Drivers hit by sky-high fees at UK airport drop-offs

blog image John Doe | 03/30/2019

An analysis of the drop-off prices of some of the country’s busiest airports has found that drivers are facing eye-watering fees for picking up those who have just landed.

The RAC reports:

Drivers picking up friends and family at UK airports face parking fees of almost £1 per minute, new figures show.

A 30-minute stay at London Stansted’s drop-off and pick-up area costs an eye-watering £25, while parking up for just five minutes will see them slapped with a £3.50 charge.  

At London Southend, motorists face a charge of £4.50 for just a 10-minute stay, although the Essex airport offers five minutes free parking.

Analysis of drop-off prices at the country’s 30 busiest airports found most drivers face fees regardless of how long they stay, with just three airports offering free parking for up to 30 minutes.

Guernsey, London City and Newquay offer the best value, while Cardiff, Norwich and Inverness don’t charge for shorter stays of up to 10 minutes.

At the other end of the scale, London Luton is only marginally cheaper than Stansted, charging £3 for a five-minute stay and a sky-high £23 for a longer half-hour wait.

Many airports do offer cheaper – or even free – drop-off and pick-up locations, but many of these are located away from the terminal and often require a shuttle service or lengthy walk.

The figures from the Civil Aviation Authority, which were analysed by Staveley Head, come after an RAC investigation found more than half of UK airports raised parking fees last year.

Top ten most expensive airports to drop off - Airport / Cost of drop off (15 minutes)

  1. Edinburgh - £10.00
  2. Stanstead - £8.50
  3. Luton - £8.00
  4. East Midlands - £7.00
  5. Birmingham - £5.00
  6. Cardiff - £5.00
  7. Southend - £4.50
  8. Glasgow - £4.00
  9. Inverness - £3.60
  10. Liverpool - £3.00

Speaking in 2018, RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis warned drivers to do their homework before making the trip to the airport to avoid any pay machine surprises.

He said: “Our advice is to check parking fees and time limits well before setting out for an airport this summer so as to avoid a nasty shock.

“Drivers should also be aware of just how high some charges can be if they inadvertently stay longer picking up or dropping off than they originally meant to.”

Always check the arrival time for the flight number your passengers are flying in on, bearing in mind the time it takes to leave the plane, pick up luggage, and get to the drop-off area itself.

The cost for picking up a friend or a family member, as shown by the analysis, is an extremely high charge in comparison to the small amount of time a driver is waiting for.