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Heathrow Airport’s £5 drop-off and taxi fee delayed to 1st November

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The new £5 ‘Forecourt Access Charge’ drop off fee at Heathrow Airport will now launch on 1st November.

It was originally due to launch next month but the date has slipped. 1st November does seem firm, however, and the plan is definitely not going away.

On 8th March, Gatwick Airport launched its own £5 drop off fee. It was virtually certain from that point that Heathrow would follow.

Heathrow £5 drop-off fee 'confirmed' for October

At £5 Heathrow and Gatwick will have the second-highest drop off charges in the UK. Stansted remains the leader, charging £7.

The scheme will be enforced using Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras. The charge will be paid online, via mobile phone or by an automated telephone service. You can set up an account so that all visits with your vehicle are automatically charged to a stored payment card.

‘Blue Badge’ and emergency vehicles will be exempt.

The Forecourt Access Charge replaces the Heathrow Ultra Low Emissions Zone first touted in 2019 and which would have put a heavy charge on the most polluting vehicles which use the airport. The new £5 fee is payable by everyone regardless of the environmental impact of their vehicle.

One option to avoid paying the fee if arriving by car will a drop off in one of the long stay car parks, travelling to the terminal via a free shuttle bus.

This Daily Mail article calculates that, even with a decline in car use to Heathrow due to the fee and covid recovery, the charge could still generate £100 million per year.

You can find out more on this page of the Heathrow website where the new 1st November date is confirmed.

Comments (67)

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  • Boon says:

    This is ridiculous. I would recommend using Zipcar Flex instead for T5 if coming from central London, but they’ve also put up the airport fee from £5 to £7.50 for Zipcar, both drop-off at T5 or pickup at T5!

    • lumma says:

      If you’re coming from central London why not use public transport? I occasionally use Zipcar flex if it’s a super early flight but wouldn’t at other times

      • Rhys says:

        Crossrail will change the maths but right now, getting to Paddington for HEX/TFL Rail isn’t always that simple, even in central London! And the Piccadilly line is horrendous…

        • Tarmohamed says:

          Wouldn’t you still need to change at Paddington for Crossrail/Elizabeth? From my understanding it’s in 3 sections, Reading-Paddington-LiverpoolSt-Essex

  • Dave says:

    Further to my comment before , I have just read the Heathrow long term parking web site which clarifies the situation, it states the long term. park can be used free for up to 30minutes for drop off/ pick up

    • CJ says:

      It’s annoying because it used to be 2 hours free in the long stay car park. Barely enough time for you to the passengers to the check-in desks let alone a proper goodbye

  • Ken says:

    The whinging seems somewhat pathetic for £5

    I’d be thinking people flying from Heathrow can more easily afford a fiver than those flying Ryanair or EasyJet from Liverpool or Manchester.

    • Dave says:

      Ken , i agree it’s alot of flaffing about to save £5 and in most cases most of us will not be bothered to not go to the terminal directly.
      The point here is , its just the start , and £5 today is £10 tomorrow, then other money making charges are brought in.
      All at a time when Hal should be encouraging people to travel again.

      • Jeff Greene says:

        “ All at a time when Hal should be encouraging people to travel again”

        £5 isn’t going to discourage people from travelling. Neither will £10 or £15

    • Andrew says:

      It’s £4 for 10 minutes at the pick up area in Edinburgh, and also £4 for 10 minutes at the drop off area.

      So fairly comparable.

      The prices ramp up quickly if there is faffing involved though and “fines” in the post if you are caught picking in the dropping area of vice versa.

  • The cyclist says:

    There are lots of alternatives to spending a fiver on a drop off. All of which I have used pre Covid. In no particular order;

    1) I have stayed at the Moxy on Bath road overnight, for around £40 and left my car in the their car park for several days and then collected it no problemo.

    2) Get a friend or relative or fellow plane spotter to drive to entrance of POD parking , get out and use pods for free. Some cracking views from the Pods, be sure to have a coughing fit before entering , to ensure that you get it to yourself.

    3) Drive to Thistle Hotel off Bath Road, and tailgate through the gate into the POD parking car park and then enjoy the scenic pod ride. Don’t stay in The Thistle though unless you want to be transported back to 1995 in some weird parallel universe.

    4) Get a friend to drop you outside any of the hire car outlets on the Northern Perimeter road and use the free shuttle bus, ( I recommend Hertz, as there is free coffee and biccies and the bogs are half decent as well.)

    5) The Hilton Garden Inn off the Great South West Road, leave your car in the car park, then jump on the tube at nearby Hatton Cross. The barrier here is very unreliable and is often just left open, if its not, a bit of bluster will usually get the reception staff to open it for you, specially at busy times as they often cant be arsed with the aggravation. Its a cracking wheeze and saves you £14 a day in parking.

    • kk says:

      isnt it easier to have a mate drop you off at a Z5 TFL station…

      I would say such money grab exercise is bullcrap and people who denounces others for making a complaint on a 5 quid charge fairly ignorant.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      We’re all of these prior to business/first class flights just to maximise the value?

    • Sam says:

      Interesting idea, but suppose you have to pay £6 for the Thistle pod ride which easily defeats the purpose of this exercise? I wonder what’s the longest duration you’ve free ridden the HGI car park, clearly the front desk will start to smell something fishy when there’s a parked car that has moved for days no?

  • James Harper says:

    Perhaps LHR needs a new name.

    How about O’Liary International Airport – Be ripped off before you take off!

  • David says:

    At the moment, you can get dropped off and picked up outside the Sofitel as cars going through the barriers are free for a few minutes ! I would imagine this will soon be stopped as everyone will be doing it to avoid the fiver fee !!

  • david says:

    or park nearby and walk to t4. ive left my car there for free for more than a month there. there are many places you can leave car without doing so in front of someones house.

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