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Recently, after bemoaning the cold winter weather here in the midwest United States, I thought that I would try and have a contest to get some ideas of “somewhere warm” that I could go to escape.

After looking through the various warm-weather options, I was surprised at the vast disparity in cost in the airport taxes and fees for the various Caribbean locations.  From $11.20 for Puerto Rico all the way up to $114.40 for a roundtrip to Kingston, Jamaica! That led to the Comprehensive Guide to Caribbean airport taxes and fees.  Now it is time for Part #2 of the series, as we turn our sights across the pond and over to Europe.

Comprehensive Guide to Airport Taxes and Fees

The methodology to determine the European airport taxes and fees

Like I did when determining the Caribbean airport taxes and fees, there isn’t a definitive source for this information.  I took the 20 busiest airports in Europe, and then did a few adjustments (adding, removing and combining) to come up with a list of the major ones that people might be interested in.  This list IS US-centric (sorry) – perhaps for a followup I will expand that to other origins.  It does seem like a comprehensive list of the airport taxes and fees from any origin to any destination seems like a lot of information!

To come up with these numbers, I used United and American’s website with various US cities as the origin (usually New York and Washington DC), and then looked at what the taxes and fees cost.  It was possible to get different numbers at different time (off by a few dollars here and there), so I wouldn’t swear to these as exact numbers, but they should give you a rough idea

Basically, just like the pirate code, consider these numbers more “guidelines” than actual rules 😀

Here is my list of European airport taxes and fees –

CityAirportCost ToNotes ToCost FromNotes FromTotal Cost
OsloOSL$5.60$31.70$7 to transit through$37.30
HelsinkiHEL$5.60$34.90$8.20 to transit through$40.50
StockholmARN$5.60$37.30$14.10 to transit$42.90
DublinDUB$14.508.90 Ireland pre-inspection charge$30.70$13.50 to transit$45.20
MoscowDME$14.00$8.40 Russian Passenger Service Charge$32.39$46.39
CopenhagenCPH$5.60$45.20$17.80 to transit through$50.80
LisbonLIS$5.60$48.90$14.70 to transit through$54.50
AmsterdamAMS$5.60$49.50$16.20 to transit$55.10
BrusselsBRU$5.60$51.60$21.50 to transit through$57.20
MilanMXP$5.60$51.60$33 to transit through$57.20
ZürichZRH$5.60$53.40$18.60 to transit$59.00
RomeFCO$5.60$62.20$20 to transit$67.80
HamburgHAM$5.7010 cent Germany passenger charge$85.90$13.60 to transit$91.60
ViennaVIE$5.60$89.70$34.10 if you transit through$95.30
DüsseldorfDUS$5.60$94.50$14 if you transit through$100.10
MunichMUC$5.60$98.50$19.70 to transit$104.10
FrankfurtFRA$5.60$116.80$37.50 to transit$122.40
LondonLHR$5.60$189.00$34.50 passenger service charge to transit$194.60

Difference between a one-way and a roundtrip

Interestingly, some airport taxes and fees are assessed only departing the US, and some are assessed only coming when you come BACK to the United States.  Naturally, if you make it a roundtrip, you tend to get the “best” of both worlds.  Unlike when we did this for the Caribbean airport taxes and fees, many times when going from the US to Europe, you will have a connection in Europe, as there aren’t always direct flights to get you where you want to be.  So that can introduce a THIRD type of fee – fees for just transiting an airport (many airports have them).

One thing you’ll notice is that there are hardly any European airport taxes and fees on flights from the US to Europe.  In almost every case, you just end up paying the $5.60 US TSA fee (which is unavoidable if you’re leaving from the USA).  That is, assuming you can find a direct flight on a carrier that doesn’t impose fuel surcharges

To use an example, here is the outbound segment of a flight from Newark (EWR) to Rome (FCO)

european-airport-taxes-and-fees-rome-outbound(ignore the fact that I chose a ‘standard’ award – this is just for an example of the fees.  Sometimes you DO just have to suck it up and book the standard award, but this is not one of those times!!).  You can also see that in the 2nd example, you are transiting through Lisbon, Portugal, which passes on $14.70 in transit fees.

And here’s the return


Adding that up, and if you took direct flights both ways you would see $5.60 on the outbound, and $62.20 on the return, for a total of $67.80, just what our table says above.

Cheapest airport taxes and fees

It would seem that if you’re departing from the USA, the bare minimum you could get it down to would be $23.10, which is the sum of all of the United States fees.  There aren’t any European airports that go down that low, but the Scandinavian cities (Oslo, Helsinki and Stockholm), along with Istanbul seem to be the cheapest.  London, as was no surprise to me and probably many others, was the most expensive

Stay tuned for followup posts on the cheapest airport taxes and fees in other parts of the world!

It's important to understand which European airports cost more to depart, so here is a comprehensive guide to their taxes and fees

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