

I'm no longer surprised at any moves by this company.
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Old Mar 7, 12, 8:47 pm
  #14  
 
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This is a really annoying "enhancement" of MP... I flew three times in NC out of LHR this year with PMUA and never had to pay the added tax (nor did I in 2011).

I already requalified for gold this year, and might still go for 1k, or platinum at least, to burn efficiently RDMs. But if the downgrade continues, the 2013 will be all on the dAArk side.
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Old Mar 7, 12, 9:13 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by CollegeFlyer View Post
Unless UK law has been amended, the last time I checked, the laws governing the higher APD on premium-cabin fares exempts upgrades that the passenger does not pay for in cash. The laws even stated that, for example, if a passenger was upgraded from Y to C as a thank-you for purchasing a bottle of champagne, no additional APD was required to be collected for the C seat.
Here are the rules - where does it refer to cash? Is it somewhere else that I've missed?



http://customs.hmrc.gov.uk/channelsP...yType=document

I don't see how it can be argued that an upgrade using SWU/GPU is at no cost to the passenger.

Regarding the logic about collecting at the time of request vs. at the airport, I had a long discussion with a CO station manager at a non-US airport about this in the past. The point he made was that CO used contracted ticket / gate agents in many airports (Servisair, etc) and the complexity associated with having agents like this trained to collect the right type of upgrade instrument and any associated taxes, etc. was a recipe for disaster. He pointed out that the overall experience for the passenger was likely to be better if this had been "cleared" in advance by a CO agent.

FYI, the "interest free loan" you're giving UA for a $61 difference in APD is worth about 46 cents to them if you request the upgrade 12 months in advance - just a thought
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