Thomas Cook is to pay Air Passenger Duty on all longhaul bookings as part of a three-week promotion to boost early sales for winter and next summer.
The offer, which will save a couple travelling to Mexico this winter £162 and a family of four travelling to Florida next year £268, will be advertised across the company’s 1,100 Thomas Cook and Co-operative Travel stores and online.
Savings of up to £83 per person will be available for any of the group’s longhaul packages booked between August 24 and September 13 for departures between November 1, 2012 and October 31, 2013. It is valid on any Thomas Cook, Thomas Cook Style Collection and Airtours holiday booked in store or online.
APD will rise in April next year by the rate of inflation and has been heavily opposed by the trade, including Thomas Cook. This will mean an increase of £2 on economy flights to Florida, from £65 to £67, part of Band B, and for flights to the Caribbean, from £81 to £83 (Band C). Flights further afield (Band D) will also go up by £2 from £92 to £94 while APD will remain at £13 on shorthaul flights.
A spokeswoman said the company would absorb the cost as part of a promotion to highlight the “extortionate” amount of departure tax paid on holidays as well as to boost early bookings.
She 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 that at a time when they could – and should – be doing all they can to lessen the strain on hard working families, they are yet again making the consumer pay.”
Sample prices for packages covered by the offer include 14 nights in Cuba from £980 per person at the four-star all-inclusive Sol Rio De Luna in Guardalavaca at the Sol Rio De Luna, Guardalavaca, flying out of Manchester on November 28, 2012, with Thomas Cook, and seven nights room-only at the four-star Doubletree Universal Resort, Orlando, from £799 per adult and £399 per child, departing Gatwick on May 10, also with Thomas Cook.
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