Luton and Stansted airports are UK's most expensive for pick-ups as study reveals 'sky-high' fees

Eleanor Rose
Good deed: But it can be expensive to pick up loved ones from the UK's busiest airports: AFP/Getty Images

Luton and Stansted airports are the two most expensive in the UK for pick-up charges, it emerged as a new study showed the country's busiest airports hiking fees by up to 100 per cent.

Research by motoring firm the RAC named Luton the priciest, noting that motorists collecting family or friends from the airport are charged the eye-watering fee of £7 for 40 minutes.

This is followed by London Stansted's price of £5 for half an hour. The two London airports are followed by Birmingham airport's charge of £4.90 for one hour.

London Stansted demands the highest fee for dropping off passengers at £3.50 for 10 minutes, which is 50 pence more than the amount charged by London Luton for the same time.

Pricey pick-ups

The five most expensive

1. London Luton - £7 for 40 minutes

2. London Stansted - £5 for 30 minutes, increased this year from £4.50

3. Birmingham - £4.90 for 60 minutes, increased from £4.70

4. Manchester - £4 for 30 minutes

5. Edinburgh - £3.90 for 15 minutes

The RAC's report also found that eight of the top 20 most expensive airports for parking fees have hiked pick-up tariffs this year. Five have meanwhile increased drop-off fees.

Charges rose by as much as 100 per cent in the past year while some airports introduced fees that did not previously exist.

Anyone driving family or friends to or from an airport should check prices in advance "or be prepared for an unpleasant shock", said RAC spokesman Simon Williams.

Rip-off drop-offs

The five most expensive

1. London Stansted - £3.50 for 10 minutes, increased this year from £3

2. London Luton - £3 for 10 minutes

3. Liverpool John Lennon - £3 for 20 minutes, increased from £2

4. Leeds Bradford - £3 for 30 minutes

=5. Birmingham - £2 for 10 minutes, increased from £1

=5. Glasgow International - £2 for 10 minutes, was previously free

=5. East Midlands - £2 for 10 minutes

He added: "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.

"Drop-off charges are the biggest bone of contention as for many they appear severe when they are simply pulling up for less than five minutes and often don't even get out of the car themselves."

Seven airports buck the trend by offering free drop-off parking by terminals. They are: London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London City, Cardiff, Manchester, Belfast City and Jersey.

A spokesman for trade association the Airport Operators Association said income from parking supports investment in facilities and "allows airports to keep charges to airlines low, benefiting travellers through lower air fares".

He said airports provide clear information about the cost of parking options, meaning passengers have a "high level of awareness of the different ways they can choose to get to the airport, ranging from public transport to travelling by car".

The spokesman added that airports set drop-off charges for a variety of reasons, including to manage congestion and limit the environmental impact of journeys.