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

Rank Airport Initial pick-up fee Fees thereafter Change since 2017 Notes
1 London Luton £8 for 30 mins £9 for 30-45; £13 for 45m-1hr; £17 for 1-2hrs Up £1 (14%) for 10 mins less  
2 London Stansted £5.50 for 30 mins £10 for 1hr; £16.50 for 2 hrs Up £0.50 (10%)  
3 Birmingham £5.10 for 1hr £10.20 for 2 hrs Up £0.20 (4%)  
4 Edinburgh £4 for 15 mins £7 for 1hr; £9.90 for 1-2hrs; £14.50 for 2hrs Up £0.10 (2%)  
5= London Gatwick £4 for 30 mins £8 for 31-60 mins; £13 for 1-2hrs Up £0.20 (5%)  
5= London Heathrow £4 for 30 mins £7.20 for 30m-1hr; £11.50 for 1-2hrs Up £0.20 (5%)  
5= Manchester £4 for 30 mins £6.50 for 1 hr; £9.50 for 2 hrs No change  
8 East Midlands £3.50 for 30 mins £4.50 for 1hr; £9 for 2 hrs Up £0.50 (16%)  
9 London City £3.20 for 10 mins £7.50 for 10-30 mins;£27.50 for up to 1hr Up £0.20 (6%)  
10= Glasgow £3 for 20 mins £6 for 1hr; £12 for 2 hrs Up £1 (50%) for 10 mins more  
10= Liverpool John Lennon £3 for 20 mins £10 for 1 hr; £20 for 2 hrs; £50 a day No change Express drop-off and pick-up area. Another drop off 5 mins walk is free for up to 40 mins
12 Aberdeen £2.50 for 20 mins £6 for 1 hr; £10.50 for up to 3hrs Up £0.50 (25%)  
13 Southampton £2 for 10 mins £3.50 for 10-30 mins; £5.00 for 30-60mins; £7.50 for 1-2 hrs Up £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 hrs No change  
14= Cardiff £1 for 10 mins £2 for 20 mins; £3 for 1 hr; £6 for 2 hrs No 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 hrs No change  
17 Bristol £1 for 20 mins £3.50 for 20-30mins; £6 for 30-60mins; £8 for 1-2 hrs Yes, but after minimum stay  
  Belfast City Free for 10 mins £3 for 10-30 mins; £6 for 30-60 mins; £9 for 1-2hrs Yes, but after minimum stay  
  Leeds Bradford Free for 1hr Not specified No change  


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

Rank Airport Initial drop-off fee Fees thereafter Price change since 2017 Notes
1 London Stansted £3.50 for 10 mins £1 per minute for 10-15 mins; £25 for over 15 mins No change Express Set Down
2 Manchester £3 for 5 mins £4 for 10 mins Charging began 2018 Drop off area
3 London Luton £3 for 10 mins £1 a minute No change Some free for a period drop off available in mid-term car park
4 Liverpool John Lennon £3 for 20 mins £10 for 1 hr; £20 for 2 hrs; £50 a day No change Express drop-off area. Another drop off 5 mins walk is free for up to 40 mins
5 Leeds Bradford £3 for 30 mins £9 for 30-60 mins; £18 for 1-2 hrs No change Terminal 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 mins No change Prices 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 thereafter No change Rapid drop off
6= Glasgow £2 for 10 mins £4 for 11-15 mins; £6 for 16-20 mins, £10 for 21-30mins No change New drop-off/pick-up
9= Aberdeen £2 for 15 mins £10 for 30 mins; £30 for 1 hr No change Express drop-off
9= Southampton £2 for 15 mins Not specified Up £1 (100%) for 5 mins extra Priority pick-up and drop off location. Long stay free option provided for 30 mins (with bus needed)
11 Edinburgh £1 for 5 mins £3 for 5-10 mins; £5 for 10-20 mins; £7 for 20 mins-1hr; thereafter £9 per hr No change Ground floor of multi-story
12= Belfast International £1 for 10 mins £3 for 10-20 mins; £5 for 20-60 mins No change Drop off zone
12= Bristol £1 for 10 mins £3 for 10-20 mins; £5 for 20-40 mins No change Express drop-off car park
12= Newcastle £1 for 10 mins £3 for 10-30 mins No change Express car parking. Medium term offers 15 mins free
  Belfast City Free for 10 mins £3 for 10-30 mins; £6 for 30-60 mins No change Drive up charges
  Cardiff Free for 10 mins £5 for every 10 mins thereafter No change Drop-off zone. Long Stay 1 offers 20 minutes free
  London City Free drop-off No waiting – penalty charges issued (not specified) No change Terminal forecourt
  London Gatwick Free drop-off No waiting No change Outside terminal
  London Heathrow Free drop-off Police enforcement applies for those waiting No change Outside terminal