Drivers facing record high fees at UK airport drop-off zones, finds report

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Seven of the UK’s 21 busiest airports are raising terminal drop-off prices and another is introducing them, RAC research has revealed. The biggest jumps are at Southampton Airport, which has increased its drop-off fees to £6 for 20 minutes (up from £4) and Belfast International, which has raised the charge from £1 to £3 for 10 minutes.

Drivers heading to Glasgow Airport pay £5 for 15 minutes (up from £4) with the same rate at Aberdeen (up from £4) for 10 minutes. The scene is similar at Leeds Bradford, Liverpool John Lennon and Birmingham.

Belfast’s other airport, Belfast City, has introduced a drop-off charge of £3 for 10 minutes, having previously not charged.

Six of the busiest UK airports are among the 13 airports that have frozen drop-off charges since last summer. London Stansted continues to top the drop-off charges table with an initial charge of £7 for 15 minutes. Also holding firm are London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, London Luton and Edinburgh.

There are still three airports where relatives and friends can be dropped off without any charge: Cardiff, London City and Inverness airports all have a free option on the terminal forecourt.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said, “Having tracked airport drop-off fees since 2016, we can see putting up charges has now become something of an annual ritual. Drivers should brace themselves for jaw-dropping prices when they drop their loved ones off at the terminal.

“What’s perhaps more frustrating is that many travelers will call on their friends or family to take them to the airport because of persistent industrial action on the rail network.

“Doing your research ahead of traveling 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 travelers can hop on a shuttle bus connection, saving their driver from 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 airports enforce no-stopping areas with cameras, which could lead to hefty penalty charges.”

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