If you’re planning a winter getaway this Christmas, you’ll definitely be thinking about how to get to the airport on time for that all important flight. Will you take public transport, hire a taxi or drive, leaving your car at the airport and pay for your parking?
This is a decision faced by UK residents whenever they travel – and new evidence based on Google search data has revealed striking trends regarding the use of airport parking in the UK.
Studies conducted by Staysure, a UK provider of travel insurance, show that a striking contrast between London and non-London airports is apparent when it comes to the amount of travellers looking for airport parking.
Three times more passengers at airports outside of London look for airport parking than those at London airports, meaning that the competition for parking spaces trebles at airports outside the capital. If you’re planning to fly from a non-London airport and use the parking facilities there, this is definitely something to bear in mind.
Despite the fact that 3 out of every 5 people who travelled by plane from the UK in 2017 flew from a London airport, less than 1 in 100 of those flying from Heathrow made use of airport parking facilities.
In fact, at only 0.83% Heathrow has the lowest percentage of travellers looking for parking in relation to passenger volume – a startling statistic for the largest airport in the UK. At only 2.8% and 1.3% respectively, Stansted and Gatwick don’t fare much better.
Plenty of factors explain Londoners’ reluctance to make use of airport parking facilities. It is in part down to the expense of London airport parking, which costs roughly £15 more per week than parking at non-London airports.
It may also be due to the fact that those in the vicinity of London are well-connected and therefore more likely to make use of public transport to travel to the airport, rather than driving their own cars. Driving in and around London is often slower and less reliable than using public transport and – during peak times – expensive.
So which airports have the most popular parking facilities in the UK?
The airport with the highest percentage of flyers looking for airport parking is Bristol, with 10.78% of all passengers searching for parking. It’s closely followed by Luton at 6.79%.
In terms of search volume however, Manchester stands out as the clear winner. More people search for parking facilities in Manchester Airport than at any other airport in the UK, with a remarkable three searches for parking there for every search for parking at Heathrow.
An estimated 1 in 20 passengers at Manchester Airport will be parking their cars at its facilities, which amounts to 5.6% of people flying.
If you are planning to use airport parking facilities this winter, what can you do to ensure that your holiday goes smoothly?
First and foremost, book your airport parking in advance. The study showed that last minute parking costs on average £3.70 more per day and at least £30 more over the course of your holiday if you book on the day.
Holidays can be expensive enough without accumulating unnecessary parking costs, so make sure that you pre-book at least a week before your day of departure to get the best possible rates for you.