The decision by some airlines to claim Gordon Brown's increase in air passenger duty from passengers who paid fares before it was announced is another example of the risks of do it yourself holiday booking. However they feel about the airlines' action - and some consumers will think it outrageous - those affected would have been largely protected if they had booked packages.
Under the Package Travel Regulations, tour operators must absorb unforeseen costs such as this up to 2% of the holiday price and are not permitted to add extra charges qithin 30 days of departure. That means that in most cases, the operator must bear the cost, not the customer. Inevitably the increase will work its way through to consumers in future package prices but at least they will not be put upon in the same manner as scheduled travellers. That said, it is mighty unfair to put tour operators at such a disadvantage vis a vis scheduled carriers. Of course the whole issue would not have arisen had not the Government, in its desperate haste to appear green, imposed such an ill thought out measure.
This is yet another example of the way successive Governments, left, right or centre, have failed dismally to appreciate the needs of the travel industry and its customers.