Drop-Off Fees at Airports Double in Two Years

Also known as ‘kiss and fly’ fees, many airports are introducing or increasing their drop-off fees – and some are also introducing pick-up fees

10 October 2018 – Travelling with heavy luggage on public transport can be tricky, so it’s no surprise that many Brits opt to be dropped off at the airport. But the convenience has a price – and that price is increasing, according to new research from KAYAK.co.uk.

The research found that East Midlands and Aberdeen airports have both doubled their drop off fees from £1 to £2 since 2016. Meanwhile, London Stansted has also increased its fees by £1, meaning the charge to drop a passenger at the airport is now £3.50.

Drivers who take their eyes off their watch at Stansted could be in for a shock. Those who stray over the 15-minute mark are automatically charged a whopping £25 – equating to a staggering £1.66 a minute.

Manchester Airport, which previously had not charged a drop-off fee, introduced one this year –  and at £3 for up to 10 minutes, it is one of the most expensive in the UK. Luton Airport also charges £3, while Birmingham airport charges £2 for up to five minutes to drop passengers at the terminal – with the price increasing by £5 for every 5 minutes thereafter.

Drop-off fees at Bristol Airport have remained constant at £1 over the last two years –  as have those at Edinburgh – although the latter charges a £4 pick-up fee, meaning a total of £5 to drop off and later pick up a loved one or friend.

How to avoid the fees

At many airports, there are ways to avoid paying the drop-off fees, although they often involve a bit of extra hassle. For example, London Stansted offers up to an hour’s free parking at its mid-stay car park for those who don’t mind a five-minute bus ride to the terminal.

London Luton offers 15 minutes for free at its mid-stay car park (a five-minute bus journey away) and a generous two hours for free at its long stay car park, which is a 10-minute bus ride away from the terminal. So, whilst it may not be quite as convenient as dropping off immediately outside the terminal, it allows drivers to park up and help the person they are dropping off to the terminal if required.

Birmingham Airport also offers up to half an hour for free at its drop-off car park – but again drivers need to be careful not to stray over this time, as after this, costs rise to £5 for every extra five minutes.

Some airports do not charge at all – with London Southend offering five minutes for free to drop off passengers, or 15 minutes for free in its long stay car park – which is just a short walk to the terminal.

And, perhaps surprisingly, the UK’s biggest airports Gatwick and Heathrow do not charge a drop-off fee at all – although both do have strictly enforced ‘no waiting around’ policies, so drivers should be prepared to be moved on swiftly.

John-Lee Saez, Managing Director for KAYAK Europe, commented: ‘Airports have cottoned on to the fact that they can monetise their drop-off areas, and considering the huge number of passengers dropped off at an airport every day, it can be a real money spinner. It was not a surprise to see that once the idea was introduced, most airports quickly followed suit’.

‘But there are ways around it. Many people may not realise that lots of airports offer a short stay for free at some of their car parks, so it is worth checking and not just driving to the terminal by default. In addition, airports know that many will simply pay for the convenience of an express drop-off at the terminal. As they say – time is money, and that certainly applies at most airports’.