Home Airports How To Avoid Paying Airports That Charge to Drop Off/Pick Up Passengers

How To Avoid Paying Airports That Charge to Drop Off/Pick Up Passengers

by SharonKurheg

The other day, Gary from View From The Wing wrote a piece that Dublin Airport had been given permission to start new tolled drop-off and pick-off zones at the airport.

Happily, Dublin Airport’s public response was they had no such plans to start charging to drop off or pick up passengers.

However it did bring up a point – there ARE some airports out there that DO charge for dropping off or picking up passengers. Their reasoning generally tend to gravitate towards reducing congestion. But let’s be realistic – it can also be a great moneymaker, the same as all the other ways airport make money.

The vast majority of public airports that charge for drop offs and pick ups are in the UK. Here are some of the busiest airports that do, and what they charge:

Aberdeen Express Drop off:
10 mins: £330 mins: £10
Belfast City (George Best) Short Stay Car Park 10 mins: free

10-30 min: £3

60 mins: £6

Belfast International Drop off/Pick up Zone:
10 mins: £110-20 mins: £3

20-60 mins: £5

Birmingham (premium) Premium Set-down Car Park:
15 mins: £315-20 mins: £8

55-60 mins: £48.

Birmingham (standard) Standard Set-down (5-10  mins walk):
20 mins: free55-60 mins: £30
Pick up

60 mins: £6

Bournemouth Pick up and Drop off Area  30 mins: £3
Bristol Drop and Go:
10 mins: £510-20 mins: £7

40-60 mins £20

Cardiff Drop off Area:
10 mins: £110-20 mins: £2
Pick up Area:
10 mins: £1

60 mins: £5
Long Stay 1:
20 mins: free

Doncaster Sheffield Drop off/Pick up:
10 mins: £4.00
Short Stay Car Park:
15 mins: free
East Midlands Rapid Drop off: 
15 mins: £5£1 for every minute thereafter.
Short Stay Car Park:
30 mins: £3.50
Long Stay 4: 
Free for 1 hour (bus)
Edinburgh Drop off Zone:
0-10 mins: £4
Pick up Zone:
15 mins: £5
Long Stay Car Park:
30 mins: free (bus)
Exeter Car Park 1:
30 mins: £3
Car Park 4:
10 mins: free (bus)
Glasgow Drop off/Pick up Area:
10 mins: £4
Long Stay Car Park:
30 mins: free (bus)
Glasgow Prestwick Drop off /Pick up Area:
0-30 mins: £2
Humberside Car Park 1: 
15 mins: free60 mins: £4.50
Inverness Short Stay Car Park:
Free for up to 10 minutes
Leeds Bradford Mid-Stay Car Park:
60 mins: free (5-min walk)
Liverpool Express Drop off/Pick up:
20 mins: £10.00
Drop-off 2: 
40 mins: free.
London City Short Stay Car Park:
10 mins: £3.80
London Gatwick Drop off Only
Terminal forecourts: 10 mins: £5
Drop off/Pick up Short Stay Car Park:
30 mins: £5
Premium Short Stay Car Park:30 mins: £6.50
Drop off/Pick up Long Stay:
2 hours: free (bus)
London Heathrow Terminal Drop off:
10 mins: £5
Long Stay Car park:
2 hours: £8
London Luton Mid-Term Car Park:
15 mins: free (bus)
Long Term Car Park:
1 hours: free (bus)
Drop-off/Pick up Zone:
10 mins: £5£1 per minute thereafter.
London Southend Short Stay 1:
10 mins: £4
Long Stay 3:
15 mins £free
London Stansted Mid Stay:
60 mins: free (bus)
Express Set Down:
10 mins: £4
Manchester Drop off/ Pick up Area:
free (bus)
Terminal Drop off/Pick up:5 mins: £5

10 mins:£6
Multi- storey by terminals:
30 mins: £6

Newcastle Medium Stay:
15 mins: free.
Express Parking:
10 mins: £4
Southampton Short Stay Car Park:
15 mins: £2
Long Stay:
30 mins: free (bus)

A few others around the world have their own spin on it. Here are a couple of them:

  • Brussels Airport: The drop-off area is intended to allow departing passengers to quickly leave your vehicle. Cars may stop for a maximum of 10 minutes. Drivers who stop in the drop-off area for longer than 10 minutes will have to pay a fee of €10 + €2 per additional minute.
  • Düsseldorf Airport: You can stay up to 7 minutes free of charge on the departure level. The time is counted from the moment of entry to exit. If you need more than 7 minutes, a fee of 5 Euros for each additional 5 minutes is charged. The maximum stopping time is 30 minutes. As the Arrivals level. This is an absolute no-parking zone and only true transit traffic is possible. The maximum time for passing through is two minutes. For any violation of the no-stopping rule, drivers are charged five euro for stops for up to five minutes.

