More than three quarters of the UK's main airports have increased short-term charges for picking up and dropping off passengers by car since last year, new figures show.
Research by the RAC motoring group found that of the 22 airports that carry more than 1 million passengers per year 18 (82%) have increased micro parking charges.
Three-quarters of UK airports put up pick-up charges in 2019 and more than a third of airports increase drop-off fees for drivers.
Only Gatwick, Liverpool John Lennon, Bristol and Cardiff airports have kept their prices for both drop-off and pick-up the same.
The airports with the most expensive 'kiss and fly' drop off charges are London Stansted, which continues to top the table £4 for 10 minutes and London Luton which charges £4 for 13 minutes.
Manchester has the highest ‘per minute’ drop-off charge at £3 for five minutes or 60p a minute.
Edinburgh and Newcastle have both doubled their drop-off charges to £2 but Newcastle gives 10 minutes in contrast to Edinburgh’s five. While Aberdeen has not increased its £2 fee, it has cut the stay from 15 minutes to 10.
Interestingly, despite six airports currently provide free drop-off facilities, most notably Heathrow and Gatwick. However Heathrow passengers will be made to pay a pollution charge of up to £15 if they drive to the airport to catch flights from 2022.
London Stansted increased its prices the most with a £2.50 rise to £8 for 30 minutes, making it the joint most expensive airport with London Luton for this type of parking – Luton though prices did not go up for 2019.
On a per-minute basis, this is matched by Edinburgh which charges an initial fee of £4 for 15 minutes – again not increased from last year.
Birmingham is the third most pricy for pick-up parking at £5.50 for an hour, having increased this rate by 40p and Manchester takes fourth spot on £4.50 for 30 minutes after a 50p increase.
Pick-up ‘thereafter’ charges
Of the 16 airports that have hiked costs for stays beyond the initial periods of pick-up parking, Stansted’s was the most significant with £4 being added to its fee for up to an hour (now £14) and £1.50 going on to its two-hour fee (now £18).
Together with the initial pick-up fee of £8 for 30 minutes and a drop-off charge of £4 for 10 minutes, this gives Stansted the dubious honour of being the UK’s most expensive airport for collecting and setting down passengers.
RAC spokesperson Simon Williams said: 'Many airports charge drivers to drop off and pick up to keep the terminal entrances clear of traffic and to discourage long stays in car parks.
'Some might also see this as a way to encourage other forms of transport to the airport. In reality, many travellers simply either do not have easy public transport access to get to the airport and even if they do, they can’t always depend on it getting them to the airport in good time.'
RAC top five tips to avoid stress and high airport parking charges
1 Do your research
Check out the parking pages on the airport’s website to understand fees, payment options and stay times. Some airports may even offer lower online rates and allow you to park for a limited free period in long-term and mid-stay car parks.
2 Have your payment ready
Once you have found out how to pay, ensure you have payment ready to hand whether that is adequate change, a debit or credit card or pre-programme the phone payment number into your mobile.
3 Identify a nearby ‘holding location’
It is worth checking out nearby free parking places in case your friends or relatives’ flight is delayed so you can wait for the plane to land before proceeding to the terminal. If picking up, make sure you keep abreast of the flight’s landing time. Do not be tempted to park on roads within the airport’s boundaries as cameras often enforce no-stopping rules and may land you with a charge.
4 Keep in touch
Ask your friends or relatives to call you once they have collected their luggage and cleared passport control so you can park at the optimum moment. But remember if you are driving – it must be hands-free.
5 Say your goodbyes before travel
Say your farewells with your passengers before you get to the airport to keep goodbyes to a minimum, otherwise they may prove expensive.