I arrived back at Luton Airport late last night and whilst waiting for the off site car parking courtesy bus noticed that the drop off fees had increased by 100% from £1 to £2. We do not have galloping inflation in Britain, however Luton Airport that seems to try anything to bring in more revenue is making the users of the airport pay even more.
After just leaving Nice airoprt in France where they have their "Kiss and Fly" drop of zone and even free parking in the car parks adjoining the terminals for a few minutes, it is a culture shock at Luton and probably not a very nice welcome or departure from England.
Anyone being dropped off at Luton Airport had to pay £1 GBP and if the driver attempted to drop anyone off without going into the zone, risked being filmed and having a large fine of £80.
According to the Luton Airport website, with effect from the 2nd April 2013 " Priority Set Down - Drop Off and Pick Up. £2.00 for up to 15 minutes. Cars must not be left unattended. 2 minute walk to the terminal, or Short Term Car Park - Drop Off, Pick Up and Parking £3.80 for 30 minutes, 4 minute walk to the terminal." (From experience unless you pay cash or by debit card there are fees for credit cards as well.
Finally "Mid Term Car Park - FREE Drop Off, FREE Pick Up and FREE Parking for up to 30 minutes. 2 minute FREE bus ride to the terminal" This is all very well, however when you take someone to the airport, like you do at London Heathrow for example you like to get them as close to the terminal as possible.
So even with the new £2 fee, the passenger still has a 2 minute walk to the terminal building and the majority of this is nor under a covered walkway. You would think of all of these £2s they are now collecting they could at least build a covered walkway. If you stay longer than your 15 mins you can be fined £80.
It looks like there are fewer seats for people waiting for flights now at the airport. There used to be three areas for the public to sit in. Since my last visit in January one section has been removed and space rented out to another eating operation. This means that there is only the area near Starbucks coffee (pictured left) and near Pret á Manger. Will this mean it will be standing room only when the airport is very busy or there are flight delays? Probably yes.
I also noticed I could no longer get free Wifi. Maybe it was just my iPhone, but it would not surprise me that it is something else they are making customers pay for. After all Luton is one of the few airports whereby you put money in for a trolley, but don't get it back again. What will they think of next? No doubt the drop off fee will be increased again and every time it is, the price of a taxi journey will have to go up as well.
The airport has to make a profit for the Spanish company managing it, but is this really the right way?