How to beat the airport parking price hikes this Easter

  • 17 Mar, 2017
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out-smart airport parking

As schools are able to pick their own holiday dates, arranging the annual family holiday can sometimes be tricky! Especially when you find out that this year the varying dates for Easter holiday breaks actually falls over three weeks! (Last year, it was four!) This varies by county too, so if you have a child in primary school in one county, and one in secondary school in another, picking a date to go away can get even more complicated.

So not only do you have the cost and timing of your holiday fluctuating, your parking may end up being a bit more costly, too. With this in mind, we took a look at some of the UK’s busiest airports to see how you can avoid paying too much for your airport parking.

A sample of car parks were used at each of these locations so individual car parks may vary, and as always prices are subject to change.

Easter dates

We ran our experiment to include the weeks surrounding the Easter break, Saturday-Saturday, across a range of different parking options. Here’s what we found;

London Heathrow

Heathrow prices

At Heathrow, we saw that their 5* Meet and Greet Car park beat both of the other top Long stay and Meet and Greet Car Parks; not only were they cheaper, £67 compared to ~£100, they also didn’t increase their price during the 3 week Easter break. The other two saw a £15-£30 increase during this period.

Average Easter Price Hike: £23

Best Buy: 5* Meet and Greet – no price increases and a good price!

Worst Buy: Purple Parking Park and Ride with a mega 75% increase in price.

London Gatwick

gatwick prices

During those three weeks, the price rises by almost £30 compared to the 2 weeks that surround them (March 25th-April 1st, and April 22nd-29th). LGParking (Meet and Greet) came out as the cheapest compared to both the official and unofficial Long Stay parking for both terminals which came in at just under £75.

Average Easter Price Hike: £30

Best Buy: LGParking Meet and Greet – cheapest and with a smaller price fluctuation

Worst Buy: Long Stay South/North – South has the largest markup with a shocking 97% increase! North was the most expensive at £82.


Manchester airport parking price hikes

Manchester came out as a great airport to fly from in terms of airport parking this Easter. Despite being  one of the UK’s busiest airports, the airport parking prices didn’t fluctuate anywhere as near as much as other airports we tested.  Some products were worse than others however the products selected were very reasonable.

As would be expected the Official Long Stay products showed the biggest price increases during the  Easter break period. Park and Ride service Toad Car Park had very consistent pricing, as did EazyPark Meet and Greet, with both coming in cheaper than the Long Stay option.

Average Easter Price Hike: Just £3!

Best Buy: Toad Park and Ride if you want to save the pennies – at £28 for a week during the Easter break, it’s not bad!

Worst Buy: None of our picks seemed particularly awful, however the official Long Stay did make sure to hike up the prices by a tenner during the holidays, so we would recommend going for a different service.


Luton prices

Luton showed more price increases over the Easter period, although the overall increase wasn’t too bad considering that it is a London airport. The Long Stay parking followed the trend we’ve spotted all the way through our research of having large increases over Easter and being generally much more expensive. Luton is a good option if you want more stable parking prices.

Average Easter Price Hike: £12

Best Buy: Paige Airport Parking offered relatively  stable pricing and at a good price too.

Worst Buy: Drum roll… it’s the official Long Stay parking again with the biggest hikes over the Easter period.

Tips to beat the increases

From our research above we have determined some clear trends that if you are able to steer clear of, you should be able to save some pennies if you are going away over Easter.

Pick your timing

The first one is obvious, and most likely not an option. However, if you are able to make it work, it’s where you’ll save the most money. If you can organise taking your holiday in the weeks after the three-week Easter period or before it, you’ll save a lot of money. Nearly all the car parks showed increases during the three weeks, some a lot more than others!  The weeks of the 25th March – 1st April and  the 22nd April – 29th April were both far cheaper  in the majority of cases than the middle three weeks.

airport parking prices

Choose your car park wisely

Avoid the official airport car parks. In most instances we found out that the official long stay car parks were far more expensive and had the biggest price hikes.  You might be worried about using a car park not operated by the airport but you can choose car parks that have the Park Mark and have good reviews. All car parks used in our research have a rating of 4 stars or more. Our results clearly showed that these car parks kept their prices lower and fluctuated less than others, so you could really save some money.  There are of course exceptions and some car parks will see huge price increases the closer the holidays get.

other airports can be cheaper

Airport flexibility

Not everyone will be lucky enough to do this, but if you have the option of  travelling from two different airports, you may find that one is much cheaper than the other. This is particularly the case when you look at airports that are a bit more regional, when we conducted our research it seemed that despite  being busy still, airports such as Bristol had far more consistent prices for airport parking over the Easter period. As you would expect, the London airports were all far worse and will be expected to get worse the closer to Easter we get.

