Tesla at Edinburgh AirportBritish airports are imposing sky-high charges on motorists dropping people off outside terminals with some levying fees of up to 30p a minute on drivers.

London Luton is easily the worst offender, RAC research has revealed: drivers dropping someone off are required to pay £3 for just a 10-minute stay: that is the minimum charge and there is no way of avoiding it.

London Stansted also imposes a minimum £3 charge for a 10-minute stay (and motorists are fined a staggering £50 if they overstay it).

Costs are even higher if you’re picking someone up: it charges £7 for 40 minutes, although the charge-per-minute at Edinburgh airport is even higher – £3.90 for 15 minutes equates to 26p per minute.

Birmingham airport seems almost good value in charging £4.70 for 60 minutes’ parking – but there is no option to park anywhere more cheaply, effectively making this a minimum pick-up charge.

Charges for brief airport stays are commonplace: only six of the UK’s 20 busiest airports still allow free drop-off parking.

While airports argue there are cheaper options available, these usually involve parking further away and even necessitate getting a shuttle bus to and from the airport – hardly convenient for many quick drop-offs.

“Motorists need to be aware of the sky-high charges levied by some airports for parking close to the terminal,” said RAC head of external affairs Pete Williams.

“Drivers are running the risk of incurring some hefty charges if they drive to a pick-up zone to collect somebody whose flight is delayed, or who has to wait a long time at baggage reclaim.”

There’s not really an excuse for airports outside of London charging such outrageous fees, added Williams: because they’re less well served by public transport, cars are often the only way to easily get there. Making it ironic these airports are the worst offenders for charging sky-high drop-off and pick-up fees.

“The message to anyone picking up or dropping off at an airport this summer is simple – check the fees carefully before you set out. Overstaying the maximum permitted drop-off time could end up costing as much as a short-haul flight to Europe.”

Most expensive airports for pick-ups

  1. London Luton – £7 for 40 minutes, equivalent to 17.5p per minute
  2. Birmingham – £4.70 for 60 minutes, equivalent to just under 8p per minute
  3. London Stansted – £4.50 for 30 minutes, equivalent to 15p per minute
  4. Edinburgh – £3.90 for 15 minutes, equivalent to 26p per minute
  5. London Heathrow – £3.60 for 30 minutes, equivalent to 12p per minute

Most expensive airports for drop-offs

  1. London Luton – £3 for 10 minutes, equivalent to 30p per minute
  2. London Stansted – £3 for 10 minutes, equivalent to 30p per minute
  3. East Midlands – £2 for 10 minutes, equivalent to 20p per minute
  4. Aberdeen – £2 for 15 minutes, equivalent to 13p per minute8
  5. Edinburgh – £1 for 5 minutes