‘Kiss and Fly’ is actually a lot less scandalous than it sounds. It refers to the slightly-more-mundanely named drop-off parking charge that many UK airports have recently hiked. Back in the day, it used to be a case of having a loved one drive you up to the drop-off zone and you swiftly got yourself and your luggage out of the vehicle before running to catch that flight. But as recently reported by ITV news, not only have hefty parking costs become the norm, but they have increased significantly in the last year. Manchester Airport now has the highest drop off charge at £3 for 5 minutes or £4 for £10 minutes. Other offenders include Luton and Stansted Airports which both charge £8 for a 30 minute stay. To give you more of an idea, allow our handy infographic to fill you in:
There’s no denying this is one of the easiest ways to get to and from the airport terminal, but it does very much depend on a loved one not minding their day being disrupted. And if you’re a considerate friend or relative, then we’re assuming you’re not going to rely on the person giving you a lift to pay these extra costs (and you might even contribute to their petrol money too). And now you can start to get an idea of the inherent problems this may cause…so what alternatives are more convenient for all involved?
Public Transport to the Airport
The most obvious solution is to get some form of public transport to and from the terminal. Many UK airports now make a point of advertising their excellent public transport links, with London terminals on the whole very well served whether it’s by rail, tube or bus. Cost is also a clear incentive, and comparable if the alternative is paying a £30 parking charge (along with those petrol expenses too, of course).
But there’s no denying public transport also comes with its own issues. If you don’t live close to a convenient station or stop, then there’s the question of how exactly you’re going to get to one. And then there’s your luggage. Got quite a bit of it? That’s going to make getting on and off trains and buses that bit trickier. So if you are considering public transport as an option, plan out your route beforehand. Double check there’s no scheduled line works, road closures or any other conditions that will delay you. And if it looks like you might have to get a taxi to Paddington station to catch that Heathrow Express, weigh up whether that extra cost means it’s really worth it.
Parking at the Airport
No, not parking in the drop off zone. That would be madness! And probably end up costing you more than your entire holiday and then some. No, we’re talking about looking into long stay airport parking while you are away. And this option really does have a lot going for it. For starters, you avoid the awkwardness of asking someone to give you a lift in the first place, and also the worry of adhering to their timetable rather than yours. Secondly, flying can be a stressful business in itself, and driving to the airport yourself, in the familiar surroundings of your own car, can go some way to alleviating that. Then there’s the convenience at the end of your travels – no waiting around for buses and trains or worrying why your booked taxi hasn’t made an appearance. Just pick up your car from where you left it, get behind the wheel and get home as quickly as possible.
But what about the expense? We’re not going to pretend airport parking doesn’t come without its costs, but they’re certainly not as high as you might think. There are lots of budget long stay parking options to be found, and if you book early enough, there’s a much better chance of you finding a better deal. Using our site, you can access cheap Manchester Airport parking as well as bookings with all other major UK airports.
Booking a Taxi
Probably the easiest option if you need to find last minute transport to the airport, as there is no shortage of firms willing to take customers to their nearest terminal for a set price. But as anyone who has ever taken a taxi to the airport knows, this doesn’t come without risks. Mixed up bookings, not turning up on time, turning without a child car seat when you’ve specifically requested one, or sending a smaller car than what was previously agreed. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of taxi firms that offer a reliable and reasonably priced service, but if you’ve got the time to organise a cheaper alternative, we highly recommend researching your wider options.
So next time you wince at those ‘kiss and fly’ charges, remember there are other ways of getting to the terminal. Here at Parking at Airports, we’re obviously big fans of airport parking, so instead of asking for a lift, why not consider using your own car?