Just in time for the holiday season, comes research by a major motoring organisation that says, this year, four out of five airports in the United Kingdom have increased the fees for drivers dropping off and collecting passengers.
Travellers and those making the trip to wave them off, or welcome them back, are in an uproar to find themselves stung by expensive so-called ‘kiss and fly’ charges, with many taking to social media to complain. We look at the airports raking in the parking profits and what you can do to avoid paying more than you must.
The investigation by the RAC found eight out of 10 (82%) of the UK’s 22 busiest airports introduced or raised their fees this year, with London Stansted Airport the most expensive for both drop-off and pick-up costs.
The automotive company based their study on 22 airports that serve over 1million passengers each year.
They looked at fees charged to motorists who leave their vehicles in what is most often known as a ‘short stay’ car park to drop off passengers either outside or as close to the front of the terminal as possible, or meet someone at the arrivals gate.
Gathering their information this month, the RAC scoured the airport websites’ recommended parking tariffs for motorists to use for passenger collection.
Just as you may be when you find out the cost, the required fee is often in tiers. What you’re charged may depend on how long you’re at the airport. For instance, you might need to pay a set price for the initial charge—the first 10 minutes, say—with the next 20 minutes costing a different price.
The biggest price-hike culprit—London Stansted Airport—will charge you £4 for a 10-minute drop-off (a 50p increase from last year) and £8 for a 30-minute pick-up (up £2.50 since 2018).
A ‘goodbye’ tax?
Only recently PetrolPrices covered the news that Heathrow Airport would soon be the world’s first airport to use an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) so it’s little surprise to hear that the rise in drop-off and pick-up parking charges is being attributed to pollution.
A spokesman for The Airport Operators Association said:
‘Airports that operate drop-off charges directly outside the terminal do so for a number of reasons, including to manage congestion and to limit the environmental impacts of kiss and fly journeys.’
What seems crazy is that despite aviation also being a huge contributor to environmental pollution, some airports are now charging more for drop-off and pick-up fees than for the price of some flights
Simon Williams, Media Relations Manager at RAC, said:
‘Many airports charge drivers to drop off and pick up to keep the terminal entrances clear of traffic and to discourage long stays in car parks.
‘Some might also see this as a way to encourage other forms of transport to the airport, but nevertheless, these fees are still unwelcome, especially when you consider how little time most people actually spend at the airport.
‘In reality, many travellers simply either do not have easy public transport access to get to the airport and even if they do, they can’t always depend on it getting them to the airport in good time.’
Off to a flying start
While it’s expensive to drop off passengers right outside the terminal, you can still help your loved ones while avoiding steep charges.
You can also do things to avoid stress and keep your time at the airport as short as possible, such as reading the parking information on the airport’s website to find out the fees, payment options, and stay times. Some airports may even offer lower rates for pre-booking your parking online.
Many airports offer a cheap or free alternative such as car parks further from the terminal, either within walking distance or requiring a shuttle bus connection.
Some airports may also offer free pick-up and/or drop-off for a limited time.
Consider saying your goodbyes to your passengers before you get to the airport to keep the farewell time short.
Ask your friends or relatives to call you once they’ve got their luggage and passed through passport control so you can park at the best time. Remember, though—use a hands-free device!
Check out nearby free parking places in case of a delay with your friends or relatives’ flight so you can wait for the plane to land before heading to the terminal. If you’re picking somebody up, make sure you keep track of the plane’s landing time.
Are you flying overseas this summer? Did you agree to drive somebody to or from the airport? What airport will you use and will an increase in parking prices change your plans? Share your thoughts in the comments.
The rich operators getting richer because they know the public will pay it.
Stansted Airport mid stay drop off is free for one hour or £2.00 for 2 hours. You’re welcome.
That’s news to me and I’ve been using Stansted for decades. Any chance of a bit more info? A link perhaps?
If you go on the Stansted web site you will find information about the free parking you can only pay with a credit card if you go over the the free one hour
Doesn’t that – the insistence on credit card – contravene the legal tender laws?
They’ve had that since they started to rack up the charge to drop off in front of the Terminal. No link needed, all the details are on the Stansted Airport website. in the Pick Up & Drop Off section.
As I understand it’s free to drop off and collect at k zone in midstay (1 hour only). Though the signs make it look like it’s for drop off only.
