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HMRC internal manual

VAT Transport

Passenger transport connected with recreational activities or airport car parking: Pleasure flights

The supply of a flight in any aircraft is standard-rated if it is advertised or held out for the purpose of providing:

  • entertainment, recreation or amusement; or
  • the experience of flying; or
  • the experience of flying in a particular aircraft; and
  • the supply is not primarily for the purpose of transporting passengers from one place to another.

Such flights are standard-rated even if they take off from one airport and land at another because the primary purpose is of entertainment or experience and not of transporting people from one place to another.


  • “fear of flying” flights;
  • airship rides;
  • “flights to nowhere” and similar pleasure flights where the aircraft returns to the airport of departure or another UK airport without landing in another country; or
  • hot air balloon rides.

The liability of flights for the purpose of parachuting will depend on the exact nature of the supply. If there is an element of instruction or training the whole supply will be standard rate. If it is simply the supply of the transportation to the drop the supply is of zero-rated transport.

Examples of zero-rated flights:

  • normal domestic and international airline passenger services; or
  • entertainment flights which land in another country, for example, “Santa flights”.

Tour Operators’ Margin Scheme (TOMS)

If a supplier buys in pleasure flights and sells them on to his customers, he is required to account for VAT under the Tour operators’ margin scheme. See VTRANS021000, V1-23: Schemes, Chapter 12 and Notice 709/5 Tour operators’ margin scheme.