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The hidden costs of ‘kiss & fly’ drop-off lanes at UK airports

With many consumers intent on becoming more eco-conscious in 2019, UK travelers may not appreciate the environmental damage and negative consequences of their ‘kiss and fly’ lift to the airport. Kiss and Fly is the practice of dropping-off and collecting a traveler from the airport, resulting in twice as many car journeys when compared with pre-booking off-airport parking.

As well as resulting in vehicle congestion and producing double the amount of harmful emissions, lifts to the airport also include the ‘hidden costs’ of the time and money spent by the family member or friend. To encourage travelers to become more mindful of their journey to and from the airport, transportation experts have therefore researched just the costs for kiss and fly drop-off fees at 23 of the UK’s airports, including London Heathrow, Manchester and Edinburgh. The research also highlights the extra miles kiss and fly trips result in.

Just five of the 23 airports researched allow drivers to drop-off passengers directly at the terminal for free, including London Heathrow and Cardiff. However, travelers should note that these airports may charge after a certain amount of time. For example, Cardiff Airport charges £5 for every 10 minutes parked after the initial 10 minutes. 15 airports permit the drop-off of passengers at the terminal for a fee, with the cost varying from £1 for up to 30 minutes at Exeter Airport to £3.50 for 10 minutes at London Stansted. Friends and family should keep an eye on the time at Luton Airport since after paying £3 for the first 10 minutes at the terminal forecourt, motorists are charged an additional £1 for each minute they spend in the drop-off zone.

Holidaymakers who are willing to walk a short distance can save on premium charges by choosing to be dropped off in short and long stay car parks, with 18 airports offering this for free. These include London Luton Airport, which allows up to 15 minutes for free in the mid-term car park, which is 10 – 15 minutes away by foot from the terminal building. Similarly, parking at Southampton Airport’s long stay car park is free for up to 30 minutes and the terminal can be reached in 5 minutes via a shuttle bus, which runs every 10 – 12 minutes. However, both Bournemouth and Bristol do not offer options for dropping-off passengers for free, even at short stay car parks.

For collecting loved ones from the airport, 14 airports permit collection of passengers from the terminal forecourt, with two allowing temporary parking for five minutes free-of-charge. Drivers at nine airports, including Aberdeen and Bristol, must collect travelers from the short stay car parks nearby, with the cost varying from free at five airports to £5.10 for up to one hour at Birmingham Airport.

Alongside monetary charges, kiss and fly journeys include ‘hidden costs’ for loved ones. For example, drivers heading to Birmingham Airport from the city center can expect to spend a total of two hours on the road and pay around £9.60* in fuel costs for two return trips. When combined with two charges of £5.10 for each hour of parking at Birmingham Airport, the total cost for a kiss and fly driver comes to £19.80.

Source: Airport Parking & Hotels (APH) 

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