Skift Take

A novel way to get additional customers for the troubled travel agency, while protesting and highlighting the APD that's been riling up everyone in the industry.

UK travel agency giant Thomas Cook is to waive Air Passenger Duty (APD) on thousands of long-haul holidays in an attempt to highlight the extent to which travellers are being taxed.

The tour operator will launch the three-week promotion, which could save a family of four up to £324, later this month.

It will be valid on all long-haul packages booked between August 24 and September 13, for travel between November 1, 2012 and October 31, 2013.

Following the most recent rise in APD, an eight per cent hike increase in April, a family of four travelling to Europe must pay £52 in tax, while those flying farther afield are hit even harder. Thomas Cook’s offer will save £268 for a family of four travelling to Florida, for example, or £324 to the Caribbean or Mexico.

A spokesman for Thomas Cook urged the Government to reconsider further increases to APD, which are planned next year

“We’re committed to offering our customers the very best value for money and strenuously voice our disappointment to the Government about the increases to flight tax,” he said. “Our offer just highlights the extortionate amount holidaymakers have to pay while hopefully making long haul getaways more accessible.”

He added: “The Government has steadfastly refused to listen to any of the arguments that the travel industry has presented on this tax and it is a great shame at a time when they could – and should – be doing all they can to lessen the strain on hard working families.”

Virgin Atlantic ran a similar offer last month on selected flights to Cancun.

Both Virgin and Thomas Cook are part of the Fair Tax on Flying campaign, a coalition of airlines and travel companies that are urging the Government to rethink its policy on aviation tax.

Last month it launched a new website which it hopes will encourage Britons to register their opposition to APD. Visitors to the website,, are asked to enter their postcode, name and email address. A template email is then automatically sent to their local MP expressing disapproval at the “unacceptable” level of tax paid by travellers flying from the UK. So far nearly 100,000 people have used the website.


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Tags: thomas cook, uk

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