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Airport pick-up and drop-off prices hiked in 2017

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Half of the UK’s busiest airports have hiked prices for those picking up passengers while a quarter have increased drop-off prices in 2017, research reveals.

As six million people are expected to fly abroad during the October half-terms, the price hikes seen this year will leave many feeling like an easy target for travel operators.

The RAC research found that parking at a short stay car park near the arrivals terminal at 11 out of 20 airports has risen between 20p and £1 this year.

London Luton Airport has the highest pick-up fee at £7 for 40 minutes. Next is London Stansted Airport which costs £5 for 30 minutes (up 50p on last year), followed by Birmingham Airport which charges £4.90 for one hour (up 20p on 2016) and Manchester with its £4 fee for 30 minutes (up 50p).

Visitors to London’s City Airport get just 10 minutes to meet family and friends for the minimum stay fee of £3.50 (up 50p on 2016). But if you need longer (30 minutes), it costs £7.50 to park.  At Edinburgh, drivers have 15 minutes’ stay time for the minimum £3.90 fee, while 30 minutes will cost  £6.30. At Glasgow it costs £2 for a 10-minute minimum stay, £3 for 20 minutes or £6 for an hour.

London Heathrow now charges £3.80 for 30 minutes (an extra 20p) and London Gatwick charges £3.80 for 30 minutes (up 30p).

Just Leeds Bradford Airport (one hour) and Liverpool John Lennon Airport (40 minutes) offer free pick-up parking while Belfast City offers 10 minutes’ free parking or its £3 for 30 minutes.

Cardiff and Southampton Airports have recently introducing a £1 charge for 10 minutes’ parking.

Drop-off charges on the up

Drop-off fees have also increased at a quarter of the UK’s 20 busiest airports. Stansted comes top with 10 minutes costing £3.50 while Liverpool John Lennon comes in at £3 for 20 minutes at its express drop-off. But for those needing longer, its secondary drop-off area (five-to-10 minute walk from the terminal) is free for 40 minutes.

Glasgow International has also started to charge drop off fees – £2 for 10 minutes. Birmingham charges the same but it also has a free drop off area further away from the terminal entrance.

If you can keep your farewells to a minimum, Edinburgh offers a £1 ticket for five minutes.

However, seven airports maintain their free drop off parking by departure terminals: Heathrow; Gatwick; London City; Cardiff, Manchester; Belfast City; and Jersey.

‘Make a good deed a costly experience’

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.”

Top tips to avoid airport parking stress and high charges

Do your research: check the airport’s website to find out they fees, payment options and stay times. Some could offer lower online rates.

Have your payment ready: once you’ve checked how to pay, ensure you have your payment ready whether it be change, a debit or credit card; or pre-programme the phone payment number into your mobile.

Holding location: check out nearby free parking places in case a flight is delayed so you can wait for the plane to land before heading to the terminal.

Keep in touch: ask friends or relatives to call you once they have collected their luggage and cleared passport control so you can park up at the right moment. Just remember you can only take the call while driving if it’s hands-free.

Say your goodbyes earlier: do this before you get to the airport so you can keep the farewells and cost to a minimum.

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