WARNING: Some UK and IE Airports Charging Unannounced Departure Taxes

April 20, 2008

in Airports, Europe, Information, Travel, United Kingdom

A short warning from the road for anyone who may be considering booking cheap flights to Cornwall: the Newquay airport charges an extra £5 tax on departures which is 1) neither included in your ticket price 2) nor avoidable, as you must present your paid receipt in order to go through security. The fee must be paid at one of two ticket machines in the tiny check-in area.

I find this a dishonest tactic, though it sadly appears it may become a trend across the UK and Ireland. According to the article, Norwich airport has introduced a £3 fee for adults and £1 for children under 15 (at Newquay, all passengers under 16 are not charged a fee). The informational flyer on this “development fee” from Newquay suggests that Knock and Kerry airports in Ireland are also considering adding such fees. In fact, the Knock airport website states that passengers will now pay an additional €10 fee! Have you run into these surprise taxes anywhere else? Leave a comment below!

Airlines flying into Newquay have reduced flights and criticized the airport in response to the tax, which was introduced in 2005. They argue it is unfair to passengers and goes against the principles of all-inclusive pricing in air tickets — and I am inclined to agree. How can a customer fairly compare options when such taxes fly under the radar? And while £5 won’t break the bank, it certainly seems large, given the €1.51 fare I paid — effectively quintupling the price of my ticket! I encourage anyone disagreeing with such policies of an airport to be certain to file a complaint, either by letter or comment card.

Address your letters to:
Newquay Cornwall Airport
St. Mawgan
United Kingdom

Norwich International Airport
Amsterdam Way
United Kingdom

Kerry Airport PLC
Farranfore, Killarney
Co. Kerry

Ireland West Airport Knock
Charlestown, Co. Mayo

{ 2 trackbacks }

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jaimie 04.20.08 at 11:08 pm

Yes, they do this at Vancouver airport in BC Canada. I think the fee is either $12 or $15 Canadian (approx 5-6 UK pounds). It’s really annoying.

2 Dana 04.22.08 at 6:57 pm

As I recall, they had departure fees at some small airports, and possibly some large bus stations when I was traveling around Chile and Peru. (Mostly in Peru? That whole trip becomes a blur of borders.) I recall it being annoying because it was unclear which ones did and which ones didn’t, but it also seemed like people just accepted it as normal and we were only surprised by it because we weren’t from there.

3 James 04.23.08 at 12:52 am

I believe the fee is charged at some of the smaller Irish airports in order to support infrastructural development and running costs. These airports are dependant on low cost carriers which demand low operating fees and wouldn’t allow the fee be included in their published fares, so the money has to be collected on departure. It does seem unfair if you haven’t been told up-front when booking. For example BMI Baby, XL and Ryanair have a banner at the top of all booking pages flying to Ireland West – Knock.

4 poetloverrebelspy 04.24.08 at 10:59 am

Just to be clear, I don’t have a problem with airports taxing (within reason) for their infrastructure needs — I *do* have a problem with that tax not being included in my price, 1) because I am no longer comparing potential destinations accurately and 2) because if RyanAir pays the taxes and fees on my ticket, they have thus avoided this one!

I ran into locals online and in person who stood behind the tax, because they want to make sure their airport stays open. I can absolutely understand this. I simply feel it is dishonest to catch travelers unawares.

I left a comment card at Newquay, but I will send them an email and try to find out specifically why this tax isn’t included in the booking price and will update when I receive a reply.

5 G Barry Higgs 09.06.08 at 11:33 am

I ran into this tax at Norwich yesterday. As it was a stealth tax and not up front advertised, I refused to pay it.

I was allowed through but told I am now persona non grata at Norwich Airport ad will not be allowed to use it any more. Big stick treatment in a “free” country

6 Trev 01.05.09 at 1:10 pm

there is a saying that goes, pay back caesar’s things to caesar…..the modern day “caesar” in the uk is “gordon brown”…..as much as we all deep down hate the tax system, we all have to pay it.
but i can’t help feeling a certain amount of resentment at having to pay taxes just to fly on a airplane.
if i have already paid for my flight etc, why do i have to pay more to the government?

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