I spent this afternoon collecting a couple of people from Newcastle Airport. The plane was scheduled to land at 14.15 but actually came in 20 minutes early. This of course meant the baggage handling systems were completely unprepared for the flight and the early landing time was eaten up by waiting in baggage reclaim.
Newcastle Airport recently reduced the “drop off and pick up” waiting time to 10 minutes. After which Car Parking Charges come into play and the next 5 minutes cost £1 rapidly rising to £6.50 if you stay over 45 minutes.
Of course once you have landed it can take quite a while to clear baggage reclaim and passport control. In my case this afternoon these took about an hour. So had I arrived at the time announced on the Newcastle Airport on-line Arrivals board I would have been looking at around £11.50 for my Parking ticket (£6.50 for the first hour and then £5.00 for the second hour or part hour). To try and beat these charges many people now park on the road outside the airport or in lay-bys on the approach roads and wait for a phone call from the passengers to say they are ready to be collected. The 10 minute free periods is then just about enough to swoop into the airport, load passengers and cases and leave before the charges start to mount.
Unfortunately for the passengers I was picking up they had to use a payphone to call me. Minimum charge for the call 40p. This works out at 20p a word for the message “We’re here” Even worse he only had 30p in change so had to put a 50p in the pay phone, which of course did not give change!
I was told today that due to the success of people avoiding the parking charges the airport are considering dropping the 10 minute free period completely.
Rip off Britain indeed! No opportunity is lost to extract cash.