- Most airports across the UK now charge a drop-off zone fee
- London Heathrow launching new £5 drop-off zone charge from 1 November
- But, most airports still have separate free drop-off points further away
Britons pay £105 million a year in airport drop-off zone fees, according to new research, with the average fee exceeding £3.50 a pop.
From 1 November, Heathrow will become the latest UK airport to impose a drop-off zone fee on motorists, levying a £5 fee.
Direct Line Travel Insurance said that every year around 14 million Britons use convenient drop-off zones when traveling to the airport.
However, about 90 percent of airports still offer alternative free drop-off points for passengers, although these are often further away from the main airport.
Drop-off Fee: The airport drop-off fee for motors is as high as £7 at Stansted Airport. London Luton has a free drop-off zone, but its drop-off zone closest to the terminal charges motorists £5 for 10 minutes.
New Fee: Starting 1 November Heathrow is introducing a new £5 drop-off zone fee
However, speaking to This Is Money, Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: ‘Charges like these just make people think twice and question how easy it is to travel.’
When Heathrow launches its drop-off zone charge, motorists driving with a blue badge will be exempt from the fee, as will drivers of emergency vehicles, licensed London Black cabs and roadside recovery vans.
The most expensive drop-off zone fee at London Stansted Airport is £7 for up to 15 minutes, or £25 for more than 15 minutes.
London Gatwick, Manchester, and once it is introduced, Heathrow, airport areas charge £5 for drop-off, while Edinburgh, Glasgow and Bristol charge £4 once.
At the lower end of the spectrum, Birmingham Airport charges £3 for drop-off in its designated area, while it is £1 at Belfast International.
London Luton has a drop-off zone close to the airport which is free for 15 minutes. However, in the drop-off zone closest to the terminal, the fee is £5 for 10 minutes and £1 per minute thereafter.
Many airports charge more than the origin fee once a certain time limit is reached.
At Gatwick Airport, while the basic drop-off zone fee is £5, an additional £1 is added for each additional minute up to 20 minutes, up to a maximum of £25 for 30 minutes.
Discount: When Heathrow launches its airport drop-off zone charge, motorists driving with a blue badge will be exempt from the £5 fee.
Its passengers could collectively pay around £33.4 million next year after Heathrow imposed its new drop-off charge, according to Direct Line Travel Insurance.
Findings show that passengers traveling through London Gatwick and Manchester have to collectively pay around £14.5 million and £12 million a year for drop-off from the airport.
Direct Line Travel Insurance said that when travel rates are at normal levels, more than a quarter of passengers typically use airport drop-off zones, but about half think they should be scrapped.
Seventeen percent said they would try to find an alternative way to get to the airport if it meant they could avoid paying the drop-off fee.
Tom Bishop, Head of Direct Line Travel Insurance, said: ‘While holidaymakers will find them disappointed, the introduction of these charges is understandable given the enormous financial pressure on airports during the pandemic, coupled with uncertain passenger volumes in the near future.
‘However, since Heathrow is one of the last airports to introduce a fee, most in some form, it is important that when passengers return to the airport they are aware of the drop-off fee, as well as Also there are alternative options available to them.
‘Indeed, those unwilling to pay such a fee for a more convenient drop off should check whether the airport has a free drop-off area, as well as on alternative public or private transfer options. should consider.
In the past year, around 22 percent of Britons have flown, taking just over 17 million flights. But, with the easing of travel restrictions, the number of flights taken is expected to exceed the levels seen in the past year between now and the end of the year.
Speaking to This Is Money, Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: ‘These additional charges do not help make travel seamless.
‘Airports and others in travel should enable easy access so that consumers can get away from business or leisure without the layers of complexity.
‘Such charges simply make people think twice and question how easy it is to travel. If travel is to recover more quickly after the pandemic, access has to be opened to all at no charge.
Such access charges are also a hindrance if public transport is not functioning effectively. Consumers are sometimes forced to drive vehicles to ensure that they catch their aircraft on time.