Nearly half of the UK’s busiest airports have hiked the price for those picking-up passengers, a quarter of airports have increased drop-off prices in 2017
Already sky-high costs for drop-off and pick-up parking at many of the UK’s top airports have risen leaving drivers suspecting that they are an easy target for operators, new data1 from the RAC reveals.
Nearly half of the UK’s 20 busiest airports have hiked the price for those picking up passengers and a quarter have increased their drop-off prices in 2017. And with six million people expected to fly away during October, the price increase will frustrate anyone dropping off friends and family for a half-term holiday.
Drop-off fees have increased this year at a quarter of the UK’s busiest 20 airports. The research compared the drop-off prices for the closest set-down access by the departures building.
Last year, the RAC’s data showed London Stansted Airport as having the joint highest drop-off fee at £3 for just 10 minutes alongside London Luton Airport. However, this year Stansted has increased its charge with 10 minutes now costing drivers £3.50, making it the UK’s costliest airport for dropping off outside the terminal building.
Meanwhile, Liverpool John Lennon Airport is asking £3 for 20 minutes at its express drop-off, though a secondary drop-off area which is a five to 10-minute walk from the terminal is free for 40 minutes. Glasgow International Airport has also now done away with free drop-offs, with the airport demanding £2 for 10 minutes. Birmingham Airport operates a premium set-down facility which charges £2 for 10 minutes, however this has been partially offset by new free drop-off facilities slightly further away from the terminal entrance.
If you can keep your farewells to a minimum Edinburgh appears to offer good value at £1 for five minutes.
Seven airports deserve mention for maintaining free drop-off parking by their departure terminals making them a less contentious destination for motorists and their departing passengers. They are: Heathrow; Gatwick; London City; Cardiff, Manchester; Belfast City; and Jersey.
Parking your car in the airport’s recommended short stay car park near the arrivals terminal to greet someone is becoming more expensive at many major airports. The RAC research found that almost half (8) of the top 20 airports have put up the initial price of pick-up parking this year with price rises on initial tariffs of between 20p and £1.
London Luton Airport still has the highest initial fee at a staggering £7 for 40 minutes although this is unchanged on last year’s price. Next up is London Stansted Airport which now demands an eye-watering £5 for 30 minutes (up 50p on last year), followed by Birmingham Airport charging £4.90 for one hour (up 20p on 2016) and Manchester with a hefty £4 fee for 30 minutes (up 50p).
Visitors to London’s City Airport get just 10 minutes to meet their passengers for the minimum stay fee of £3.50 (up 50p on 2016), however it will cost them £7.50 to park for 30 minutes. At Edinburgh drivers have 15 minutes’ stay time for the minimum fee of £3.90, but 30 minutes will cost them a whopping £6.30 and at Glasgow they will pay £2 for a 10-minute minimum stay, £3 for 20 minutes or £6 for an hour.
Other major airports to follow suit and increase their pick-up parking tariffs in 2017 are London Heathrow which now charges £3.80 for 30 minutes (an extra 20p) and London Gatwick which demands £3.80 for 30 minutes (up 30p).
Just Leeds Bradford Airport and Liverpool John Lennon Airport stand out as offering free pick-up parking (one hour at Bradford and 40 minutes at Liverpool). Belfast City airport does offer 10 minutes’ free parking but you will have to be confident that you can collect your passengers quickly. A more realistic 30 minutes will cost £3.
Regrettably, Cardiff Airport and Southampton Airport have recently abandoned free pick-up parking for 20 minutes and 10 minutes respectively, introducing a £1 charge for 10 minutes parking at both. Cardiff charges £2 for 20 minutes and £3 for an hour if you need longer and Southampton charges £4 for 30 minutes.
Two other airports have maintained their initial charges for the shortest parking term but increased their rates for slightly longer periods. These are Edinburgh, which has kept its rate for 15 minutes at £3.90 but increased its price for 30 minutes from £5.30 in 2016 to £6.30 this year, and Aberdeen which has maintained its £2 charge for 20 minutes but scrapped its £3.60 rate for 40 minutes and increased its 2016 rate for an hour by 10p to £5.80.
RAC spokesperson Pete Williams said: “The eye-watering drop-off and pick-up costs at some airports is likely to be viewed by drivers as another way of making money out of them, particularly in instances where public transport to and from the airport simply isn’t a viable option.
“This year many airports have increased the already sky-high prices they charge for short-stay parking near their departure and arrival terminals making a good deed a costly experience.
“Drop-off charges are the biggest bone of contention as for many they appear severe when they are simply pulling up for less than five minutes and often don’t even get out of the car themselves. For that reason we applaud the seven of the top 20 airports for maintaining their free drop-off zones.
“As millions are planning to fly away this half-term we strongly advise anyone planning on driving their family and friends to, or collecting them from, the airport to find out the drop-off and pick-up charges before they travel or be prepared for an unpleasant shock.
“For travellers using a taxi to get to and from the airport, be aware some taxi firms may add the cost of the pick-up and drop-off parking fee to your fare. Always check when you book.”
Source: RAC Report on Motoring