Tuesday, 8 September 2015


Dublin Airport, T2 in the foreground

Savvy Avios collectors will know that sometimes it can be advantageous to fly out of Dublin, rather than out of Heathrow. Clearly, for someone like myself who lives In Northern Ireland, this is a no brainer, but in fact it can sometimes make sense for people living in mainland UK to fly to Dublin, and then fly out of Dublin to their destination via Heathrow....and here is why.

UK Air Passenger Duty. All journeys that have a UK airport as their starting point have a tax applied called Air Passenger Duty (APD). This duty is levied based on two criteria, the distance band you are flying (less than 2001 Kilometres or more than 2000 kilometres) and the seat category you are flying in (Economy, or anything other than Economy). For a Business or First class flight of more than 2000 KMs, the APD for this year is £142 per person. Note that this is only levied on flights leaving the UK, not arriving. So, fly Heathrow to say Dubai in Business class, and each person will be charges £142, £284 for two people. However, start your journey in Dublin, Fly to Heathrow and then on to Dubai (on one ticket, with no overnight stay in London), and you won't pay that £142 per person.

There is however a lesser known benefit of flying out of Ireland.....

"Fuel Surcharge". Most Airlines levy an airline fee that is notionally separate from the airfare. Many call this a carrier surcharge, but BA refers to this as a "fuel surcharge". Now given that title, you'd reasonably expect that the further you fly, the more the charge is, but for black magic reasons known only to BA, that's not the case. I priced a first class flight, Heathrow to Dubai, one way. On examining the taxes and fees, I see the following:-
Fees for flying Heathrow to Dubai

If I price starting in Dublin, flying to Heathrow, and then getting on the exact same plane as above to Dubai, the taxes and fees breakdown becomes:-

Fees for flying Dublin-> Heathrow -> Dubai

The government fees drop by £148.18, most of that being the absence of the APD, however you'll see that the "fuel surcharge" for the longer journey has also dropped, and is now £99.30 instead of £134.50, a £35 saving

In total, you save £183.38 in taxes and fees, by starting your journey in Dublin, compared with starting your journey in London. In my personal situation, my other option woudlbe to fly out of Belfast to Heathrow to Dubai, and that would cost me £352 in fees. So £352 in fees from Belfast, or £140 from Dublin.

Dubai of course is not unique, you'll saving over £200 per person (£55 of which will be in reduced "fuel surcharge") on a 1-way biz/first flight to Los Angeles, if you begin your journey in Dublin rather than Heathrow.

You will of course be charged extra avios for the Dublin - Heathrow flight, in the above cases the difference is an extra 7700 avios. Also, if you are in Mainland GB, you do of course have to get initally to Dublin, but even allowing for that, there is still a potential to make a saving.

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