Airport drop-off fees: Charges increase at more than a third of airports

Stansted and other major UK hubs have boosted prices for those dropping people off near terminals, motoring body says

The drop-off charges are aimed at drivers looking to bring passengers as close to terminals as possible. PA
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Airport drop-off fees for drivers have increased at more than a third of major UK airports in the past year, research has shown.

The charges are aimed at drivers looking to bring passengers as close to terminals as possible.

Eight of the 21 airports analysed have raised or introduced charges for dropping off passengers since August 2022, with Southampton and Belfast International airports posting the biggest increases.

The former has raised its fee from £4 ($5) to £6 ($7) for 20 minutes, while the latter has raised its price from £1 to £3 for 10 minutes.

Belfast City Airport previously allowed drivers to drop passengers near its terminal free of charge, but this now costs £3 for 10 minutes.

Aberdeen, Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford and Liverpool John Lennon airports have each added £1 to their fees.

Despite not raising its price this year, Stansted Airport continues to top the table for the most expensive drop-off cost.

The Essex airport’s initial fee is £7 for 15 minutes.

Heathrow, the UK’s busiest airport, has frozen its fee of £5 with no time limit.

Passengers being dropped off at airports by taxis and privately hired vehicles generally have the fees added to their fares.

Cardiff, Inverness and London City were the only airports analysed that allow free drop-offs outside terminals.

Many airports offer free options for dropping passengers off in mid or long-stay car parks connected to terminals by buses.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said increases in airport drop-off charges have become “an annual ritual”.

“Thankfully the proportion of airports hiking fees this year is lower than last year, but that will be little consolation as charges across the board have never been so high,” he said.

Jo Rhodes, deputy editor of consumer magazine Which? Travel, said: “Travellers will be painfully aware of the spiralling costs of dropping a loved one at the airport.

“These latest figures come as a stark reminder that holiday budgets are being stretched at every turn, with higher hotel and flight prices already making a getaway unaffordable for many.”

Updated: July 13, 2023, 6:48 PM