Not only can but already have done.
Passengers will have to pay up to 55 per cent more tax on flights from Monday when the Air Passenger Duty hike comes into effect.
Despite protests from airlines and countries who believe the tax banding system is unfair, the increase will come into effect, potentially pushing the price of family holidays up by hundreds of pounds.
Now my objection to this is an objection in principle. They might as well piss on the graves of Orville and Wilbur who of course believed aviation to be a good thing. We keep on hearing from government about how we live in a fully connected globalised world. Well, I grok that obviously because I couldn’t take a posidrive to the Cats server without going to Queensland. This appalling tax-hike has just made that a little less likely and made the world for the first time since Richard Trevithick invented a moving kettle rather a bigger place. At least for ordinary folks.
Now in case you’re wondering this would apply to Cats coming over here too – he’d have to pay his bit for the return portion of his flight. Yes, dear reader visiting Britain from abroad is also becoming more expensive and especially so for long-haul tourists who drop the most monies. Of course they do! Do I have to explain why?
This is madness. Tourism is a major part of our economy.
It is also madness compounded by slap-dash incompetence (or to give it it’s short title, “government”. Those bands are worked out based on the distance of the destination country’s capital city and not how far you actually go. So, the heavily tourist dependent Caribbean nations are not happy. They are not happy that the entire USA squeeks in at Band B whereas they’re Band C. And I mean the entire USA – including Hawaii and Alaska.
A few sundry points…
From the Mail Q&A:
What happens if I already have a flight booked? Will I be charged extra?
You already have been. If you are flying after November 1, the extra tax will have already been added on to your bill.
Is that legal? Certainly it’s neither fair nor right.
Are children exempt?
Afraid not. Anyone who takes up a seat on a plane will be charged, no matter what their age.
Isn’t travel supposed to broaden the mind? When I was a kid in the ’80s foreign holidays were common-place for me and my contemporaries (and I went to a school that was generally income-wise pretty standard lower middle-class) so I do wonder for the future. I mean really is this a “Green” tax or just a way to keep the Tarquins and Cressidas from mingling with the Daves and Debbies on the beach? We tasted mass-market air-travel then and really got our teeth into it with EasyJet et. al. that made flying half-way across the continent cheaper than getting a train from Newcastle to London but they hated it. This fixed level tax (like the Scottish minimum price per alcohol unit) is disproportionately attacking the less well-off. Our self-appointed “elite” (now that’s a fucking misnomer!) are just pulling the drawbridge up. Perhaps more seriously they do much the same with housing.
So will this be the last tax increase for a while?
Unfortunately there may be more on the way. The current government wants to double the revenue it earns from aviation tax in the next four years from £28.9bn to more than £56bn. Of course, extra costs to airlines eventually find their way to customers too.
That’s near enough a grand for every man, woman and child in this country! It’s appalling. The older I get the more I look back on the ’80s and early ’90s as a time of progress in many ways. We now seem to be getting less for more (apart from in consumer electronics which carries on apace because Whitehall wouldn’t know an HDMI connector if you shoved it up their collective arses). There are though moves afoot to censor the internet via the juggernaut of peadostyria.
Oh, and it shall get even worse than that. We haven’t even fully implemented carbon-trading schemes yet.
Goodbye skies! Nice knowing you. The upper-air shall belong to our Lords and Masters leaving their righteous contrails. It’s feudalism with electricity – until the power goes off. It’s John Lumic scheming schemes in his dirigible high above the lumpen proletariat. It’s Plato’s “Noble Lie”*. It is power and continuity Not chaos and invention. It is small “c” conservativism in a self-fulfilling way. Of course it’s easy to see the proles as “lumpen” if by your own lights you prevent them being any different**. Our “elites” fear change. They’ve got it all right and they fear change. They certainly have feared “ordinary” people getting on aircraft and going abroad and seeing different things. They want to maintain a status quo. T’was ever thus and they only pretended it would change. Look at the composition of the Tory cabinet. Look at the fact the Labour leadership elections came down to Millidumb and Millidumber. Forget the Lib Dems – I have. Look at what they all did to Freddie Laker and are now doing to Stelios Haji-Ioannou. Know Your Place! Ordinary people going to America! It must be stopped!
What ultimately they are doing is redefining flying as a luxury which in the C21st it shouldn’t be. That for me is a betrayal of civilization and that is a crime of absolute vileness unquantifiable.
