/ Travel & Leisure

What’s your worst airport parking experience?

With the school holidays firmly upon us, many will be jetting off abroad – and leaving their cars parked at the airport. But why is the process often so expensive – and sometimes stressful?

So, you’ve booked the flights, hotels and car hire months in advance – but have you forgotten something important for your fast-approaching holiday?

if you forget to book your airport parking in advance, our new research shows that you could face a hefty premium. Not the best start to your relaxing trip abroad.

At one airport, we found turning up on the day and parking would cost you a shocking 367% more than pre-booking.

We also found that, perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s generally cheaper to park off-site than at the airport. But then you’ll could face a bit a slog to get back to the airport.

However a solution may be at hand: some airports are now offering ‘budget’ on-site options to counter off-site competition.

For a full breakdown of the best parking options at every major UK airport, check out our latest research here.

Parking problems

We’ve all heard airport parking horror stories… Eg.

Not to forget this…


Has your car ever been damaged by another driver or, worse still, broken into while parked at the airport?

Here are some tips to avoid it happening again: first off, check that your car insurance policy covers you for airport parking. This is especially important if it’s ‘meet and greet’-style parking where you’ll leave your keys as well as your car.

Next, only leave your car in a car park with the Park Mark logo. These are sites that have passed a police-accredited assessment for having appropriate lighting, surveillance and access.

Finally, take photos of your car before you leave it and if your car is damaged when you return, report it straight away and demand a written receipt of it from the car park.

So what’s been your worst airport parking experience? Extortionate costs? Finding your car broken into or damaged on return? And it doesn’t have to be all bad – have you had a good experience? Let us know what happened.

How do you normally get to the airport?

Taxi (27%, 97 Votes)

Drive – and park onsite (22%, 80 Votes)

Train (17%, 61 Votes)

Get a lift from family/friends (16%, 59 Votes)

Drive – and park offsite (14%, 50 Votes)

Coach (5%, 19 Votes)

Total Voters: 366

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” Here are some tips to avoid it happening again: first off, check that your car insurance policy covers you for airport parking. This is especially important if it’s ‘meet and greet’-style parking where you’ll leave your keys as well as your car.”



Seems to me that this is an area of some concern given the reported around 50% of car insurances do not cover the risk. As a loyal Which? reader for the last 30 years it seems to me to be a very obvious area for intervention on consumers behalf to make people aware of it. Or to change the law to make it explicit that it is included or that parking/valet services that do not cover insurance fully get a signed waiver from the customer.

I must admit I was unaware of the danger.

I have generally hired a car to go to the airport and picked up another for the return trip. That removes the hassle of airport parking but introduces other problems.

Stansted run by Manchester Airports uses parking to extract vast amounts of money from travellers.
Drop -off to unload cases costs £3-50 for 5 minutes. The price rockets over 10 minutes. They used to have a 20 minute free drop-off time, but that`s gone.
Pre-pay parking is about £50 / week, and when you get there you usually have to spend some time looking for a parking space. Then the free bus is supposed to go every 10 minutes to the terminal, but last time we sat on the bus which took 40 minutes to get to the terminal. Luckily we had plenty of spare time.
On one occasion we paid in advance but the entry check wasn`t working and they tied to charge us again on leaving.
Stansted is one of the worst airports for high costs, poor services, and delays. I think the owners are running a Shopping Mall with air travel as a side line.