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Airport taxes and extra charges

Once you have got a price for a RTW ticket how do you know if everything is included in the price? Here are the things to look out for.

Airport taxes

Almost every country in the world levies airport taxes.

Airport taxes are not VAT as airline tickets are so far exempt. These are levied by either the airport themselves or the local government.

Most airport taxes are pre-paid (i.e. paid at the same time as your ticket). This is not a choice. This has been decided by a higher force! Pre-paid airport taxes are based on exchange rates and so may vary so do not worry too much if you get quoted slightly different figures each time you check.

Other taxes are paid locally so remember to keep back a little cash when you leave the country - or else you'll have a bit of a mission on your hands!

Passenger Service Charges

More and more countries are starting to include pre-paid PSC's which are in addition to airport taxes. There has been a lot of debating about whether these relatively nominal charges will remain being charged but at the moment they seem to be here to stay and will be included with your taxes.

Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance

SAF is a nominal fee levied by the Civil Aviation Authority to protect you if your airline goes into liquidation. Some companies include it in their airfares but others like to show you that you have it by charging it separately.

Weekend Surcharges

Weekend surcharges are normally for one-way or cheap return flights to and from the United States and Africa, and include Friday as well as Saturday and Sunday. This should be included in the fare at the time of booking - not later.

Credit Card Surcharge

Most travel agencies and travel websites will pass credit card surcharges on to you.

This is because surprisingly little money is made on airline tickets (As little as £17 on a return to Bangkok!). The fee is normally 1% so shouldn't break the bank too much but this can be avoided by paying in advance by cheque or using your debit card (Maestro or Delta)- and of course by paying with good ol' cash.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is not really an excess charge but worth getting. Do not be pressured into getting your insurance from the travel agents that sell you your flights. Take your time - look around and get the best deal that fits your trip.

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