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Pick up and drop off fees at UK airports rise: how much will your ride pay?

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

Eight in 10 of the UK’s busiest airports have increased or introduced new fees for picking up and dropping off passengers since last year, according to research.

Eight of the 22 airports analysed by the RAC have raised their so-called ‘kiss and fly charges’, while a further eight have put up the cost of their initial periods of pick-up parking.

Overall, 18 airports have put up, or introduced, fees in some way.

London Stansted and London Luton are the most expensive airports to drop off, charging £4 for 10 minutes and 13 minutes respectively.

Manchester charges the most per minute, with drivers getting five minutes to drop off for £3.

East Midlands has added £1 to its charges taking the airport to £3 for 10 minutes, while Birmingham and Doncaster-Sheffield have also both moved up to £3, but here drivers get 15 minutes.

Six airports – including Heathrow and Gatwick – provide free drop-off facilities.

When it comes to pick-up charges, eight airports have increased their initial pick-up parking charges for 2019.

London Stansted has hiked its prices the most with a £2.50 rise to £8 for 30 minutes. It now ties with London Luton as being the most expensive airport to pick up passengers.

Birmingham is the next priciest with an hour costing £5.50.

Simon Williams, an RAC spokesperson, said: “Those dropping off or collecting friends or family are often left wincing at the prices charged by the UK’s busiest airports for the privilege.

“Doing your research on the fees charged before heading to drop off or pick up at an airport has to be the best advice. Some airports offer cheaper parking rates in mid-term or long-stay car parks though these tend to be further away from the terminal and might require an airport bus connection.”

  • 2019 airport drop-off charges – ranked by initial drop-off fee
Rank Airport Initial drop-off fee Fees thereafter Changes since 2018 Notes
1 London Stansted £4 for 10mins £1 per min for 10-15mins; £25 for over 15mins (£20 charge for re-entering within 30mins of first entering.) Initial fee up 50p Express Set Down (Tariffs increased April 19). Free set down is a bus ride from terminal
2 London Luton £4 for 13mins £1 a minute Initial fee up £1 but increased stay from 10mins to 13mins Drop-off/pick-up area next to terminal. Some free for a period drop off available in mid-term and long-term car park
3 Manchester £3 for 5mins £4 for 10mins; £25 for overstay of 10mins or re-entry within 30mins No change Drop off area
4= East Midlands £3 for 10mins £1 for every minute thereafter Initial fee up £1 Rapid drop off (free parking in long-stay parking)
4= London Southend £3 for 10mins £5 for 10-30mins Removed free for 5mins Short stay car park by terminal
6= Doncaster-Sheffied £3 for 15mins £5 for 16-30mins; £7 for 30-60mins Initial fee up £1 Express drop-off (short stay offer some free parking)
6= Birmingham £3 for 15mins £8 for 15-20mins; each extra 15mins thereafter up to £48 for 55-60mins Initial fee up £1 for 5mins more; thereafter tariff change: was £5 for 15mins; £10 for 15-20mins Premium set-down. Band change in 2019. Prices quoted are for ‘Premium set down’ by the terminal entrance. A new drop off car park now exists which offers 30mins free drop off with 5-10min walk to terminal
8 Liverpool John Lennon £3 for 20mins £10 for 1 hour; £20 for 2 hours; £50 a day No change Express drop-off area. Another drop off 5mins walk is free for up to 40mins
9 Leeds Bradford £3 for 30mins £9 for 30-60mins; £18 for 1-2 hours No change Terminal Front express (Free parking exists for 3-4mins away from terminal)
10 Edinburgh £2 for 5mins £4 for 5-10mins; £10 for 10-15mins; £15 for 15mins-1hr; thereafter £15 per hour thereafter Standard fee up £1; changed thereafter tariff – was £3 for 5-10mins; £5 for 10-20mins; £7 for 20mins-1hr; thereafter £9 per hour Drop off area – ground floor of multi-storey. Free drop off for 10mins in long-stay car park with shuttle bus offered
11= Glasgow £2 for 10mins £4 for 11-15mins; £10 for 16-20mins, £15 for 21-30mins Added £4 to 16-20mins; £5 to 21-30mins New drop-off/pick-up – Drop off area by terminal
11= Newcastle £2 for 10mins £4 for 10-30mins Both tariffs up £1 Express pick up and drop off. Medium term offers 15mins free
11= Aberdeen £2 for 10mins £10 for 30mins; £30 for 1 hr Same initial fee for 5mins less Express drop-off
14 Southampton £2 for 15mins £4 for 15-30mins No change Priority pick-up and drop off. Long stay free option provided for 30mins (with bus needed)
15= Belfast International £1 for 10mins £3 for 10-20mins; £5 for 20-60mins No change Drop off zone
15= Bristol £1 for 10mins £3 for 10-20mins; £5 for 20-40mins No change Express drop-off car park
17= Belfast City Free for 10mins £3 for 10-30mins; £6 for 30-60mins No change Drive up charges for short stay car park and drop-off area
17= Cardiff Free for 10mins £5 for every 10mins thereafter No change Drop-off zone. Long Stay 1 offers 20mins free
19= London Gatwick Free at both terminals No waiting No change Outside terminal
19= London Heathrow Free at all terminals Police enforcement applies for those waiting No change Outside terminal entrance
19= London City Free drop-off No waiting – penalty charges issued (not specified) No change Terminal forecourt
19= Jersey Free drop-off No parking – penalty charges issued (not specified) No change Drop-off zone

