All posts by Frequent flyer

New Zealand departure tax

Since February 2015 New Zealand is free from departure tax!

I am glad to announce that travellers will have less departure tax to pay in NZ airports in 2012 comparing with last year, so travel experience to New Zealand is getting less annoying. In the second half of 2011 Dunedin airport joined Auckland and Christchurch airports and replaced international departure fee passenger service charge (PSC) of NZ$12.78 each way which is now included in ticket price.

In 2012 Queenstown, Wellington and Palmerston North airports also wiped departure taxes.

In 2014 Hamilton airport become tax free. At least you don’t need to pay any additional taxes at airport and everything already included in ticket price.

Since February, 2015 Rotorua airport also stopped charging departure taxes at airport. It was last airport in New Zealand which was charging fees at the departure.

Here is table with current departure tax at airports in New Zealand:

Name of Airport Arrival fee NZ$ Departure fee NZ$ Where to pay
Auckland airport 12.50 12.50 included in ticket price
Christchurch airport 12.50 12.50 included in ticket price
Dunedin airport 12.78 12.78 included in ticket price
Hamilton airport 5 included in ticket price. There is no international flights, domestic only.
Palmerston North airport 8 included in ticket price
Queenstown airport ??? ??? included in ticket price
Rotorua airport 15.00 included in ticket price
Wellington airport ??? ??? included in ticket price

As you can see from this table your total payable tax can go up to NZ$37.50 if you are arriving to Christchurch (NZ$12.50 passenger services charge) and departing from Queenstown (NZ$25.00 departure fee). But if you are doing opposite your total taxes would be only NZ$12.50, i.e. arriving to Queenstown (NZ$0.00 passenger services charge) and departing from Christchurch(NZ$12.50 passenger services charge). For one person may be it is not big saving, but for families or frequent fliers it can make difference.

Also you should know that at Hamilton and Rotorua airports there is domestic departure tax too, not only international departure fee. You need to pay a NZ$5 departure fee on domestic services out of these airports.

UPDATE April, 2012. International Departure Fee is no longer applicable at Wellington Airport. If you have pre-purchased an International Departure Fee you can obtain a refund from Travelex at Wellington Airport by presenting your sticker.

UPDATE September, 2012. Somehow we missed this news but Queenstown Airport has wiped its NZ$25 international departure fee at the end of June. As airport chief executive said: “Removing the fee will greatly improve the experience international passengers have when leaving the airport.” He is so right!

UPDATE October, 2012. It looks like this year is tax cut year. From 1st of October passenger won’t need to pay NZ$5 domestic departure tax at Palmerston North Airport, but landing fee will be increased by NZ$3 and will be included in the ticket price, so Air New Zealand wasn’t happy about it.

UPDATE April, 2013. Talk about new departure tax in Christchurch started. Lets hope it will be only talk.

UPDATE April, 2014.There is no departure levy at Hamilton airport. All taxes are included in ticket price.

UPDATE February, 2015. No more departure taxes to pay at Rotorua airport. Read more here.


New departure tax in Christchurch airport?

Not so long ago existing international New Zealand departure tax of $NZ25 was wiped from Christchurch (CHC) airport. Everybody was glad about it. Of course these taxes didn’t disappear. You need to pay NZ$12.50 so called passenger services charge on inbound and outbound flights which totals $NZ25. But at least this service charge is included in your ticket price and you don’t need to worry about anything on your arrival to airport.

But last month talk about new taxes for Christchurch airport began. So previous Departure tax was renamed to Passenger Services Charge and now government wants introduce new Departure Tax ?

The idea comes from the Riccarton/Wigram Community Board in a submission on the city council’s draft three year plan.
Chairman Mike Mora says it could be a good way to help the coffers for the city’s rebuild.
Mr Mora says the international departure tax would be a good way to start, with perhaps $5 per passenger for the next five years.

For me it sounds just like increase of existing departure tax in Christchurch by $5 from $25 to $30. It probably will won’t stop there and will be increased after year or two as people (especially tourists) won’t have a choice not to pay it at airport.

Departure fee at Riga airport, Latvia

At least once a year I am in transit at Riga airport to Middle East countries, so I didn’t notice they have some departure fees to pay at airport. This departure tax applies only to Ryanair passengers who has direct flights from Riga airport (RIX).
Up to 1st of January, 2012 the security function at Riga airport was financed from the state government, but as of 1st of January 2012 this fee was included into ticket price, but Ryanair didn’t agree to do that so passengers must to pay this security charge at airport.

A fee of 7€ must be paid before departure while checking at Riga airport or in the Ryanair ticket office at Riga Airport, or at “Welcome to Riga!” office located in arrivals sector E, or it can be paid on internet by credit card. Check RIX airport website for the latest information regarding this fee.

Departure tax in Kathmandu (KTM) airport, Nepal

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International Terminal at Kathmandu Airport (KTM), Nepal
International Terminal at Kathmandu Airport (KTM), Nepal

In most printed travel guides there is information about departure taxes you need to pay on departure from Tribhuvan (KTM) airport in Kathmandu, but from year 2010 there is no such departure fee any more for international departures. All taxes are included in your ticket.
But you still need to pay domestic departure fee. As of April, 2013 this fee is 200 Rupees. So if you are flying from Kathmandu to Lukla or Pokhara be ready to have some spare cash to pay these taxes.

Entry fee in Argentina

In New Zealand there is departure fee, but in Argentina you need to pay an entry fee (so called “Reciprocity Fee”) which you must be paid in advance. From December, 2012 this fee is applicable not only at airports, but also at all land border crossings and ports. Only passengers arriving on cruise ships are exempt.

