Sky-High Kiss And Drop Fees

Wed 14th Sep 2022

According to new research, the drop-off fees at over two-thirds of the UK's busiest airports have increased this summer, resulting in those giving them a lift being greeted by the highest ever fees.

The analysis from the RAC found that Stansted Airport charges £7 for 15 minutes of parking to top the list of sky-high airport drop-off fees and travellers will not find London's other airports much cheaper.

London Luton has raised its drop-off charges from £4 for 13 minutes to £5 for 10 minutes, Heathrow and Gatwick have both implemented drop-off fees as a result of these two airports charging £5 for just 10 minutes of parking at Gatwick and the same fee for an unknown quantity of time at Heathrow. Parking at these locations was free in 2019.

Elsewhere, high fees are also prevalent. At Manchester Airport, drivers are charged £5 for five minutes of parking (an increase from £3 in 2019), while those at Liverpool John Lennon must pay £4 for 10 minutes (an increase from £3 for 20 minutes).

It’s particularly galling that Bristol Airport increased its parking fee from £1 for 10 minutes to £5 for 10 minutes in 2019. Bristol and East Midlands Airports have both increased their parking fees to £5 for 10 minutes and 15 minutes, respectively.

The four largest airports in Scotland—Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow, and Inverness—all raised their drop-off fees from £2 to £4 for 10 minutes of parking.

Drivers can still take advantage of free-drop off areas near the terminal entrance at London City, Cardiff, and Belfast City airports, which have kept their parking fees the same since 2019 (£3 for 15 minutes and £1 for 10 minutes, respectively).

 “Anyone dropping a loved one off at the terminal this summer will be stunned by some of these sky-high ‘kiss and drop’ charges,” said Nicholas Lyes, Head of Roads Policy at the RAC. “And for those using the UK’s two busiest airports, the luxury of free drop-offs outside the terminal building has been replaced by some pretty high fees. Minute for minute and pound for pound, some of these charges could almost be as high as the airfare itself.

While airports have had a turbulent couple of years with the pandemic, it very much looks like they have put up drop-off fees to partially make up for two years of lost revenue.

“Drop-off charges were meant to encourage travellers to use public transport to get to the airport, but with strikes impacting the rail network this summer and public transport options being limited at some airports, people will understandably seek more reliable ways to get to the terminal and that usually means asking a friend or relative to give them a lift. The increase in drop-off fees, combined with high fuel prices, means taking loved-ones to the airport this summer is more expensive than ever.

“Doing your research on the fees charged before heading to drop off at an airport has to be the best advice. It’s good to see some airports offering cheaper drop-off rates in mid-term or long-stay car parks though these tend to be further away from the terminal and might require a shuttle bus connection.”