2019 airport pick-up charges – ranked by initial pick-up fee

Rank Airport Initial cost Fees thereafter Change since 2018 Notes
1= London Luton £8 for 30mins £10 for 30-45mins; £14 for 45mins-1hr; £18 for 1-2hrs Thereafter fee up by £1 Multi-storey car park. Longer stay options available
1= London Stansted £8 for 30mins £14 for 1hr; £18 for 2hrs Initial fee was £5.50 for up to 30mins; thereafter was £10 for 1hr; £16.50 for 2hrs 2019: Based on Orange and Green Zones which Stansted describes as ‘Ideal for picking up passengers arriving to the UK’. Turn up prices quoted, pre-booking available. Free options are a bus ride from terminal
3 Birmingham £5.50 for 1hr £11 for 2hrs Increased initial fee by 40p; 80p increase for up to 2hrs. Car Parks 1, 2, 3 – No 30mins option. Turn-up prices quoted. Other options available. Birmingham states: “If you’re meeting passengers then our Car Parks 1, 2 and 3 are the most convenient”
4 Manchester £4.50 for 30mins £7 for 1hr; £10 for 2hrs Initial fee up by 50p; thereafter was £6.50 for 1hr; £9.50 for 2hrs T1 and T3 arrivals. Turn up and park prices quoted. Pre-booking available
5 London Heathrow £4.20 for 30 mins £7.50 for 30mins to 1hr; £12 1-2hrs Initial cost was £4 for up to 30mins; thereafter was £7.20 for 30m-1hr; £11.50 for 1-2hrs Short stay car parks for each terminal. Airport recommends Short Stay car park for all terminals for picking up. Drive-up prices quoted, pre-booking available. Other parking options available
6 Edinburgh £4 for 15mins £7 for 15-30mins; £10 for 30mins to 1hr; £16 for up to 2hrs Thereafter tariff band change: was £7 for 15-30mins; £10 for 30mins to 1hr; £16 for up to 2hrs Multi-storey pick-up zone on ground floor of multi-storey next to terminal. Free drop off only permits up to 10mins free, and is a bus ride from terminal
7= East Midlands £4 for 30mins £5 for 1hr; £9.50 for 2hrs Added 50p to all fees Short stay 1. East Midlands says: “If you’re just staying long enough to pick someone up, you should use either the Short Stay car park, or the Long Stay 2 car park.”
7= London Gatwick £4 for 30mins £8 for 31-60mins; £13 for 1-2hrs No change Short stay – both terminals. Roll-up prices are quoted. Pre-booking available. Long stay offers 2hrs free, but requires bus ride to terminal
9 London City £3.50 for 10 mins £8 for 10-20mins; £5 per 5mins thereafter Initial costs were £3.20 for 10mins; £7.50 for 10-30mins; £27.50 for up to 1hr Pick-up zone in car park. For stays of 20mins or less. The Pick-up Zone is for stays of 20mins or less. If you need to stay for longer than 20mins, you can park in the 1hr bays in our Orange zone, located at the front of the Onsite car park.
10 London Southend £3 for 10mins £5 for 5-30mins; £7 for up to 1hr; £12 for up to 2hrs First year recorded Short stay car park. Southend: “There are a couple of options for those who are looking to pick passengers up or drop them off. Our conveniently located Short Stay car park is just a few steps from the terminal, so it’s a good but paid for option to get passengers as close to the terminal as possible”