You may have to wait a while for the shuttle bus, then it’s a few minutes to the terminal, and the same to return. So an hour will be cutting it fine for collecting someone. Still better than 4 quid.
I’ve started to use Southend and Gatwick instead taking into account £5 for the bridge there and back, and £8 for drop off and pick up, it’s worth paying more for the actual flight.
I use the midstay at Stansted to drop off. For picking up on return I wait at the M11 services until the passenger phones me ( when they are waiting for the shuttle bus). I can then drive to the midstay car park and pick them up. At worst it only involves a wait of afew minutes. Well under the free hour.
Careful at the services, they sent me a ticket for overstaying, there are signs that give you 30 mins max stay I think it is.
From the Welcomebreak website: “Every Welcome Break site offers 2 hours free parking to all motorists”.
AND DO THEY HAVE A SHUTTLE BUS TO THE TERMINAL FROM THERE?
At East Midlands, I wait down the road for my friends to text me then pull into the BP garage and buy a bottle of water just as they are getting into the car. Also works for drop off!
At Stansted, drive past the entrance and go round the end to Radison Blue hotel, just pull in there and of the passengers go for a 2 minute walk into the terminal. Sorted!
Not any more at East Midlands Airport. You will be fined at the BP garage if you drop off or pick up, even if you buy fuel. They have a camera van on site
East Midlands Airport and BP garage have now closed this loophole.
It would be interesting to know what exactly they could fine you for, especially if you bought fuel. I think it would make an interesting case in court.
WRONG,WRONG,WRONG. THEY HAVE FOUND AN EASY WAY OF EXTRACTING MONEY FROM PEOPLE WHO HAVE LITTLE OR NO ALTERNATIVE. MANY OPPERATE CARTELS FOR LONG TERM PARKING,EAST MIDLANDS WERE FOUND GUILTY A FEW YEARS AGO BUT WERE NOT FIND ” BECAUSE THEY CO-OPERATED WITH THE REGULATER ” !!!!!!!!
With the last Stansted Express train to London is at 00:30 and nothing until 05:30 and your flight arrives afer midnight you’ve either got to long queue for a National Express bus or use your car! Car parking at STN is a rip off.
If you’re a motorist, you’re fair game to be ripped off by every public body or organisation out there. These drop off charges at airports are wholly immoral, and nothing more than theft. Birmingham Airport even tried getting us to believe that they had introduced drop off charges for “SAFETY REASONS”.
I think it disgusting that they have hiked up the prices. It was bad enough being charged in the first place. It only been in operation a year and already they after more money. This so unfair. It should be free for first 10 mins then after that charge a fee. That gives just enough time to get your luggage out of cars and say goodbye. That wont create tail backs and problems. I think it just pure greed yet again. I also annoyed that there is a drop of area near Manchester airport and you get a free bus into airport yet you cannot do the same on return. That is so out of order. Think a rethink is in order.
Unfortunately it has absolutely nothing to do with providing the public with a service, it’s about grabbing every last penny then can.
UTTER RIP OFF – Just what we have come to expect from the operators of Stansted. After all, WE DELIVER THEIR CUSTOMERS to their doorstep, yet they seem to think we deserve to be PUNISHED for doing so. They do not charge anything to set down passengers at Schipol Airport – on of the busiest in Europe.
This is the trouble in Britain today. Ordinary people are just seen as a source of income by businesses & organisations.
Charging patients while they attend hospital falls into the same category of base and greedy behaviour by the powerful.
Luton has a drop/ pickup area with no free time at all you pay just to drive through an absĺute rip off I wait of airport and get pick ups to text me I then get them to walk he extra 50 yards out of the drop off area and I pick clear of the traffic flow on the exit.
Are disabled travellers affected by these airport chargers ?
Edinburgh airport has free parking for up to an hour for blue badge holders in the drop off/pick up zone. Don’t know about others. Check websites I suggest.
No change for disabled travellers – we pay the same
I find the charges to drop of travellers just pure exploitation and a prime example of “Riff Off Britain”. This was “once upon a time” free; now someone has had the bright idea to make extra profit from people, before they fly and return and the increases are exponential . Do they not receive enough in their flight and other airport charges??? Can petrol prices or any other not arrange a petition to let the Government and the Airports this is not acceptable and a rip off?
