How to Avoid Manchester Airport Drop-Off & Pick-Up Charges

    With constant changes to where you’re meant to drop off at Manchester Airport, as well as the fees you’re charged, we thought we’d create this guide to clarify everything. This will be especially handy if you have have booked your parking at Manchester airport.

    Scroll down for more information on the Manchester Airport drop off charge, as well as where the Manchester Airport free drop off zone is, and as the location of the new Terminal 1 Arrivals car park.

    Plus, find out more information on the pick-up fees.

    How Do I Avoid the Manchester Airport Drop Off Charges?

    Please note this video was accurate as of the time of posting – 08/10/18.

    We’ve all considered being dropped off at the airport rather than driving ourselves.

    After all, if it saves you driving as well as a few quid parking, it’s all worth it, right? (As long as we don’t talk about them doing two round trips to the airport that is.)

    However, with the Manchester Airport free drop off location, journeys might not be so easy.

    Manchester Airport’s free drop-off zone isn’t a short walk to the terminal. It’s located on Thorley Lane just up the road, and you’re required to get a shuttle bus to the terminal.

    The shuttle arrives every 15 minutes and takes 7 minutes to get to terminal 2, or 12 minutes to arrive at terminals 1 and 3.

    To get there, you can head towards JetParks 1 (Thorley Ln, Manchester M90 5AZ) and follow signs for the free drop-off area.

    If you want to get close to your terminal when being dropped off, you’ll have to pay a fee.

    So What Are The Drop-Off Charges?

    Paid drop-off parking are on the forecourts of the various terminals and the train station.

    The fee is £3 for five minutes, or £4 for 10.

    And if you pay this charge, find you’re running over time and decide to recirculate, you’ll have to pay a whopping £25 penalty charge.

    How Much is the Pick-Up Fee?

    For a while, the negative press was on the airport’s drop-off fees, with little change in the pick-up charges.

    However, in June 2019 the pick-up fee increased.

    Drivers are now charged £4.50 for up to 30 minutes in the multi-storey, the designated pick-up point.

    This has increased by 50p from the previous price of £4.

    Manchester Airport has also confirmed that the free drop-off zone on Thorley Lane is for drop-off only. This is the only way to pick passengers up.

    How Do I Pay the Drop-Off Fee at Manchester Airport?

    So we know there is a drop-off fee, and how much we’re expected to pay.

    But there is no information online about how to pay, or what payment methods are allowed.

    So as SkyParkSecure’s Brent was dropping his parents off at the airport, he experienced the system first hand.

    At Terminal 3 — where Brent was dropping off — there are ANPR cameras in place as you drive into the drop-off area. These cameras will make a note of your registration so paying the required fee is a must if you don’t want to face a hefty fine.

    At the terminal entrance there are a series of drop-off bays where you can unload your passengers and their luggage.

    Then when you come to exit the drop-off area, you’ll reach a boom barrier where your car registration is read again and you’ll be presented with your drop-off charge. This can be paid by cash or card.

    But Why Have the Drop-Off Fees Been Put in Place?

    Tricia Williams, Chief Operating Officer of Manchester Airport, has said that “As passenger numbers have grown, we have increasingly experienced major congestion problems on our terminal forecourts, made worse by a high percentage of visitors repeatedly recirculating at peak times.

    “The simple fact is our forecourts were not designed to handle the number of vehicles they do today and do not have the capacity to cope with any further growth in the number of people being dropped-off immediately outside our terminals.”

    According to Ms Williams, it’s a simple matter of congestion at the airport, and these steps will help to free up much-needed road space.

    Drop-Off Vs Parking – Which is Cheaper?

    So let’s take a closer look at the costs for the average traveller.

    Manchester Airport is a far-reaching airport; the third busiest in the UK after Heathrow and Gatwick. Most people in the North will have used Manchester Airport at some point, even those with airports closer to home.

    We’re going to take a look at an average journey length of around 60 miles each way.

    Not only is this a good average of journeys to the airport, it also just so happens to be the distance from SkyParkSecure HQ to Manchester Airport! What a lucky coincidence!

