Airport parking rip-off

UK airports are charging even more to park in 2018

Airport parking rip-offBritish airports are making even more money from motorists picking up or dropping off passengers in 2018: more than half of them have put up their fees in time for this year’s summer getaways.

London Luton is still the worst offender, reveals the analysis by the RAC. It’s also put up its prices the most: it’s both added £1 to the initial price of picking someone up – it now costs a staggering £8 – and also shortened the time period by 10 minutes, to 30 minutes.

The cost to stay for 1 to 2 hours to pick someone up at London Luton is an eye-watering £17. Be very wary of any flight delays…

Next-worst is London Stansted, which charges an initial fee of £5.50 for 30 minutes, while Birmingham charges £5.10 for staying up to an hour. Edinburgh, meanwhile, charges a more palatable £4, but gives drivers just 15 minutes to complete the pick-up. The cost then rises to £7 for 1 hour.

For motorists dropping people off, things are marginally better, but it’s all relative. Some airports still charge a fortune to ‘kiss and drop’: London Stansted charges £3.50 for just 10 minutes. Manchester, meanwhile, charges £3 – for a mere a five-minute stay.

At London Luton, it’s £3 for a 10-minute drop-off, and Liverpool John Lennon charges £3 for a 20-minute drop-off.

Oh, and even after you’ve paid this, make sure you then don’t overstay – because you’ll have to fork out even more. At London Luton, London Stansted and East Midlands, the RAC says they “put on a meter”, effectively charging £1 a minute…

Not all airports are guilty, though. London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London City and Cardiff all allow drivers to drop people off for free.

“As we enter the summer holiday season, the UK’s airports are about to see some of their busiest weeks of the year,” said RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis. “With thousands of motorists driving to airports to pick up and drop off friends and family members many will unfortunately find themselves shocked by some of the extortionate parking tariffs operated by some airports.”

Dennis also reminded those who aren’t picking up or dropping off to be cautious. “We strongly urge drivers who are researching longer stay airport parking to only book through reliable parking providers – such as through an official airport website or a parking provider that is a member of the Independent Airport Parking Association (IAPA).”

2018 airport pick-up charges – ranked by initial pick-up fee

RankAirportInitial pick-up feeFees thereafterChange since 2017Notes
1London Luton£8 for 30 mins£9 for 30-45; £13 for 45m-1hr; £17 for 1-2hrsUp £1 (14%) for 10 mins less 
2London Stansted£5.50 for 30 mins£10 for 1hr; £16.50 for 2 hrsUp £0.50 (10%) 
3Birmingham£5.10 for 1hr£10.20 for 2 hrsUp £0.20 (4%) 
4Edinburgh£4 for 15 mins£7 for 1hr; £9.90 for 1-2hrs; £14.50 for 2hrsUp £0.10 (2%) 
5=London Gatwick£4 for 30 mins£8 for 31-60 mins; £13 for 1-2hrsUp £0.20 (5%) 
5=London Heathrow£4 for 30 mins£7.20 for 30m-1hr; £11.50 for 1-2hrsUp £0.20 (5%) 
5=Manchester£4 for 30 mins£6.50 for 1 hr; £9.50 for 2 hrsNo change 
8East Midlands£3.50 for 30 mins£4.50 for 1hr; £9 for 2 hrsUp £0.50 (16%) 
9London City£3.20 for 10 mins£7.50 for 10-30 mins;£27.50 for up to 1hrUp £0.20 (6%) 
10=Glasgow£3 for 20 mins£6 for 1hr; £12 for 2 hrsUp £1 (50%) for 10 mins more 
10=Liverpool John Lennon£3 for 20 mins£10 for 1 hr; £20 for 2 hrs; £50 a dayNo changeExpress drop-off and pick-up area. Another drop off 5 mins walk is free for up to 40 mins
12Aberdeen£2.50 for 20 mins£6 for 1 hr; £10.50 for up to 3hrsUp £0.50 (25%) 
13Southampton£2 for 10 mins£3.50 for 10-30 mins; £5.00 for 30-60mins; £7.50 for 1-2 hrsUp £1 (100%) but reduced elsewhere 
14=Belfast International£1 for 10 mins£2.50 for 10-20 mins; £3.50 for 20-30 mins; £3.50 for 30-60 mins; £8.00 up to 2 hrsNo change 
14=Cardiff£1 for 10 mins£2 for 20 mins; £3 for 1 hr; £6 for 2 hrsNo change 
14=Newcastle£1 for 10 mins£3 for 10-30mins; £4.50 for 30-45 mins; £6 for 45-60 mins; £12 for 2 hrsNo change 
17Bristol£1 for 20 mins£3.50 for 20-30mins; £6 for 30-60mins; £8 for 1-2 hrsYes, but after minimum stay 
 Belfast CityFree for 10 mins£3 for 10-30 mins; £6 for 30-60 mins; £9 for 1-2hrsYes, but after minimum stay 
 Leeds BradfordFree for 1hrNot specifiedNo change 

