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Airport parking fees can rise 300% by paying on the day

Nick Cheek
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Nick Cheek

Holidaymakers are being charged extortionate prices for paying on the day for airport parking, a leading consumer campaign group has found.

Research compiled by Which? said that travellers could be stung by paying hundreds of pounds extra or over 300% more simply by driving up to an airport car park on the day of departure, in comparison to booking the space in advance.

Prices at 16 airport car parks that were analysed by the campaigners found travellers could pay as much as £583 on the day for week-long bookings.

There were eye-watering differences in prices found when comparing prices for on-the-day parking to bookings made four months previously.

It was discovered in the study that as much as £150 on average could be saved with forward planning.

Manchester airport the worst offender

The most significant saving was found at Manchester airport’s multi-storey car park, where on-the-day parking could cost up to 327% more.

A week’s stay booked four months in advance cost £95, compared with a staggering £406 on the day of flying out.

Heathrow was not much better, where paying on the day would set you back £583, in contrast to £190 if you had booked four months before travelling, a major difference of 207%.

At Birmingham airport, you would pay 161% more if booking on the day, taking the price from £150 to £392.

While at Gatwick, there was much less of a difference compared to other major UK airports, a relatively smaller 70%, with the price rising from £106 when booked in advance, compared to £180 four months’ previously.

Which? recommends that those holiday-bound should compare the cost of on-site and off-park parking.

But even though it could be assumed that off-airport park parking would be the better deal, it was found that in four out of 11 airports that on-site option worked out to be the cheaper option.

Shop around for best parking deals

Rory Boland, Editor of Which? Travel, said: “When you’re planning a holiday, sorting out your airport parking can easily slip down your to do list, but our research found leaving it to the last minute can come with a serious financial sting.”

“Take the time to shop around and compare the options on offer comparison sites can be a great starting point, and book early wherever possible to lock in the best price.

“It’s also worth comparing off-site and onsite options, as further away doesn’t necessarily mean cheaper.”

“It can also be worth considering some more unconventional options like renting someone’s driveway or garage for the duration of your trip, though with less guarantee of your vehicle’s security, this option may not be for everyone.”

Related: Airport car parking prices soar by up to 260%