I am just so glad I don’t go to airports! Have always hated the places and do my best to avoid them.
Bournemouth airport started rip off charges a few years ago, charging starts as soon as you enter the airport access road. All roads around the area are double yellow lines and not somewhere you would want to stop even for a few seconds. You have to go and park up in the car park then go to a machine and get a ticket to get out. There was much less congestion when you could just stop, drop off and go.
On 17 July I had to drop off my daughter at Stansted Airport. The signs made it clear I could not exit without paying the extortionate minimum £4.00 for a 10-minute stop, with a supplementary charge of £1.00 per additional minute. Having dropped off my child in a skilfully-executed exercise requiring no more than five minutes, I headed straight for the exit barrier. At the head of my queue, just three cars ahead of me, was a driver who was experiencing problems paying with his credit card. Eventually, I managed to extricate myself and join another, faster-moving queue. When I reached the barrier, I was incandescent to find I was being charged £6.00 – NOT because I had overstayed the permitted 10-minute drop-off time, but because I was being penalised by Stansted for another driver’s problems with the payment machine at the barrier that not only devoured my remaining five minutes’ allowance but also led me to incur an additional and chargeable two minutes. Little wonder I did not relish collecting my offspring five days later, but I shall do everything in my power to avoid such trips to Stansted in future.
Highwayman Dick Turpin hailed from Hempstead in Essex: nearly 300 years on, the stench of him and his nefarious activities still pervades nearby Stansted.
Airport drop off &pick up charges are a cynical rip off that the government should ban right now
Like most places its ‘rip the motorist off’ time again and again. A few years ago I took my daughter to Luton didn’t see any signs and got hit for a couple of quid.
Earlier this year I went to Christchurch Airport (New Zealand) and got picked up and dropped off 3 times without any charges, dare say if you were there for a long time wardens would get you…..
I now consider going on holiday in this country to keep away from rip off airport charges for everything. Paying to sit next to your friends and family, rip off water prices, pick up, drop off etc etc.
NO ! I always park and ride to the terminal
holiday in the UK. problem solved!
oh, but then you will be ripped off on fuel taxation, vat chatrged on the fuel tax, Vehicle excise duty tax, insurance tax, etc and thats BEFORE all the other TAX you pay on things you buy when on your holidays! rip off britain is getting WORSE
The scams and robbery continue unabated with greed the driving force, both with the government and authorities, if the worry was pollution/quality of air they would be cutting flights not increasing them. Money and control of the population is at the fore, by using climate change as their excuse these sanctimonious hypocrites increasingly steal more and more. Utter criminals the lot of them.
This is just a money-making racket that the airports are inflicting on customers. No other form of transport has this tax on passengers and it’s time this was made illegal.
This is just a money-making racket that the airports are inflicting on customers. No other form of transport has this tax on passengers and it’s time this was made illegal.
Another rip off taking money from people who have already paid enough for flights etc. and not everyone finds it easy to afford
Just drop the passengers on the motorway exit roundabouts and save pulling into the airport altogether. I’m sure airports will soon be forced to change then.
Once upon a time all airports allowed you 10 to 15 mins free! This was great & kept parking spaces clearing quickly as everyone wanted to avoid other charges if they overstayed? Now as we are all charged from the start, people just park up knowing they will have a bill to pay! This clogs the parking making it more difficult to find a space! This affects me & many others who are disabled & find it better being as close to the terminal as possible? Getting wheel chairs etc out takes time then its same when returning to the car? You cannot stop & drop/pickup in the cheap time slot? Let alone sort out luggage & getting into the terminal itself? Have they really tried to push a wheel chair & carry luggage to the checkin desk & get back to your car in a few minutes?
East. Midlands is rubbish. I pay what is required as I have no option but I refuse to buy anything within eg they charge £2 for a cuppa and £5 for a sausage in a roll and the idiots pay!
Liverpool has a 40 minute free car-park about 8 minutes walk from the Terminal. Very civilised.
Also, some time ago, at Madrid Terminal 4, you paid 1€ to get an entry ticket and as long as you did not stay beyond 15 minutes (I’m not sure on the precise duration), you got out without paying more. But things may have changed.
