Airport Parking: UK vs. Europe

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If you’ve booked the hotel and flights for your holiday, you could be forgiven for thinking that the main expenses are out of the way. But if you’ve forgotten to book your airport parking, you could be in for a nasty surprise when you turn up for your flight.

airport-parking

We’ve found that on average, British people pay more than Europeans for airport parking. This is true for pre-booked parking, parking bought on the day of flying, and even drop off zones. And not only is airport parking in the UK generally more expensive than that in Europe, but it varies widely across the UK.

The only way British people are better off than their European neighbours is when we consider the most expensive airports. Even London City airport, the most expensive airport for pre-booked parking in the UK, was £28 cheaper for two weeks’ parking than the most expensive European airport in Nice.

Rank

Airport

On the day/drive up cost

Booking in advance – the best value long-term parking

Saving for pre-booking

1

London City

£742

£154

£588

2

London Heathrow T4

£368

£102

£266

3

London Heathrow T5

£368

£118

£250

4

Bournemouth

£307

£67

£240

5

Stansted

£329

£110

£219

=6

London Heathrow T2

£368

£153

£215

=6

London Heathrow T3

£368

£153

£215

8

London Gatwick-South

£285

£99

£186

9

Luton

£323

£147

£176

10

Edinburgh

£260

£90

£170

11

London Gatwick – North

£285

£118

£167

12

Norwich

£225

£70

£156

13

Southend

£210

£100

£110

14

Exeter

£180

£72

£108

15

Southampton

£188

£86

£102

16

Aberdeen

£168

£70

£98

=17

Liverpool

£150

£69

£81

=17

Newcastle

£156

£75

£81

19

Glasgow

£145

£66

£79

20

Birmingham

£162

£90

£73

21

Bristol

£151

£94

£57

22

Leonardo da Vinci

£94

£44

£50

23

Manchester

£172

£125

£47

24

East Midlands

£125

£80

£45

25

Malaga

£82

£40

£42

26

Nice

£217

£182

£35

=27

Athens

£75

£41

£34

=27

Leeds

£108

£74

£34

=29

Belfast City

£104

£72

£32

=29

Belfast International

£110

£63

£32

31

Paphos

£69

£39

£30

32

Munich

£96

£68

£28

33

Palma de Mallorca

£76

£49

£27

34

Humberside

£101

£75

£26

35

Glasgow Prestwick

£86

£65

£21

36

Doncaster

£100

£84

£16

37

Lisbon

£74

£62

£12

38

Milan

£73

£62

£11

39

Cardiff

£100

£98

£2

40

Faro

£62

£62

£0

41

Charles de Gaulle

£189

NA

 -

42

Berlin Schonefeld

£79

NA

 -

Getting a lift

You may decide to save money by getting a lift to the airport, but even then, costs vary depending on where you are flying from. Only a third of the UK and European airports investigated had a dedicated free drop off zone next to the terminal, although others offered a free service in car parks slightly further from the terminal.

The most expensive drop off zone found in the UK was at Stansted, where you pay a staggering £8.50 for 15 minutes. This was closely followed by Luton at £8 and East Midlands at £7 for the same amount of time.

On the other hand, the maximum paid by European passengers deciding to kiss and fly is £3.54 for 15 minutes at Nice airport. Charles de Gaulle in Paris, Berlin Schonefeld and Milan airports all cost £2.65 for 15 minutes.

So with all this in mind, what can you do to get the best price for airport parking?

Our top tips for airport parking

  1. Do your research in advance and use the exact date and time of your flights to get an accurate quote.
  2. Shop around and make sure you consider offsite parking near the hotel too.
  3. Consider if you can manage a short walk or bus transfer (being a little further away from the terminal often enables you to park more cheaply), or if you need to be right by the terminal.
  4. Do a quick search online to see if you can find any discounts. Third parties and employers sometimes offer discounts on airport parking.
  5. Make sure you have the information you need to hand so you park in the correct place and know the procedure for collecting your car again after your holiday. 
  6. Don’t leave valuables in your car, and make a note of your mileage and any marks or damage.
  7. Ensure your car insurance is current. Make sure you book travel insurance as soon as the rest of your trip is booked. That way, you’re covered if anything happens before you leave.
  8. Make sure your keys are safe when you’re away. We had nearly 1,000 claims for replacement locks last year.

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