How Can I Avoid Manchester Airport Drop Off 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.

    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.

    How Do I Avoid the Manchester Airport Drop Off Charges?

    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 new 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 now located on Thorley Lane just up the road, and you’ll be 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.

    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 will be on the forecourts of the various terminals and the train station. 

    The fee will be £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.

    The airport’s pick-up policy remains the same, with drivers directed to continue using the £4-per-30 minute multi-storey.

    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.

    Where is the New Terminal 1 Arrivals Car Park?

    While the drop-off zones for Terminals 2 and 3 remain the same, building works have forced a change at the Manchester Airport Terminal 1 drop off zone.

    While the airport creates 270 new spaces by adding in two new levels, the regular Terminal 1 Arrivals Car Park is closed between 26th November 2018 and April 2019.

    To compensate, Manchester Airport has opened a temporary arrivals car park for the duration of the works, located on Terminal Road North, just on the other side of the Skylink.

    You’ll also be able to use the Terminal 1 multi-storey car park to pick up if you wish.

    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, which are currently at an average of 127.7 pence per litre.

    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 week’s holiday in October, 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 £9.95. That’s a total cost of £39.80.
    • £3 for 5 minutes in the drop-off zone.
    • £4 to pay in the collection area.

    For a grand total of £46.80!

    Parking at Manchester Airport

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

    • £19.90 for a round trip to and from Manchester Airport.
    • £24.60 for parking at Toad Park & Ride.

    For a grand total of £44.50!

    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!

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