British holidaymakers are paying over the odds for airport parking and face huge gaps in costs depending on where they fly from.
As millions of families get ready to jet off on holiday new research has found that most of Britain’s airports have increased their parking costs this year.
What’s more, drivers face a postcode lottery, with some airports charging almost four times more than others.
Read more: Car hire tips: how to avoid being ripped off
London Luton is, for the second year, Britain’s most expensive airport for motorists, according to the study of costs by car insurance firm Admiral.
Most expensive airport parking
1 Luton – £255
2 Gatwick South – £175
3 London City -£163
=4 Heathrow T3 -£157
=4 Heathrow – T2 – £157
5 Bristol – £155
6 Heathrow T5 – £147
7 Southampton – £140
8 Birmingham – £137
9 Edinburgh – £130
10 Heathrow T4 – £129
London’s other major airports are also among the most expensive for travellers but those flying from Bristol, Southampton, Birmingham and Edinburgh also face crippling costs for leaving their car.
The study compared prices for a two-week booking at standard on-site car parks at 30 UK airports. It found they varied from £63 at Belfast International to £255 at London Luton.
Luton’s price was £64 more than the same space in 2017 while the Belfast price represented a drop of £12.
Prices fell at 10 other airports as well, including at London City and Heathrow but the capital’s airports still accounted for five of the ten most expensive car parks in the country.
Cheapest airport parking
1 Belfast Int’l – £64
2 Bournemouth – £67
3 Norwich – £69
4 Glasgow Prestwick -£71
5 Humberside – £75
6 Exeter – £79
7 East Midlands – £80
8 Belfast City – £81
9 Newcastle – £82
10 Doncaster – £85
On average, a fortnight’s on-site parking will cost British holidaymakers £95 – £30 more than the average cost to drivers in Europe.
Commenting on the results of the study, head of travel at Admiral, Cosmin Sarbu, said: “Airport parking can soon add hundreds of pounds to the overall cost of your holiday so it’s important that holidaymakers do their research and book in advance to get the best possible price.
“Our report has revealed that the price lottery passengers face is as strong as ever, with huge discrepancies in prices for what is essentially the same 2.4m wide space.”
However, a spokesperson for London Luton Airport said Admiral’s prices didn’t reflect the experience of many customers
They added: “The pricing of all airport car parking will vary according to demand, availability and time of booking. A passenger booking further in advance could take advantage of a price of £44.99 – over £200 less than the amount cited by Admiral.
“What’s more, a recent survey by Which? has found that our pre-book prices are the second cheapest of all major UK airports. 80 per cent of our customers take advantage of these prices and guarantee a space by pre-booking, paying an average of £6.58 a day. We are disappointed that Admiral has chosen to publish a survey which is so misleading to passengers.”
The Admiral figures come in the wake of an RAC study which showed more than half of the UK’s biggest airports have raised their short-term fees this year.
Thirteen airports have put up their pick-up costs, with Luton again topping the list of shame. It charges £8 for a 30-minute stay compared with 2017’s £7 for 40 minutes.
Behind it the same airports crop up again, with Stansted (£5.50 for 30 mins), Birmingham (£5.10 for an hour), Edinburgh (£4 for 15 mins), Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester (all £34 for 30 mins) in the top five.
Drop-off fees haven’t risen as much but still range from free at Heathrow, City and Gatwick to £3.50 for ten minutes at Stansted.
RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: “With thousands of motorists driving to airports to pick up and drop off friends and family members many will unfortunately find themselves shocked by some of the extortionate parking tariffs operated by some airports.
“Our advice is to check parking fees and time limits well before setting out for an airport this summer so as to avoid a nasty shock.”