If I may make so bold it is the same mentality which arguably delayed the Industrial Revolution hundreds if not well over a thousand years. The status quo “benefits” the unimaginative rich. They lack the “vision thing”. Perhaps the apotheosis of the industrial revolution was the Model-T Ford (they hate cars – apart from their own of course – which they grudgingly “need”***). (oddly enough the band Status Quo have lived up to their name by knocking out the same old for perhaps thirty-five years). But Ford’s greatest innovation was not the production line but the idea that the guys on the production line making his motors could afford to buy one. That is the consumer society. That was more revolutionary than anything Lenin thought of (and it spiked the wheel of Karl’s Penny-Farthing so badly he’s still trying to disentangle that badger sequestrating beard from the spokes) and according to our “elites” a very bad thing. Just listen to almost any speech by our own dear Prince of Wails. That’s the mentality and he has the RAF to fly him around. His brother Andy even has them to helicopter him up to Scotland when he fancies a round of golf!
As I said this is an objection in principle. They say a picture says a thousand words. Well, how many words does this image encompass…
“The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who, in their grueling travels across trackless lands in prehistoric times, looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through space, at full speed, above all obstacles, on the infinite highway of the air.”
- Orville Wright
The Wright Brothers saw flight as the future. Our “elites” see it as for the past (apart from for them, obviously, because they are so much more important aren’t they?). That image from Kill Devil Hills defines all that is positive about the C20th for me****. Don’t get me started on Apollo. My father was in his mid 20s when Neil and Buzz (and Mike) took a bit of an excursion and then… nothing. In my late 30s NASA gave up on manned space-flight for the foreseeable. Good. Let’s see what SpaceX, Virgin Galactic and all the rest can do! If they are allowed.
We’re running to go backwards.
I know this brings it down from the Götterdämmerung I was working myself up to but… If we take (and I do) the most heavily hit flights as those to the Caribbean and Australasia then are we really talking tourist flights as such? I doubt it. I once flew from Gatwick to Atlanta (in steerage) wedged between two “Lilt Ladies” who were visiting relatives in Jamaica (changing ‘planes at Atlanta – a major hub). I have close relatives in Victoria, Australia. That’s not exactly a “jaunt” is it? My Australian relatives keep in contact in a way that when my Great-Aunt went over there (with husband and kids – she was the catch – being a nurse) as a “ten pound pom” in the early ’60s is unimaginable. Do we really want to lose that? It was staggeringly expensive Christmas phonecall for years and then… It wasn’t and then Orville Wright’s “infinite highway of the air” became, well, affordable. Yet now they are making it really expensive for people to keep in physical touch with their families. This is not what the Wright’s wanted and it is not what I grew-up with. It is also not what Caribbean families with spurs in both Birmingham and St Kitts want. Or my family. Or quite possibly yours.
Orv and Will wanted to bring the world closer together and dear gods were they not magnificent? This isn’t. This is just mean.
I’m soon off on a flight from Liverpool (John Lennon – “Above Us Only Sky” (ergghh!)) Airport to Katowice via the evil, evil Wizz Air who provide prole-flights (how very dare they!) and drown polar-bear cubs to keep the turbofans running*****.
We still dream. We (all of us) are the true elite. They are just neo-feudalists.
The last I heard (this is GBP) they were talking about a railway from London to Birmingham (HS2) costing GBP 36 billion! Yet wouldn’t fund Skylon a GBP 100 million. Typical. Utterly typical of the imagination Fail. JAXA is reckoning on maybe GBP 10 billion for a Space Elevator. LEO or the Bullring (which has quite a large NEXT but then where doesn’t?) – your choice. Again it’s just status quo. (And graft, obviously).
We do a disservice to the railway pioneers to be playing the same game 200 years later.
Time to get jiggy! Whilst it’s still (sort-of) allowed.
Per Ardua Ad Astra!
* Plato’s Republic was designed to promote stasis.
**The additional fixed costs here will not influence the truly well-heeled (indeed the Greener of those will feel good for they have bought an indulgence from Pope Albertus Gorefice). Anyway they could easily spend the top-end ADP on lunch on any continent without thinking about it so it is a mere bagatelle to them.
***”Is your journey really necessary?” Their journeys always are. And your journey isn’t. Ever.
****I’ve got a storming pre-Christmas post (17th December) set-up. I would have posted before but sometimes there are just fixed points…
*****At a nominal 70% occupancy an A380 does about 80 passenger miles per gallon. Try that in your Toyota Pious! The 787 does even better. And could I get to America in a Toyota Pious? But that is the point. I’m not meant to for I am not of the elect. I’m just a bloke with the money to do it at market rates and that’s such a terrible thing it must be stopped. I mean who knows where it might end?