Airport drop-off fees: The airports across Scotland and the UK with the biggest increases in drop-off fees for drivers
Drop-off fees for drivers have increased at more than a third of major UK airports in the past year, according to new research.
Eight of the 21 airports analysed have raised or introduced charges for dropping off passengers since August 2022, an RAC investigation found. Drivers should “brace themselves” for record high fees, the motoring services company said.
The biggest upswing in existing so-called kiss and fly charges – which are typically levied for dropping off someone as close to a terminal as possible – are at Southampton and Belfast International airports.
The former has raised its fee from £4 to £6 for 20 minutes, while the latter has hiked its price from £1 to £3 for ten minutes.
Belfast City Airport previously allowed drivers to drop passengers near its terminal for free, but this now costs £3 for ten minutes.
Glasgow, Aberdeen, Birmingham, 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.
Edinburgh Airport charges £4 for up to ten minutes, rising to £8 for anywhere between ten and 15 minutes. The pick up and drop off zone at Glasgow Airport is charged at £5 to stay for up to 15 minutes.
Passengers being dropped off at airports by taxis and private hire vehicles generally have the fees added to their fares. Cardiff, Inverness and London City were the only airports analysed which 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 motorists being hit by annual hikes in airport charges has become “an annual ritual”. He went on: “Drivers should brace themselves for jaw-dropping prices when they drop their loved ones off at the terminal.
“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.
“What’s perhaps more frustrating is that many travellers will call on their friends or family to take them to the airport because of persistent industrial action on the rail network meaning that for many, being dropped off at the airport by car is the only reliable way to make their flight on time.
“Doing your research ahead of travelling has never been more important. Many airports offer a free or reduced-rate drop-off area away from the terminal in long-stay car parks where travellers can hop on a shuttle bus connection, saving their driver incurring more expensive charges nearer the departures building.
“Drivers tempted to drop loved ones on the roads inside the boundaries of the airport should beware as many enforce no-stopping areas with cameras which could lead to hefty penalty charges.”
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.”
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