British Airways announced a new route to Inverness yesterday. From 3rd May, BA will operate one flight a day from Heathrow to Inverness.
It will depart Heathrow at 9.55am, arriving at 11.30. The return will depart at 12.10, arriving at Heathrow at 13.40.
You may not be interested in this. You may be interested in the fact that this offers a clever way of avoiding Air Passenger Duty.
Air Passenger Duty is not levied on flights from Inverness or any airport further north. Up until now, it was difficult to take advantage of this. You would have needed to book a Flybe redemption from Inverness to an airport in the south and then (on the same ticket) book a long-haul flight from Heathrow or Gatwick. This was messy.
You now have an interesting dilemma. What would you do for £118?!
£142 is now the maximum level of Air Passenger Duty in Club World or First. If you fly from Heathrow, long haul, you will pay this.
If you start your journey in Inverness, you won’t. You will, however, pay £24 in other charges so the saving is £118.
Domestic connections remain free on Avios redemptions.
Let’s imagine that you want to fly to New York return in World Traveller Plus. The taxes and charges from Inverness are £273. The taxes and charges if you start in Heathrow are £391.
A one-way ticket to Inverness is 4,000 or 4,500 Avios plus £17.50.
If you New York flight was, say, 6pm, you now have a choice. You can redeem from London, pay £391 of taxes, and turn up at Heathrow in time for the 6pm departure.
Alternatively, you could arrive at Heathrow for 9.55am, fly to Inverness on an Avios redemption, fly back on the same plane to London and then fly on to New York at 6pm. You will pay £273 of taxes (plus 4,000 Avios and £17.50 for the Inverness flight).
Is this worth it? Well, it depends on the value of your time of course. For novelty value, if I had nothing better to do that day, I may consider it.
If you live in Scotland, of course, this is an excellent result which suddenly makes your Avios redemptions far cheaper.