    So let’s make sure everything’s fair…

    First we’ve looked at UK petrol prices using AllStar UK Fuel Price Information, which is currently at an average of 124.1 pence per litre at the time of writing.

    Then, we can use that figure and to work out the cost of a car journey of 60 miles.

    Now we’re ready for a comparison!

    Drop-Off at Manchester Airport Terminal

    If you want to be dropped off and collected by a friend for a 5 day holiday in November, you’ll have to pay the following costs:

    • Your friend will have to travel to the airport and back twice, with each leg of the journey costing £6.15. That’s a total cost of £24.60.
    • £3 for 5 minutes in the drop-off zone.
    • £4 to pay in the collection area.

    For a grand total of £31.60!

    Parking at Manchester Airport

    If you choose instead to drive yourself, you’ll have to pay the following:

    • £12.30 for a round trip to and from Manchester Airport.
    • £22.50 for parking at Toad Park & Ride.

    For a grand total of £34.80!

    The Winner: Airport Parking (Just)

    So you’re not saving big bucks in this instance, but on a different week for a different length of time you might be!

    Is it really worth dragging your mum out of bed at 5am to take you to the airport when it’s actually cheaper to make the trip yourself?

    We’ve used the discount code COMPARE to get today’s prices, and you can as well by following this link and entering COMPARE into the promo code box when getting your quote.

    And remember to sign up to our email newsletter to continue getting discounts all year round!


    1. Been to Manchester airport tonight to collect a friend, i knew of the pick up charges in advance. however on arrival the queues wer longer than normal for early evening on a weekday. luckily i drove in past the exit of the drop off lane. and the barriers there were open and NOT CHARGING drivers. i stood talking with a Taxi driver whilst we were loading bags and he said they opened the barriers on tuesday as they were causing lengthy queues. he said people were queued back to the motorway. so not sure if this is the start of the end?. or maybe just whilst they have a look at plan B?.

    2. Airport has totally missed the point. The airport caused the bottle neck in first place by stopping pick ups, so everyone went to drop off point instead. An airport is a service not an excuse to extort money out of people. It is chaos when you come off your plane, every one is looking where to pick up their ride from, stressful making it pointless to relax on holiday in first place. It’s bloody disgusting!

    3. Totally agree. It’s a scam. Just another way to fleece people and make flying even more of an endurance than a pleasure.

    4. MzWilliams airport CEO if you are aware of the problem it just hasn’t happened it’s obviously been growing for some time. therefore your choice of words is rather lame. the world needs proactive members of staff to inform and enlighten the management and then react accordingly. May I humbly suggest that you stand down and allow someone who has common sense to do the job. Either that or leave your ivory tower and get down on the factory floor and get you hands dirty. you’ll find out what makes an airport tick.
      THE PASSENGERS. They are why you have a job

    5. Just got collected last night after a holiday and observed the ensuing chaos around pick-up and drop-off. The conclusion was that the chaos at the terminal has changed slightly in nature but it’s still CHAOS! Plus you now have a lot more disgruntled users of the airport. I witnessed the attendants getting it in the neck for this new policy. Maybe drop the charges so the accusation of blatant profiteering cannot be loaded at the airport decision makers.

    6. Whilst it looks great that you can use the Jetpark 1 to be dropped off and get shuttle bus free to airport, when arriving back there is no free shuttle bus back to jetpark 1 , although it does say Jetpark 1 on the sign post for the shuttle bus’s. and there seemed to be some confusion with airport staff about this, not a good situation to be left in at midnight

    7. Created a monster to blackmail you into using long term car parks we up north recognise a rip off when we are attempting to use Manchester Airport and I always now advise anyone to use Liverpool where possible which even though there are charges the system is simple and efficient, Manchester needs to stop ripping CUSTOMERS off why would anyone choose a stressful option over a lesser option

    8. I usually use a Skypark meet & greet whichever airport I fly from, but since drop off charges being introduced, especially at Manchester, its now always park and ride.
      I no longer consider meet and greet because on top off the parking charge it costs £4 extra on arrival and then another £4 on pick up and pressure both ways to organise drop off meet time and get out on pick up within the
      10 minutes. I drive up from Nottingham on average 3 times a year, so £24 EXTRA for nothing.
      It may stop a certain amount of congestion, but really it’s another cash cow for the airport on top off all the other inflated prices once inside the terminal.