You lot wanna try manchester, it was a near riot, taxi driver rammed the barrier down, airport staff was run over, 3 quid for 5 mins, an the price goes up per min. Taxi stuck in que was expected to pay 75 quid that’s why he lost it an drove through the barrier. Absolutely a scam, you can’t avoid paying an as some one else said, stupid drop off point only works one way? What total bell end came up with that idea?
I dropped my son at Luton recently and had coins ready to put in the machine on the way out, according to the website charge. When I approached, other people were using cards to pay and the price displayed was lower than I had expected. Still believing coins to be quicker, I dropped the coins in but the barrier didn’t go up. The sun made it difficult to see the screen but it looked as if I hadn’t paid enough. With the pressure of hooting cars behind me, I put in more £1 coins until the barrier went up. I’m not sure how much I paid but I think I was overcharged so I now think I should have used my card.
Not leaving home until his delayed plane had landed, I arrived at the long stay car park, 40 minutes later, just as my son walked off the shuttle bus, and I could have stayed there free for an hour. Definitely recommend that Pick Up option.
Naional day of no travelling via air, they will lose thousands, just one day thats all.
I would agree that drop off charges are pure greed. At Southend Airport it is now £3 for 5 minutes and they blame congestion. Been dropping off and picking up for years and never seen any congestion ever. They have 15 mins free in long stay but the walk is 4 or 5 minutes and it rains a lot in the UK. Luton is the worst, however last Thursday at Luton the terminal flooded and people were stuck on planes and in psssport control got over two hours. In long stay you get 1 hour free, 2 hours for £4 then anything over is £29. Can’t leave and repark within 4 hours. We were there 2 hours 13mins so got shafted for £29. I emailed a complaint and unbelievably they refunded £25. Still hate Luton but well done them this time.
The best option for Luton airport is to drop / pick up your passengers at the Luton Interchange, get Bus A to the airport. Cost: £1.50 per person. Time: 15 – 25 min. Drops you directly in front of the terminal entrance.
I think these charges are a disgrace and the monopolies commission should ban them
The best option for Luton airport is to drop/pick up your passengers at the Luton Interchange, get Bus A to the airport. Cost: £1.50 per person. Time: 15 – 25 min. Drops you directly in front of the terminal entrance.
Luton is also charging £4 for 10 minutes drop off
For meeting arrivals I always use a Flight Tracker and Airport App whether Long Haul or Short Haul arrivals so I can time my arrival at the park while the passenger is in the baggage hall or as near as possible – having established he/she has hold luggage. In the first place before they fly.
Glasgow International Airport charge £2 to drop off person plus case ten minutes stay! It’s a rip off as their isn’t any off site dropping areas -to drop my daughter off cost me £2 plus another £2 for an eleven minute stay!
A liitle-known fact for Heathrow travellers, the Long Stay Car park is FREE for 2 hours. According to the website: “Pick-up and drop-off
Members of the public can use the Long Stay car park for two hours free of charge. Re-entry to Heathrow Long Stay parking is prohibited within 24 hours. This facility is not available to private hire and trade vehicles. Upon exit, the barriers will read your ticket or registration number. For stays of over two hours the standard Short Stay tariffs will apply.”
Absolutely disgusting and a disgrace
Just who lives on the doorstep of an airport ??? Everyone has to use either private or public transport because they don’t have a choice. Public transport is not only inadequate and sometimes non existent. No one can be expected to walk to an airport with hold and cabin luggage from home. If you can then please enlighten the poor suckers
GET REAL AND STOP BEING A SCROOGE;
And what about all those airliners polluting the skies about us??
They don’t even pay the fuel taxes or Vat
Disgusting, disgraceful to say the least.There is no alternative to vehicular use whether private or public No one can be expected to arrive or depart on foot 22 kg of pull along luggage plus cabin luggage. GET REAL AND STOP RIPPING OFF THE PUBLIC. YOU HAVE DONE. IT FOR TOO LONG AND YOU WILL GET YOUR JUST DESSERTS BEFORE LONG
Just trying another way to get people to leave their cars at home .Soon if you want to drive in many places you are going to have to pay and keep on paying more and more
Airport drop off & pick up charges have nothing to do with congestion or pollution it is the airports rip-off easy money tax.
If the airport operator’s intention were to reduce pollution it would change all its ground vehicles to electric and ban all aircraft from landing & taking off due to the polluting fuel which also still contains LEAD, banned in road vehicle fuel many years ago.
Why not just make travel by air illegal?