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Why it pays to plan your airport parking

Written by: Lydia Crispin | Travel Insurance Expert
Last updated: 14 May 2024 | Created: 16 August 2023

Did you know that Over 61 million passengers passed through Heathrow airport in 2022? That’s an average of over 150,000 departures and arrivals every day. With 40 airports around the UK, the flow of travellers heading to and from their holidays is significant.

Airport parking is one aspect of your trip you may not give much thought to, but it’s worth planning ahead. Especially considering the average price for parking at an airport is around £167.32 for two weeks in a long stay car park. That’s an increase of 85% compared to 2022.

Being dropped off or picked up after a flight is a popular choice for many, if a friend or family member is kind enough to provide the favour. It has been an easy way to save on holiday expenses over the years, but even drop off fees have increased this year. 

Should you pre-book your parking?

Not only have fees increased, but you may be charged more to park if you don’t pre-arrange your parking. The Independent recently reported that holidaymakers may end up paying four times as much for a parking space by paying on arrival.

So pre-booking your space makes sense, though be sure to check with your specific airport as charges do vary.

What’s changed with airport drop offs?

Drivers dropping travellers off or picking travellers up from the airport now need to pay in most airports. Drop off charges vary. 

In July 2023, research from RAC further revealed that drop off fees have gone up at over one third of the UK’s major airports.

Failure to pay can result in a staggering fine!

Last year, Nancy reported her unfortunate experience to the Bristol Post. She was flying from Bristol Airport on a £20 flight. As a result of stopping to swap seats with her friend who was collecting her from the airport, she incurred a £100 fine for not paying the pickup charge.

Four money-saving tips at the airport

Given the current cost of living crisis, we’ve put together the following tips to help you save at the airport.

  1. Research the price of your airport drop off in advance. Planning will stop you from being caught out by costly fees and help you avoid unexpected fines.
  2. Weigh your luggage before you get to the airport. When packing, it can be easy to take a couple of extra ‘just in case’ items. However, this can add up.  Avoid additional costs by ensuring you’re within your luggage weight limit before getting to the airport.
  3. Buy water and snacks at the airport, not on your flight. Food and drink can be expensive onboard your flight. To save, buy your food and drink items after going through security.
  4. Check your credit and debit card rates for use abroad. Some banks will charge you an additional fee for the privilege of using your card outside the UK. Anything purchased on holiday could be costly if you don’t know and budget for additional fees.