Book early!

We do love to say it – but booking in advance really can save you money.  This is even more the case when you are booking for popular holidays such as Easter and half term. The rush of families trying to make the most of time off school and workers taking advantage of the bank holidays means that  car parks can get booked up quickly and  the fewer spaces are left the more expensive they can get. We saw this recently for the February half term where certain Gatwick car parks rose to several hundred pounds for just a week!

We hope this has helped you beat those airport parking price hikes  and you can save a bit of money for your holiday. Have you been caught before by these cheeky price rises around holidays, or know of any tips we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below!

Why we love off-airport car parks (and you should too!)

  • 22 Nov, 2015
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Off-Airport Car Parks

If you are going away for more than a day or two, it is usually the most cost effective option to book long stay parking, especially if you book in advance. However, have you considered booking off-airport parking? Many people first think of the cowboy operators who have hit the headlines for parking your car in a field, but this is just not the case for most of the providers. Read More

How being lazy can save you time and money

  • 28 Apr, 2015
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Save time and money

We know that when it comes to parking at the airport, most people pre-book their parking, want it to be cost-effective, are concerned about the location of the car park, and that most people pick Long Stay parking as their parking option of choice.

Long stay parking may seem the savvy choice – you’re going away for more than a few days and you’re willing to put up with a transfer to the airport. In most cases, the Official Long Stay car park may be more reasonable than Short Stay parking or Meet and Greet and therefore it all makes sense… or so you think! Read More

Pre-booking vs. turning up at the gate: 60% savings

  • 15 Jul, 2014
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Parking written on the road

Passengers flying from airports in Northern Ireland could save up to 60% by pre-booking parking at long stay airport car parks instead of turning up on the day and paying at the gate, the Consumer Council has found.

The Consumer Council, an independent consumer organisation focused on Northern Ireland consumers, recently conducted a research where they compared the on-site long stay parking tariffs of the three NI airports (City of Derry Airport, Belfast International Airport and Belfast City Airport) and found that “pre-booking car parking came out on top as the best value for money”.

Commenting on the results of the research, Jenny Robinson from the Consumer Council said: “The savings for booking car parking in advance can be significant. What is obvious is that consumers aren’t getting the best price possible when they pay at the gate”.

The research shows that for a 10-day stay a whopping £33 can be saved at George Best Belfast City Airport, £36 at Belfast International Airport and £39 at City of Derry Airport by booking car parking in advance.

Currently, Airport Parking Shop allows holidaymakers to compare prices at one NI airport, Belfast International. According to our recent research, the lowest available parking option at this airport hasn’t changed compared to Summer 2013, and was £45 for a 2-week stay in August 2014.

We’d Like To Agree Airport Parking Prices Only Go Up. But We Can’t. Here’s Why

  • 20 Jun, 2014
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You’ve worked out your summer holiday budget, booked your flights, and then… you groan. You forgot the airport parking. Extortionate, rip-off, always more expensive airport parking.

Or is it?

At Airport Parking Shop, we decided to have a look at whether or not airport parking really does always get more expensive year on year. So, we gathered data for 27 of the UK’s leading airports, looked at the cheapest available option for each, and found that over a quarter of airports have parking options available that are cheaper this year than they were in 2013, while prices remained the same for 19% of the UK’s airports.

Although London City had the biggest price reduction with prices down 39% year on year, it is still the most expensive overall with 2 weeks parking costing £140.

Leaving your car for two weeks in August at Stansted and Gatwick airports will cost you less this year than last year, with cheapest option now available at 30% less for Stansted and 3% less for Gatwick.


What We Compared

A year ago, we took an example of 14 days (two weeks’ trip) in August and ran parking searches for each and every airport listed on our site. The dates we chose were 12-26 August, and we repeated the same search in early summer this year. Read More