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Pay less when you fly – by using the UK’s best-value airports

Don’t you just love the feeling of bagging yourself a bargain flight? And don’t you just hate the charges you have to pay at the airport in order to catch it?

Car parking fees, fast track security lanes, departure lounges: the cost of using an airport can quickly mount up. So we’ve compared prices in 15 UK airports, across five key categories, to find out which ones offer the best value for money. The results are well worth considering the next time you search for a cheap flight. By considering an airport slightly further away from home than normal, you might be able to cut the overall cost of your trip.

The UK’s Best Value Airport

The criteria we used were average flight prices, pick-up and drop-off charges, car-parking costs, fast track security fees and the price of using an airport lounge. And we discovered that, overall, the UK’s best value airport for European flights is Newcastle Airport, closely followed by Birmingham¹.

Skyscanner’s Top 5 UK Best Value Airports1

Ranking Airport
1

2

3

3

5

Newcastle

Birmingham

Liverpool John Lennon

Leeds Bradford

East Midlands

However, there were a range of different winners across the individual categories, as you’ll see below.

Average Flight Price

Flight prices can vary from airline to airline, as well as from airport to airport. The best way to find out if you are getting the best airfare is to use our nearby airports tool. It gives you the results from your selected airport, as well as nearby airports. You can also use this for the destination airport.

Judged on average flight prices alone2, Glasgow Prestwick came out on top, closely followed by Liverpool John Lennon Airport. London Stansted also made it into the top five for the best-value flight prices to key European destinations.

Skyscanner’s Top 5 UK Value Airports European Flights²

Ranking Airport Average Return Economy Flight Price
1

2

3

4

5

Glasgow Prestwick

Liverpool

London Stansted

Newcastle

East Midlands

£94.37

£104.94

£107.71

£116.85

£116.97

Drop-off and Pick-up Charges

Some airports – London Gatwick, London City and Birmingham – don’t charge for drop-offs, but they do charge for collection. According to Skyscanner’s data3, Glasgow Prestwick comes out on top overall when passenger drop-off and pick-up charges are combined.

Our figures are based on the cost of dropping off and collecting at the nearest location to the terminal. But for travellers who don’t need to be dropped off at the terminal doors there are airports that offer free drop-off and collection points further away from the terminal. For example, Leeds Bradford offers a free drop-off and collection point that’s only a four-minute walk to the terminal. London Luton also offers free drop-offs and collections in its mid-stay car park.

Skyscanner’s Top 5 Airports Value Passenger Drop-off & Pick-up Charges³

Ranking Airport
1

2

3

3

5

Glasgow Prestwick

Bristol

Newcastle

Leeds Bradford

London Heathrow

Car Parking

The cost of airport parking depends on the time of year you’re travelling and whether you book in advance or not. When looking at the cost of car park charges for a week during Easter, Summer and Christmas, Birmingham Airport came out on top, with Edinburgh Airport flying the flag for Scotland in third place4.

Skyscanner’s Top 5 Airports Value Car Parking4

Ranking Airport
1

2

3

4

5

Birmingham

Newcastle

Edinburgh

London Stansted

Glasgow Prestwick

Fast Track Security

The need for fast track can depend on the airport you’re travelling from and your need to get to the gate quickly. To find out how to navigate through your airport faster, check this out.

Looking at fast track prices for a specific week in August this year (11th – 18th August 2018), London Luton and Newcastle Airport came out joint first on Best Value Fast Track, with Birmingham Airport in third place5.

Skyscanner’s Top 5 Airports Value Fast Track5

Ranking Airport
1

1

3

4

5

5

5

London Luton

Newcastle

Birmingham

Bristol

Liverpool

East Midlands

Leeds Bradford

If fast track and lounge access are both important to you, then Skyscanner suggests looking to see if your airport offers ‘value added’ bundles. You might find savings if they’re booked together.

Airport Lounges

Business and first-class travellers aren’t the only people who can use an airport lounge. Many airports now feature lounges that are open to all, provided you pay an entrance fee. Aspire lounges are a good example – and are available in 18 UK airports. Airport lounges are great if you’re seeking time out before the flight, and many offer free food, drink, wifi and newspapers/ magazines. Some even have showers and massage therapists. According to our research6, Birmingham Airport came out on top for lounge prices, closely followed by Glasgow International.

Top 5 Airports Value Lounges6

Ranking Airport
1

2

3

4

5

5

5

Birmingham

Glasgow International

Leeds Bradford

Liverpool

East Midlands

London Stansted

Manchester

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Skyscanner is the world’s travel search engine, helping your money go further on flights, hotels and car hire.

1 Research conducted on the top 15 UK airports, based on Skyscanner exits from all UK airports to European destinations. Each airport was judged on average flight prices2, pick up and drop off charges3, car parking costs4, fast track5 and lounge costs6

2 Average flight prices were based on average flight prices for return economy adult fares, travelling from each airport to six of the most popular European destinations which each of the top 15 airports served.

3 Based on researched carried out on 7th March 2018 using each airport’s official website to obtain drop off and collection charges. Each airport’s cost was divided by the number of minutes to achieve a cost per minute. The airports were then ranked in order of cheapest first based on cost per minute

4 Based on researched carried out on 7th March 2018 using each airport’s official website to obtain car parking charges for key Easter period (7-14 April), Summer (11th-18th August) and Christmas (23rd-30th December). The cost for each of the three key periods were added up and the airports were then ranked in order of cheapest first.

5 Based on researched carried out on 7th March 2018 using each airport’s official website to obtain fast track charge per person for departure on 11th August 2018. The airports were then ranked in order of cheapest first.

6 Based on researched carried out on 7th March 2018 using each airport’s official website to obtain lounge access charge per person for departure on 11th August 2018. The airports were then ranked in order of cheapest first

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