11= Liverpool John Lennon £3 for 20mins £10 for 1 hr; £20 for 2hrs No change Express drop-off and pick-up. Liverpool airport states: “For passengers who are being dropped off or picked up, there are two car parks to choose from – the Express Drop Off & Pick Up car park (fees apply) “. Airport also recommends Short Stay for picking up and dropping off, with prices from £6 for up to 40mins. Drop Off 2 offers 40mins free parking and is a 10-min walk to terminal
11= Glasgow £3 for 20mins £6.50 for 1 hr; £11 for 90mins; £12.50 for 2hrs New thereafter tariff. Was £6 for 1hr; £12 for 2hrs Multi-storey car park 2. Advises the use of ‘car park 2’ (short stay) for pick up where it is longer than 10mins. Otherwise, dedicated pick up/drop off zone is £2 for up to 10mins. Long stay option available with limited free period
13 Aberdeen £2.50 for 15mins £6.50 for 1hr; £11 for 1.5hrs; £16 for 2hrs Initial cost was £2.50 for 15mins; therafter was £6 for 1hr; £10.50 for up to 3hrs Short stay car park – ideal for picking up. Pre-booking options available
14 Newcastle £2 for 10mins £4 for 10-30mins; £5.50 for 30-45mins; £7 for 45-60mins; £8 per hr thereafter Added £1 to all fees up to an hour. Removed £12 for 2hrs and introduced per hour fee after 60mins Express drop-off and pick up as recommended. Short & mid-term car park also available
15 Southampton £2 for 15mins £3 for 15-20mins; £6.50 for up to 1hr; £10 for up to 1.5hrs Increased thereafter fees from £3.50 for 15-30mins; £5.00 for 30-60mins; £7.50 for 1-2hrs Short Stay car park (roll-up rates). Southampton Airport states: “Our short stay car park is also the perfect place for picking up or dropping off passengers”
16= Belfast International £1 for 10mins £2.50 for 10-20 mins; £3.50 for 20-30 mins; £5 for 30-60mins; £9.00 up to 2hrs Increased two thereafter bands: was £3.50 for 30-60mins; £8.00 up to 2hrs Short Stay is what airport recommends for greeting arriving passengers
16= Cardiff £1 for 10mins £2 for 20mins; £3 for 1hr; £6 for 2hrs No change Short Stay ‘picking-up’ car park. Long stay option offers 20mins’ free parking.
18 Bristol £1 for 20mins £3.50 for 20-30mins; £6 for 30-60mins; £8 for 1-2hrs No change Short Stay & Pick-up car park. This is what the airport recommends for greeting arriving passengers
19 Jersey 80p for 30mins £1.60 for 1 hr; £3.20 for 2hrs Initial cost up by 10p; thereafter fees were £1.60 for 1hr; £3.20 for 2hrs Arrivals car park. Free 10-min wait in Pick-up zone available
20 Belfast City Free for 10mins £3 for 10-30 mins; £6 for 30-60 mins; £10 for 1-2hrs 1-2hrs was £9 Short stay car park. Designed for both drop-offs and pick-ups. Belfast City says: “The Short Stay car park at George Best Belfast City Airport is the best option for when you need to meet and greet a passenger from Arrivals or for short journey.”
21 Doncaster-Sheffield Free for 15mins £4 for up to 30mins; £6 up to 1 hr; £10 up to 2hrs Thereafter fees up: were £4 for up to 30mins; £6 up to 1hr; £10 up to 2hrs Short stay pick-up car park. Pick-up also available outside terminal, but cannot leave car
22 Leeds Bradford Free for 1hr £37 for 1hr to 24hrs No change One-hour free parking zone. 3-4min walk from terminal. Airport advertises this as ideal for picking up passengers