Image source, Getty Images
Image caption, Airports have increased fees for dropping off passengers close to terminals by nearly a third over the past year.
Airport drop-off charges for drivers have increased by almost a third at UK airports over the past year, according to the RAC.
These are fees charged for dropping off someone as close to a terminal as possible.
The biggest hike in so-called kiss and fly charges are at Southampton and Belfast airports, the RAC has found.
Airports argue the higher fees are to deter drivers from lingering around and help to keep flight costs down.
The Airports Operator Association, which represents airports in the UK, told the BBC the increased revenue helped “keep charges to airlines lower” and helped “maximise the range of flights that can be offered to all passengers.”
Short-stay parking areas around terminals usually have barriers for entry and exit. Drivers have to buy a ticket to get in and pay for the time they stay to get out.
Southampton International airport raised its fee from £4 to £6 for 20 minutes whilst Belfast International airport has hiked prices from £1 to £3 for 10 minutes.
A spokesperson for AGS Airports, which owns and operates Southampton Airport, said the funds received through higher charges were important in “supporting the airport’s operational costs, which have increased significantly.”
Belfast said the higher charges would be used to fund a “wider capital investment programme”. The airport is due to begin the construction of a new £20m security building.
Stansted airport remains the most expensive place to drop off at £7 for 15 minutes.
However, six of the busiest UK airports have frozen drop-off charges since last summer. Alongside Stansted:
London’s Heathrow charges a flat £5 with no time limit London’s Gatwick charges £5 for 10 minutesManchester airport costs £5 for 5 minutes,London Luton charges £5 for 10 minutes Edinburgh costs £4 for 10 minutes. Three airports offer free-drop off outside the departure terminal, these are Cardiff, London City and Inverness.
For passengers that are being dropped off by taxis or private hire cars, they will most likely have fees added to their fares. Many airports offer free options for dropping passengers off in mid or long-stay car parks connected to terminals by buses.
The RAC argue that the increased drop-off charges are far too high to charge drivers for such short periods of time – particularly if they are dropping off people with limited mobility or young families.
Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC has been tracking drop-off charges since 2016 and said putting them up had “become something of 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.
Top tips to avoid high airport parking charges
Research. Check out the drop-off facilities and fees on the airport’s website. Terminal forecourt drop-off areas are likely to be the most expensive.
Have your payment ready. Once you have found out how to pay, ensure you have payment ready to hand.
Say your goodbyes early. Bid your farewells before you get to the airport.
Check your taxi fare includes a drop-off fee. If you’re booking a taxi to take you to the airport, check to see whether the fare includes or excludes any drop-off fees.