    9. Hi Peter,

      Thanks for your comment. It may be worth looking at some of the official airport meet and greet services we offer, as these normally don’t require you to organise a meeting time, and you can usually avoid drop-off fees as well.

    10. Collecting arrivals. Get them to hop on the free bus service to Jetpark 3 and wait for them outside the barrier.

    11. You say the free shuttle bus runs 24hrs a day but not how frequenty. I heard it runs every 15min, if that’s the case and it takes 12min to T1 & T3 then it would be handy to mention you should allow 30min.

    12. You’re absolutely right Peter, thank you for pointing that out. I’ve added it into the article proper.

    13. I am picking my husband up from Manchester Airport Terminal 1 tomorrow morning. I want to park the car and go into the terminal to meet him. I’ll probably be an hour or so inside. What is the best option for me? Is there a new carpark now that I need to find? Information all says about changes being made till April 2019 but we are now in April and I’m wondering if the changes have been completed and exactly where I ned to go. I don’t mind paying for parking.
      Thank you

    14. Hi Marie,

      If you’re looking at only staying for a short time such as that, both the multi-storey and T1 Arrivals will set you back £6.50 for an hour or £9.50 for two hours.

    15. We are being dropped off by coach as there are 20 of us with a case and golf bag each so seems silly to get off and on another bus so how and where will we have to to be dropped off

    16. Hi Dave,

      Free drop off will require you to board another bus, but if there are 20 of you I’d suggest paying the fee to be dropped off directly at the forecourt.

      The fee is £3 for five minutes, or £4 for 10.

    17. hi.
      Collecting a friend on may 1 terminal 1.
      On drop off I missed the free parking as both never been to airport and parked at pay for drop off zone instead.
      On collection I want to find free park and ride and wait for him as want to be early and avoid stress.
      From M56 (east bound)what is the easiest way to get to free parking and what does he have to do from arriving at terminal 1 to find me please.

    18. Hi Ian,

      To get to the free drop-off zone, head east on the M56 and at junction 5, exit towards Manchester Airport. continue onto Airport Spur, then use the left two lanes to take the exit towards Manchester Airport. At the roundabout, take the first exit onto Enterprise Way and then turn left onto Thorley Lane where the drop-off zone is located.

      But make sure you’re waiting for no longer than 60 minutes or you’ll be charged £25!

    19. Newcastle , Leeds Bradford , Liverpool and Teeside are all much easier to access.
      It’s time we voted with our feet
      Manchester airport group , shame on you .
      yet again profit before people 🤔

    20. Just went with my daughter to Thorley lane JetParks and went with her on the bus to see her off as she’s away for 12 months.
      Aware of the 60 min rule. However, the bus stopped driver got out and disappeared for at least 5 minutes. Meaning late back to the car park.
      Attendant just repeated the standard there are three buses in circulation. How that was meant to help I’ve no idea.
      Charged £25. Thank you Manchester Airport for making what has been a difficult day more so!!

    21. Hi John,

      After contacting Manchester Airport, they confirmed that “The Thorley lane drop off zone is only for drop offs and for collections you would need to use the Multi Storey.”

    22. could you please tell me can you pick up at Thorley lane free car park .as you seem to be contradicting yourselfs.

    23. We want to drop off our son at Terminal 1 this afternoon at around 4.15 pm and say good bye to him in the terminal building about 2-3 hour later. Where is best / cheapest / most convenient to park for those 3 hours, please ?
      Pls can someone reply ?

    24. Hi Ian,

      If you’re looking to park up for a few hours, it looks like the cheapest and most convenient way to do it would be to pre-book Official Airport T1 Multi-Storey ( If you use the promo code COMPARE this will get you 15% off the price of it, totalling around £37, which is £6 cheaper than booking direct.

      There are also a couple of option where you could save a pound or two, but these are both park and ride so might not be worth it for such a small price difference.

