Britain Raises Departure Tax

Beginning February 1, travelers will face a doubled air passenger tax on all flights leaving Britain. The British government has decided to charge economy passengers on all short-haul domestic and European Union flights a departure tax of $20 at $2 to the pound, The New York Times reports. Business class and first class will pay $40. "Even more significant for American travelers is the long-haul tax on flights departing for locations outside Europe," writes reporter Jennifer Conlin. "Returning to the United States from London, for instance, economy passengers will now be charged GBP 40 (up from 20) and business and first-class clients will pay a tax of GBP 80." Too, the tax is applicable to tickets for travel after February 1, but bought before the tax was announced. However, some airlines, such as British Airways, are absorbing the cost for tickets bought prior to Dec. 13.