Motorists face 'sky high' airport drop-off charges over summer

London Luton Airport is the most expensive in the country for pick-ups, the RAC found. Credit: PA Images

Motorists dropping off friends and relatives at airports this summer could be stung by "sky-high charges," the RAC has warned.

Their research found that drivers risk paying six times more per minute to park than it costs to make a mobile phone call home while abroad.

London Luton Airport is the most expensive in the country for pick-ups, with short stay parking costing a minimum of £7 for 40 minutes, the RAC said. It is also the most expensive per minute for drivers opting to wait in their car, with charges of £3 for 10 minutes and £1 per minute thereon.

Credit: PA Images

The research also found it costs £4.70 to park for up to 60 minutes at Birmingham International Airport, while parking close to Stansted Airport's terminal costs £4.50 for 30 minutes.

Drivers can also be hit by penalties for overstaying the minimum time period in drop-off zones. A penalty of £50 is levied to those who exceed the 10-minute time allowance at London Stansted, the RAC found.

Despite the high prices at many airports, six of the country's busiest airports still offer some free parking options.

Pete Williams, the RAC's head of external affairs, said drivers should check parking fees before they set out.

A spokesman for the Airport Operators Association said that airports provide information on parking options.

He said: "UK airports operate in a highly competitive environment, across all facets of their business.

"Non-aeronautical income, such as income from parking, allows airports to keep charges to airlines low, benefiting travellers through lower airfares and increased connectivity. It also supports the record investments airports are making in improved facilities and infrastructure to create the best possible experience for passengers.

"Airports provide information on getting to and from the airport in a clear an accessible manner, including on the different parking options people can choose from.

"As a result, travellers have a high level of awareness of the different ways they can choose to get to the airport, ranging from public transport to travelling by car."