      Hope that help! Feel free to do a search for yourself on our Manchester page.

    25. The taxis are bringing people to the airports where the people will spend money. Have to have taxi to bring me to airport as I live 100 miles away from manchester. Relaxing holiday, perfect flight. But chaos at Manchester airport taxi pick up. Disgusting way to treat your customers. Shame on you at the way you treat all those hard working taxi drivers. You need to look at this unfair system ASAP.

    26. Hi can i collect my family from jetparks 1 because i heard it was only drop offs and they are getting the bus from airport to jet park 1

    27. Hi Dean,

      Manchester Airport has said that the site of the former Jetparks 1 on Thorley Lane can be used for drop off, but not pick up.

    28. A month ago, I had to pick up my grandson at T3. I drove into the pickup area, loaded the luggage and boy ( a stay of 2 mins) and had to pay £25 to exit the barriers. When I pressed the help button to query the charge, the voice told me that normally the charge would be £50. I had no option but to part with £25!!!

    29. Hi SkyparkRyan,
      I’m picking up using a minibus, approx 2m high, is there anywhere else I can pick up with the risk of taking the roof off?

    30. Hi Mick,

      I’ve spoken to Manchester Airport and they’ve confirmed the following:

      “You can use the arrivals car park outside of terminal 1. There is a barrier but no height restriction. £4.50 up to 30minutes, £7 for up to one hour.”

      Hope that helps!

    31. The airport has seen an opportunity to extort money, under the guise of making things better.
      Remove the convenient drop off point and make the other options expensive, keep a free option shuttle bus that is unusable. So the only viable option is EXPENSIVE. aka EXTORTION.

      As a Prime Airport in the UK- I dislike your methods of charging drivers to enable passengers to fly. When you consider your business is to fly people, the dropping off is an esential part of the process that you are scamming.
      ‘PROPER LITTLE RACKET’ OR ‘RYAN AIR BUSINES MODEL’ where they charge for anything they can or try to make things difficult.

      If you consider that 5000 cars will pass every day at whatever rate.. The CEO saw the chance as a Pay rise oportunity for their Fat wallets.

    32. Hi
      I am confused I want to pick up at Manchester Airport but it talks about both terminal 1 multi storey and the arrivals car park . are they different? if so is one closer than the other? w are not familiar with Manchester Airport and my passengers aren’t familiar with where terminal 1 arrivals car park is. are Both the the multi story and the arrival well signposted? I don’t want to end up driving round and getting a recirculation fee etc

    33. Hi Tim,

      To get there, you can head towards JetParks 1 (Thorley Ln, Manchester M90 5AZ) and follow signs for the free drop-off area.

    34. Hi Christopher,

      It is very frustrating, but just a reminder that we’re an airport parking price comparison site which operates separately from the airport. Thanks for commenting!

    35. Hi Carol,

      Yes they are different. The arrivals car park is closer, located just outside the terminal building, while the multi-storey is a short walk away. Both cost £4.50 up to 30 minutes. They are clearly signposted.

    36. I went to pick up a friend from Terminal 3 on Wednesday 17th July, as I am not accustomed to picking people up at the airport, I obviously arrived at the arrivals part of Terminal 3, once you are in that area there is no way out only through the barriers at the far end. It is bad enough looking for someone in the melee of people at an airport, not seeing the multitude of signs confronting one’s eyes, nowhere did I see a sign saying that I shouldn’t be in this area. On Monday morning I was checking my bank account only to see that I had been charge £100.00 at Manchester Airport for going through the barrier. I spent 2 hours 10 mins trying to get through to the airport to speak to someone about this situation, I eventually spoke to Colin in car parking who told me why I had been charged £100 and that it was actually a fine for being in the wrong part of the ‘airport’.
      I filled in a form on the airport website from a so called chat help desk and have not heard a thing from that .
      Incidentally I was looking for a phone number which was advertised on the internet as 08712710711 only to be told that this number didn’t exist. That also applied to another number as well. I would be grateful if you could look into this situation as I was somewhat distressed to see this amount on my Bank account, especially in the days of fraud etc.

