Airport tax refund
Just missed your flight? Or canceled your ticket because you were sick? Don’t get ripped of by your travel agent or airline when they say that the ticket is 100% non-refundable!
Probably ONLY the FARE is non-refundable! The airport taxes imposed by governments and local authorities are ALWAYS refundable. The only thing is; airlines and travel agents won’t tell you this because the make a huge amount of money by keeping those taxes for themselves.
Airlines have to publish the amount of passengers, cargo and mail to the arrival and departing airport, so those airport can calculate the exact amount of taxes and charges. Hence; the airlines are charged by the EXACT amount of passengers actually flown. If you didn’t fly, your airline doesn’t have to pay your taxes to the airports. That’s not a crime of course, but, they also refuse to refund those taxes automatically to you.
Only if you ask for it, they might refund the airport taxes to you. Although you would have a hard time to tell this to the outsourced call-centre agent in India, since he only sticks to his script. And refund airport taxes is not on his list of course.
How they airlines work:
Let’s say you’re holding a ticket with airline ABC from Paris to New York. The booking of this flight is 300 passengers. But eventually only 285 passengers show up, leaving 15 seats empty.
The airline publish its statistics to the airports of Paris and New York and airline ABC receives an invoice for 285 passengers.
However, airline ABC already received for 300 passengers the fare and the taxes. Depending on the fare rules of the ticket, your ticket might be refundable. But in this example you are holding a ticket with the cheapest fare base and the rules don’t allow you to get a refund on the fare. But what happens with 15 x airport taxes? Nothing! Airline ABC keeps those taxes! Again, this is not illegal, since the airlines created their own policies and regulations. And the policies state that ‘the passenger is eligeble to get a refund for airport taxes, if the the passenger asks for it’.
And this is where things go wrong: ‘IF’ the passenger asks for it. But if the passenger is not asking for a refund, airline ABC keeps the money. And airlines are not really willing to tell you that you can get a refund of those taxes of course. That’s exactly the reason why they tell you that the fare rules don’t allow you a refund if you cancel your ticket. So, airlines are not lying to you, they just only tell what they want you to know.
Now, why all this buzz about a few bucks of airport taxes? Here it comes: At Amsterdam Airport Schiphol airlines are holding on average an amount of 30.000 euro of taxes of passenger who don’t show up. Daily!
On Londons’ Heathrow airport it’s even more: 55.000 euro a day!
And this is YOUR money. And you are entitled to get this back.
How to get your money back?
Simply ask for it! Airlines and OTA’s (Online Travel Agencies) have contact centers and are available via e-mail, telephone and social media. The best way to get your airport tax is via e-mail, so you have everything documented and airlines can never say that they ‘didn’t say to or promised to you’.
The first reply you’ll get is probably that your ticket is non-refundable and that therefore a refund of airport taxes is not possible. But keep pushing! Reply that you are not asking for a refund of your ticket, but for a refund of AIRPORT TAXES ONLY. And airport taxes are ALWAYS refundable.
A few things to keep in mind:
-Have you booked your ticket directly with an airline? Contact them! If you booked a ticket via a (online) travel agent we cannot help you unfortunately. Contact your travel agent instead.
-A lot of airlines deduct the refund with an admin fee of € 25 or even more. Save your time and only ask for a refund if airport taxes are clearly more than € 25.
-If you are holding an Easyjet, Ryanair or FlyBe ticket; keep in mind that those airlines have commercial deals with several airports and are not always paying airport taxes. If you didn’t pay airport taxes, you obviously can’t get a refund.
Unfortunately we are not able to assist individuals with airport tax refunds since we only work with travel insurance companies. If you are requesting a refund for your airport taxes, contact the ‘point of issue’ of your ticket. This is the channel via which you bought the ticket. So if you purchased your ticket via a travel agent, contact them. If you purchased your ticket via the website of the airline, contact the airline!