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Martin Lewis’ Money Saving Expert reveals how to beat expensive airport drop-off charges

Martin Lewis’ Money Saving Expert reveals how to beat expensive airport drop-off charges

Martin Lewis’ Money Saving Expert has shared some nifty advice which could save you money on charges at drop offs at Heathrow and Gatwick Airports.

Since the pandemic three airports, including Gatwick and Heathrow, introduced payments for those simply dropping off friends and family for their holidays, according to MSE. Another 16 have also increased their fees since the financial advice website began their investigation back in 2019.

Stansted has the highest price hike from £4 to £7, whereas several airports have at least doubled their charges, including Aberdeen, Exeter, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle. Heathrow Airport has introduced a £5 charge for stopping in terminal drop off zones. The charge applies each time your vehicle enters the zone.

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Gatwick Airport also has a £5 minimum spend in their North and South terminal drop off zones. According to MSE, the minimum charge is for up to ten minutes, after that you’ll be charged £1 for each additional minute.

Luckily, if you’re flying from London City Airport, there isn’t a charge for dropping off passengers. However, you’re not allowed to wait on the forecourt next to the terminal or leave your vehicle unattended.

Luton Airport has a range of drop off parking offers, including two free areas in their Mid Stay and Long Stay Car Parks. The former is free for 15 minutes and the latter is free for an hour, but has a £5 charge for a stay under two hours.

Their closest drop off zone charges £5 for ten minutes and then £1 per minute thereafter. For a stay of up to half an hour in their Mid Stay, it’ll cost you £4.

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Stansted Airport’s Express Set Down, which is their quickest drop off option, is £7 for up to a stay of 15 minutes, but anything over that will set you back £25. However you can drop off in their Mid Stay Car Park for up to an hour for free.

Oli Townsend, assistant deals & features editor at MoneySavingExpert.com, said: “The cost of dropping people off at an airport has soared since the pandemic. Many passengers will rightly be shocked when hit with a charge as much as £7 just to set someone down outside the terminal.

“But the good news is that in most cases there’s no need to pay anything when saying goodbye to family and friends, as almost all airports have a free area for drop-offs – as long as you’re willing to take a short walk or shuttle ride to the terminal.”

Luckily, MSE has shared some ways you can avoid the ‘kiss and fly’ charges in each of these airports. These include:

  1. Gatwick. Free drop-offs are available in its long-stay car parks with free shuttle buses. It takes ten to 20 minutes to reach the North Terminal and seven to 12 minutes to reach the South Terminal. Buses run every ten to 12 minutes. See Gatwick Airport info.
  2. Heathrow. Drop-offs of up to 30 minutes are free in Heathrow’s various long-stay car parks for the different terminals. Passengers can take a free bus transfer to the terminal.
  3. Luton. Its mid-term car park is free for up to 15 minutes. It’s a ten to 15-minute walk to the terminal. Alternatively, its Long Stay Car Park is free for one hour, with shuttle buses running every 20 minutes. See Luton Airport’s free drop-offs .
  4. Stansted. Its mid-stay car park is free for an hour. There’s a free shuttle bus every ten minutes, which takes seven minutes to get to the terminal. See Stansted Airport info.
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  • June 25, 2023