    37. Thanks very much for your reply Brent, I just wanted to warn other airport users of the same problem, at least I will never pick anybody up at the airport again, in fact I will never think of the airport in the same light again. I have always been very proud that we have such a good airport in Manchester.

    38. I used the free drop off point today for my family which was excellent. When my family return to T2 next week late evening where is the best place to park/ stay to collect? Thanks

    39. Hi Pam,

      Unfortunately, Manchester Airport has confirmed that the free drop-off zone on Thorley Lane is for drop-off only. For picking your family up, your best bet is to head to the multi-storey which will give you 30 minutes for £4.50.

    40. Will they fine you if you pick up from the free drop off point? Can the passenger board the bus to the drop off or it’s only 1 way? No picking up from the terminals.

      Thank you.

    41. Hi Eric,

      I’ve checked with Manchester Airport and while the bus does travel both ways, you could be subject to a £100 fine if you pick up passengers from the free drop-off and are spotted by traffic marshalls. They asked that people pick up from the arrivals or multi-storey.

    42. Going on our hols in October – unfortunately we will fly out of Manchester – I read nothing but problems with pick up and drop off. Not looking forward to it – will report on what happens – even looking at You tube – The Manchester Airport site gives a very nice video of how to use Terminal 1 in Changi airport ????

    43. the charge is to much to use something that you are paying to use (a flight) when picking up do you get 1/2 hr or what, what if the person gets held up going through customs has a lost bag ect ect what if it takes much longer through no fault of your own? say a lost bag manchester air ports fault but i still pay the extra or dose manchester refund me?? O that right NO, or simply goes the wrong way & takes some time to find there way out not difficult considering they probably do go through it every day, but that’s correct you still pay!! Do we see a theme hear yep no option just pay we have got you by the B####

    44. Just about to use Manchester Airport for our hols but wasn’t aware of the new charges for either drop off/pick up. Talk about RIP OFF BRITAIN or is it just greedy execs at Manchester Airport? They should be TOTALLY ASHAMED of themselves!!! Airfares are EXPENSIVE enough, then there’s all the ‘stress’ relating to the travel experience (booking hotels, flights, car parking etc etc) … & now these ‘extra charges’. When will it all end? Not sure how the introduction of these charges will ease vehicle congestion either, vehicles will still be using the airport roads … makes no sense at all. Off to enjoy our hols now … hopefully!!!

    45. I picked up at manchester terminal 1 using the multi storey car park. I got a token when arriving and placed the token in the exit when leaving. I expected the cost to appear on the display and the barrier remain down until I inserted my debit card..however when I inserted the token the barrier opened and I could not see any request on the display to insert my debit card to pay the £4.50 30minute charge and so I drove out. I am now wondering was there a fault that allowed the barrier to open once the token went in or should I have also put my debit card in even though it was not obvious to do so?
      I would not recommend picking up at terminal 1 on a night time as I found it very difficult navigating around the roundabouts with signs not well lit. I at first took the wrong exit and ended up in terminal 1 departures drop off and so ended up having to pay £3 to get out and then I almost did the same again but reversed back otherwise that would have been a £25 fine. I did not see one car park marshal to ask for help with directions. Never again…I am hoping I am not going to get a fine. The website is unclear as to whether the barrier will remain closed until debit card is inserted or not? You would expect so wouldn’t you? Steve

    46. I didn’t know about the drop off fee and there’s no signs before the ramp, and no terms and conditions on display. Lucky I took some money with me? I’m not sure how this is even legal if they don’t tell you about it before it too late. That is indeed extortion. Sickening greed.

    47. Think the fees are extortionate. We pay for our flights so surely a 5 – 10 minute drop off or pick up is reasonable. Other airports around the world are more reasonable than Manchester. I recently used it for a trip to Australia but the drop off ( using a rickety old bus at drop of point or paying a ridiculous amount) plus paying to be picked up makes it all such a rip off l won’t use Manchester again. It’s better to use almost any other airport and if l fly from London l save enough on the cost of flight to pay for a hotel. Manchester more convenient but l refuse to pay these charges.

    Comments are closed.