It’s not often that I’ll pick up the gauntlet and force an issue, but after a busy few months back and forth from Heathrow’s Terminal 5 airport collecting friends and family I have a rather large bone to pick: There is currently no option for making a quick pick-up without incurring a cost.
Airport drop off and pick up fees rant
How about 15 minutes free parking
Why can’t we have a 10-15 minute grace period so that drivers can make their pick-up without being subject to parking charges? It’s not uncommon to see a line of taxis stationed at the entrance to the Terminal 5 short-haul car park awaiting a phone call to avoid lingering inside the car park.
Short-stay car parks are for pick-ups
Airport signs for passenger pick-up lead into the short-stay car park where the minimum fee for a visit is £2.50 (for 0-30 minutes). My quickest pick-up took 4-5 minutes, no parking involved.
Terminal forecourts are for drop-offs only
It seems an entire category of visitor to the airport has not been catered for. The response received from @HeathrowAirport on Twitter in regard to the lack of pick-up facilities was “Hi, our terminal forecourts have always been for dropoffs only. This is to keep them clear for departing passengers.” This makes sense and I was grateful of a response, but it didn’t really address my complaint.
Fines are in force for misuse of forecourts
There is little to stop drivers from collecting passengers on the forecourt other than an abundance of signs explaining that it is a drop-off only area, and that fines are in force. Ordinarily out of principal this would not stop me but I know from numerous sources who work at the airport that the forecourt is monitored by cameras, and that these fines have been dropping through people’s letterboxes pretty regularly.
Although airport signs point to a passenger pick-up point the facility does not really exist, it is simply a short-stay car park. Visitors have no choice but to pay to collect a passenger or risk a fine by using the forecourt. Has this bothered you when meeting friends or family? How do you think the system can be improved?