2018 airport drop-off charges – ranked by initial drop-off fee

RankAirportInitial drop-off feeFees thereafterPrice change since 2017Notes
1London Stansted£3.50 for 10 mins£1 per minute for 10-15 mins; £25 for over 15 minsNo changeExpress Set Down
2Manchester£3 for 5 mins£4 for 10 minsCharging began 2018Drop off area
3London Luton£3 for 10 mins£1 a minuteNo changeSome free for a period drop off available in mid-term car park
4Liverpool John Lennon£3 for 20 mins£10 for 1 hr; £20 for 2 hrs; £50 a dayNo changeExpress drop-off area. Another drop off 5 mins walk is free for up to 40 mins
5Leeds Bradford£3 for 30 mins£9 for 30-60 mins; £18 for 1-2 hrsNo changeTerminal Front express (Free parking exists for 3-4 mins from terminal)
6=Birmingham£2 for 10 mins£5 for 15 mins; £10 for 15-20 minsNo changePrices quoted for ‘premium set down’ by the terminal entrance. New drop off car park exists which offers 30 mins free, with 10 min walk
6=East Midlands£2 for 10 mins£1 for every minute thereafterNo changeRapid drop off
6=Glasgow£2 for 10 mins£4 for 11-15 mins; £6 for 16-20 mins, £10 for 21-30minsNo changeNew drop-off/pick-up
9=Aberdeen£2 for 15 mins£10 for 30 mins; £30 for 1 hrNo changeExpress drop-off
9=Southampton£2 for 15 minsNot specifiedUp £1 (100%) for 5 mins extraPriority pick-up and drop off location. Long stay free option provided for 30 mins (with bus needed)
11Edinburgh£1 for 5 mins£3 for 5-10 mins; £5 for 10-20 mins; £7 for 20 mins-1hr; thereafter £9 per hrNo changeGround floor of multi-story
12=Belfast International£1 for 10 mins£3 for 10-20 mins; £5 for 20-60 minsNo changeDrop off zone
12=Bristol£1 for 10 mins£3 for 10-20 mins; £5 for 20-40 minsNo changeExpress drop-off car park
12=Newcastle£1 for 10 mins£3 for 10-30 minsNo changeExpress car parking. Medium term offers 15 mins free
 Belfast CityFree for 10 mins£3 for 10-30 mins; £6 for 30-60 minsNo changeDrive up charges
 CardiffFree for 10 mins£5 for every 10 mins thereafterNo changeDrop-off zone. Long Stay 1 offers 20 minutes free
 London CityFree drop-offNo waiting – penalty charges issued (not specified)No changeTerminal forecourt
 London GatwickFree drop-offNo waitingNo changeOutside terminal
 London HeathrowFree drop-offPolice enforcement applies for those waitingNo changeOutside terminal


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