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Airport parking price lottery exposed


Airport parking

A new investigation into airport parking has revealed that drivers are paying up to three times more depending on where they fly from.

Comparing 30 airports across the UK, car insurance specialist Admiral examined on-site parking prices for a two-week break in the summer holidays, starting on Saturday 22 July, ending on Saturday, 5 August.

The most expensive was Luton Airport, where a two-week stay at their standard on-site car park came in at £191. By comparison, the equivalent car parking space at Exeter Airport cost just £65 – a staggering difference of £126.

With the average car parking rate for two weeks found to be £111, a stay at Luton will cost holidaymakers a whopping £80 more.

London City Airport

The second most expensive UK airport was London City at £181, followed by Gatwick Airport.

Admiral even found price discrepancies between different terminals at the same airport, with a stay at Gatwick North costing £175 compared to a bill of £167 at Gatwick South. And while a stay at Heathrow Terminals 2, 3 and 4 is priced at £146, you’ll pay £10 more if you park at Terminal 5 (£156).

Drop-off rates were also analysed and researchers found that Stansted, Luton and Doncaster charge the most – at £8.50 for just 15 minutes parking.

Cost of two weeks’ airport parking (standard on-site parking)

Rank Airport Cost Rank Airport Cost
1 Gatwick – North


13 Manchester


2 London City


14 Edinburgh


3 Gatwick – South


15 Birmingham


4 Southampton


16 Aberdeen


5 London Stansted


17 London Southend


6 Luton


18 Glasgow


7 Bristol


19 Cardiff


8 Heathrow T5


20 Doncaster


9 Heathrow T2



(Joint place)

Glasgow Prestwick;



10 Leeds/Bradford


22 Liverpool


11 Heathrow T3, T4


23 Belfast City


12 Exeter


24 East Midlands


And if you’re feeling flush and want a VIP parking experience with an on-site premium valet service, you can expect to fork out £629 for two weeks at Gatwick’s North Terminal – nine times more than at East Midlands Airport where you can find the cheapest premium car parking at £68.

It’s also one-and-a-half times more than you’ll pay a short distance away at Gatwick’s South Terminal, with two weeks costing £395. Meanwhile, premium parking will set you back £597 at London City Airport and £335 at Southampton Airport.

Cost of two weeks’ premium airport parking

Rank Airport Cost Rank Airport Cost
1 Luton


13 Southampton


2 London City



14 (Joint place)

London Southend;



3 Gatwick – North


15 Glasgow


4 Gatwick – South


16 Leeds/Bradford


5 London Stansted


17 Doncaster


6 Heathrow T5


18 Belfast City


7 Heathrow T2, T3, T4


19 Newcastle


8 Birmingham


20 Glasgow Prestwick


9 East Midlands



(Joint place)


Belfast International;



10 Norwich


22 Cardiff


11 Edinburgh


23 Bournemouth


12 Bristol


24 Exeter


Admiral also named the most expensive airports for drop-offs. Collating the costs of a 15-minute drop off,  London Stansted was the dearest at £8.50 – which works out as 57p per minute. In comparison, six airports out of 30 offer a free 15-minute stay.

Also ranked in the most expensive airports for drop-offs are Luton at £8, Doncaster at £6 and Edinburgh and Cardiff which both charge £5.

Cost for a 15-minute drop-off

Rank Airport Cost
1 London Stansted £8.50
2 Luton £8.00
3 Doncaster £6.00
4 Cardiff £5.00
5 Edinburgh £5.00
6 Gatwick – North £4.90
7 Gatwick – South £4.90
8 Glasgow £4.00
9 Southampton £4.00

(Joint place)

Heathrow T2, T3, T4, T5 £3.80

(Joint place)

Belfast City; Belfast International; Bournemouth; Bristol; Liverpool; Newcastle; East Midlands £3.00
12 Aberdeen, Birmingham £2.00
13 Glasgow Prestwick £1.50
14 Exeter £1.00

(Joint place)

Humberside; Bradford; London City; Manchester; Norwich; London Southend £0.00

Admiral’s top tips for Airport Parking during the great summer getaway:

  1. Do your research – visit the website of the airport you are flying from to compare official onsite parking prices – you’ll need the exact dates and times to get an accurate price.
  2. Compare offsite parking options, including hotels that offer free parking
  3. Think carefully about your needs – do you need to be right outside the terminal door, or can you manage a short walk or even bus ride?
  4. Are there discounts available? Some third parties like roadside assistance companies or employers offer discounts on official airport parking. It is worth investigating.
  5. Keep parking details to hand as you travel to the airport to ensure you stop at the specific parking area you have booked. Be aware of any contact you need to make with the parking provider regarding vehicle collection.
  6. Remove unnecessary valuables from the car, make a note of your mileage and record existing marks and damages.
  7. Store your keys somewhere safe whilst you are away. Admiral received nearly 1,000 claims for locks replacements last year.
  8. Make sure your car insurance is up to date before you travel.

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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