Heads up that some airports require you to plan ahead of time and book your drop off/pick up in advance. Those with a blue badge (UK equivalent “handicapped placard) may have discounted or free options.

Fortunately, most of the airports have made concessions so you may not have to pay. Obviously, taking public transportation to/from the airport in question will mean no extra drop off or pick up fees. But besides that:

  • Belfast International Airport: The Long Stay Car Park, where you can now avail of 10 minutes of free parking for drop off and pick up, is located 306 yards from the terminal and can be reached in less than 5-10 minutes on foot.
  • Birmingham Airport: Drop off & pick up free up to 20 minutes
  • Bristol Airport: Waiting Zone car park allows up to 1 hour free.
  • Cardiff Airport: A drop off and pick up area is available in Long Stay. The first 20 minutes are FREE.
  • East Midlands Airport: Park up in the Long Stay car park for up to 1 hour and take the 5 minute shuttle to and from the terminal.
  • Gatwick Airport: free drop off is available in the Long Stay car parks with a free shuttle bus to the terminals.
  • Glasgow: Pull into their Long-stay car park and you can leave your car here free of charge for up to 30 minutes.
  • Heathrow Airport: Long Stay car park is free for the first 0 to 29 minutes
  • Leeds Bradford Airport: Park for up to one hour for free in their One Hour Free parking zone that’s great for picking up and dropping off passengers. Located 3-4 minutes’ walk from the terminal it is ideal for parking up and heading inside to meet arriving passengers.
  • Liverpool John Lennon Airport: Free parking for up to 40 minutes at Drop Off 2 Car Park.
  • London City Airport: No charge to drop off
  • London Southend Airport: There is an option to pick up and drop off passengers in Long Stay 3, where the first 15 minutes in any 24 hour period are FREE.
  • London Standsted Airport: Free for up to 60 minutes in their Mid Stay Car Park. After this, you will be charged £5 for the second hour. Any time exceeding this, you will be charged the day rate of £30.
  • Luton Airport: drop off or pick up for FREE for 15 minutes in their Mid Stay Car Park. There is also an option to park FREE for 1 hour at their official Long Stay Car Park.
  • Manchester Airport: All passengers can use their free drop off area, located in JetParks 1, from where passengers can take a short shuttle bus ride to the terminals. The bus operates 24/7.
  • Newcastle Airport: There is a free 15 minute pick up and drop off period available in Short Stay 2.
  • Norwich Airport: allows 5 minutes to drop off and pick up free of charge in the short stay car park.
  • Southampton Airport: Southampton offers a free pick up and drop-off area too, this is located in their long stay car park. You are allowed to use this car park free for half an hour.
  • Teesside Airport: Drop Off & Pick Up car park is free for 15 minutes. Free parking for up to 2 hours when you spend minimum of £2.50 in the Skybar or Landside Cafe. Receipt must be shown for validation.

Fortunately, at least for now, no airports in the U.S. have started to charge for drop offs and pick up (Boston Logan was considering it several years back but so far it hasn’t happened). But really, how far away could we be from this, especially in major cities that are congested all the time? Our one saving grace is probably that whereas the UK has amazing infrastructure like trains so you don’t technically have to be driven in, the US is very car-oriented.

That being said, taxis and ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft already incur a small fee for pick ups and drop offs at airports, and those fees are passed on to the customers. But private cars don’t have such a fee in the US.

Well, not yet, anyway.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


swag March 27, 2023 - 1:24 pm

DFW charges.

Gman March 27, 2023 - 2:31 pm

I wouldn’t say that no airports in the US charge drop off fees, DFW Airport has a toll road that is the only feasible access to the airport by car and charges a toll of $2

SharonKurheg March 27, 2023 - 4:49 pm

Yeah, I know. I seriously considered including DFW. But since the airport itself doesn’t charge the fee, I decided not to. But you’re right…technically, it could be up there.


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