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Revealed: The UK’s most expensive airports for 10-minute drop-offs

Drivers doing the airport run (drop off and pick up) could be facing charges of up to £25.00 according to a recent comparison from Taxi Insurers Staveley Head.

The study used data from Civil Aviation Authority1 to rank 30 of the UK’s busiest airports (based on footfall) from the most expensive to the cheapest based on 5-minute, 10 minute, 15-minute and 30-minute stays directly outside the terminal.

The Most Expensive Airport Drop Off: Stansted Airport

The data reveals that Southend Airport is the UK’s most expensive airport for a 10-minute drop-off, charging £4.50.

On the other hand, there are 6 airports in the UK that offer a free 10-minute drop off including Cardiff, London City and Newquay.

However, for those needing a slightly longer wait (which is usually unpredicted based on plane landing delays), Stansted is the most expensive for 30 minutes wait, charging £25.00. That’s almost £1.00 per minute!

18 airports out of 30 charges for just a 5 minute drop off – with Stansted charging the most at £3.00.

How to Prevent airport charges

The statistics above are for the car, taxi and private hire cabs and the rules and prices can change for those driving a minibus, so it is important to check your airport to see if there are any changes for minibus drivers.

Most airports do offer a free drop off zone, but many of these aren’t directly outside the terminal, although they often provide a courtesy shuttle bus to the terminal for passengers. Many airports also offer free drop-offs and pickups outside the terminal for passengers who hold a blue badge for a length of time.

Top tips: Stansted Airport

Stansted airport charges £3.50 for the first 10 minutes and then £1 per minute after that up until 15 minutes, and a half an hour stay is a staggering £25.00. Please be aware that there’s a £20 fine if you re-enter within 30 minutes of the first time you entered. Drivers who also wait and leave their engines on could also face a fine up to £80. A helpful tip: there’s a free facility located in the Mid Stay Car Park when you follow signs for ‘Free Set Down’ which offers up to an hour stay for free.

Top tips: Manchester Airport

Manchester airport doesn’t allow you to stay longer than 10 minutes when dropping off although when picking someone up is slightly different. Passengers can be picked up in the arrivals and multi-storey car parks with a charge of £4.00 for half an hour. For Taxis, you can get a Private Hire Concession Card for £30 what can give you a saving of up to 40% on costs by completing an application form via the Manchester Airport website. Blue badge holders can enter the forecourt areas free of charge, show your blue badge to the traffic marshals upon entering.

Top tips: Heathrow Airport

Heathrow airport does not permit waiting but is free to drop off outside the terminal. Picking up can be done at the short stay carpark for those looking for convenience as it is right beside the terminal, this will cost you £4 for up to half an hour and £7.20 for an hour. Picking up or dropping off passengers at the long stay carpark is free up to 2 hours and a shuttle bus takes you to the terminal every 10 minutes.

Top tips: Gatwick Airport

You can pick up and drop off passengers for free outside of the north or south terminal, however waiting is not permitted, and you must pick up passengers at the pickup zone and drop off at the drop off zone or you could face a fine. The short stay car park is £4 up to half an hour and £8 for an hour. Like Heathrow airport, the long stay car park is free for up to 2 hours with a shuttle bus to the terminal.

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