How to Avoid Paying Huge Taxes on International Flights
Although passengers are quick to blame airlines for outrageous ticket prices and obnoxious fees, the government often deserves just as much blame. Government taxes and surcharges levied by international airports and governments can sometimes double the cost of a ticket. To avoid these charges, carefully select your connection airports and stopover countries.
Look for direct flights. All international flights will incur a series of U.S. taxes for everything from sales tax to customs. An additional charge is levied for each segment, and to avoid it, try flying directly. These standard taxes add up to $54 on a direct flight and $68 on a one-stop flight, according to the Airlines Reporting Corporation, at time of publication.
Check alternate airports. If no direct flight is available from your closest departure airport, try a larger "hub" airport, if possible. You might be able to avoid a layover and reduce the fees associated with one-stop or two-stop travel.
Avoid landing in the UK on an international flight from outside Europe. Beyond the fees charged for leaving and re-entering the U.S., governments of foreign countries will also charge international arrival and departure fees, but some country fees are greater than others for flights coming from the U.S. The UK has some of the highest international travel taxes for flights to and from the country outside Europe. Even if you want to vacation in London, it may be wise to fly from the U.S. to nearby Ireland, where arrivals from the U.S. are charged at only a quarter of the price of London airports. From Ireland, fly from an EU-based carrier to London for a fraction of the taxes.
Compare taxes to different destinations in different countries. Whether you are flying to Europe, Asia, Africa or Oceania, taxes can vary among not only countries, but airports, too. Compare the airport taxes associated with Sydney to those of Melbourne. Look at flying into Berlin rather than Frankfurt. And, if a city has two airports, check them both and compare the taxes and fees on top of the cost of the ticket. Just as in searching for ticket prices, avoiding heavy taxes is a matter of price comparison and understanding the trends.