This fee is payable only by Australians, Canadians and US citizens and it is not a visa fee since Argentina does not require visa to nationals of these countries when traveling for tourism.  Argentine Government set this reciprocity fee on equal amounts to those Argentinians must pay when requesting a visa to travel to Australia, Canada and US.

Go to Argentine Migration website to pay this fee.

Argentine Migration website. Reciprocity fee
Argentine Migration website. Reciprocity fee

For different countries fees are different:

  • Australia: US$100 valid for for multiple re-entries within a period of one year as of the date of first entry.
  • Canada: US$75 valid for one entry and re-entries from bordering countries within 3 months.
    US$150 valid for 5 years – multiple entries
  • USA: US$160 valid for 10 years (3650 days)

The receipt period of validity will begin to govern from the date on which the payment is made. Make your payment as closely as possible to the date of your trip (so that it does not defeat)

Free wifi and internet access at airports in New Zealand

A lot of people hate internet connection in Australia – it is expensive and slow, but wait till you come to New Zealand. It probably has worst internet in developed world and it was hard to find free internet(WiFi ) at airports in New Zealand, but it is getting better. Here are the options you can find in New Zealand.

Auckland Airport – there is wireless internet access in International and domestic terminals or you can use internet kiosks. NZ$2 coin buys 10 minutes online and credit cards are also accepted.

Christchurch airport – Internet kiosks are available within the check in, departures and arrivals halls in the terminal or you can use free wireless internet service available at airport .

Dunedin airport – has trial free wireless internet access at the moment. Alternatively there are two Internet kiosks upstairs adjacent to Velluto.  It take coins and credit cards. NZ$2 for 12 minutes.

Hamilton airportfree wireless internet access is available throughout the terminal. There is complimentary internet kiosk located on the mezzanine floor but you are asked limit your session to 15 minutes as a courtesy to others.

Palmerston North airportfree wireless internet access provided by Central Free Wi-Fi is available, but limited to 100 megabytes per device (laptops, iPads and other mobile devices)  per month. Two Internet Kiosks are available in terminal with very expensive internet access – NZ$2.00 minimum for 10 minutes and NZ$1 per 5 minutes thereafter.

Queenstown airport – there is free internet access in airport for 1 hour in every 4 hour period. If you need Wi-Fi access for more than 1 hour, you can go to internet lounge. Internet Lounge also has 16 computers. The prices are: NZ$2 for 15 minutes, NZ$4 for 30 minutes or NZ$6 for 60 minutes.
Printing service is available at Airport Help Desk for 20 cents per page.

Rotorua airport – there are two internet kiosks available in the main airport terminal or you can purchase pre-paid voucher for wi-fi access from the Airport Development Levy desk.

Wellington airport – a free wireless internet connection is available for all passengers.


Departure tax in Australia

Australia departure tax
Australia departure tax

You don’t need to pay departure tax in Australia as you are paying departure tax in New Zealand in some airports. All fees are included in your tickets, but only now I realize how big these fees are.
In Australia it is not a departure tax. They call it Passenger Movement Charge (PMC). It was renamed as such from middle of1995 and that’s why I couldn’t find much information about it and from July 1, 2012 Australian Goverment increased this charge from $AU47 to $AU55. It is more then double of departure fee in New Zealand. With some exceptions everybody older then 12 years must pay this fee.

When buying online not every airline shows “price breakdown”  and this tax can be differently named by different airlines. Scoot airlines names it as “Government Imposed Pax Movement Fee”.  Virgin Australia calls it by it’s name – “Passenger Movement Charge”. Other airlines like Qantas shows only total taxes you need to pay.

According to the Tourism and Transport Forum, Australia now has the second-highest departure tax in the developed world (the highest for short-haul routes), with only United Kingdom charging more. With such high Australian dollar exchange rate it seams government don’t want more tourists to come to Australia.

Free wifi and internet access at Australian airports

Most airlines require you to arrive to airport for check-in at least 2-3 hours before your flight. It won’t take much time if you arrived earlier, so what to do with another waiting time you left? For most people it means shopping or internet browsing. Unfortunately not all airports have free wifi. Here is list of major airports in Australia with internet details.

Adelaide Airportfree internet access it provided by Internode throughout T1. Excellent coverage at all gates and cafe’s. Good coverage within airline lounges.

Avalon Airport – has free wifi across airport.

Brisbane International Airportthere is 60 minutes free access to wi-fi at Level 3 and Level 4 retail areas in International Terminal and at Level 2 retail areas in Common User Domestic Terminal.
In case you need more time Internet Kiosks are available on Levels 2, 3 and 4 of the International Terminal. 20 minutes will cost $AU2.00

Cairns International Airport – no information available about wifi.

Darwin International Airport – wireless internet is available on the first floor of the Terminal building. There is no information it is free or not.

Hobart International Airport – free internet access for Qantas Lounge customers only, but usually you could connect if you are sitting close to the lounge.

Melbourne International Airport – there is no free internet access at Melbourne airport.  Though wireless access is available in most public areas and gate lounges inside Terminals 2, 3 and 4 but you need to buy timed blocks which are quite expensive. 15 minutes for AU$4.00, 30 minutes – AU$6.00, 60 minutes – AU$11.00, 120 minutes – AU$20.00

Perth International Airport – there is no free internet at Perth airport either. Wireless internet access is available at International Terminal 1 and domestic Terminal 3 but there is no pricing provided.

Sydney International Airportfree wifi is available at International Terminal T1 and Domestic Terminal T2. Internet browsing is limited for up to 2 hours and 500MB of data.
Alternatively it is possible to use internet kiosks. Internet Kiosks are located at International Terminal T1 departure level before customs in the food court near Sumo Salad and after customs near 21,31 and 53 gates.
At Domestic Terminal T2 Internet kiosks are located after Security on the way to gates 31 – 41 and at arrivals level in the baggage claim area near baggage Carousel 1.