Gatwick Airport Drop Off Charge: what you need to know

London Gatwick Airport’s drop off charge has been in place since March 2021, with the purpose of reducing congestion and air pollution, whilst also generating funds that can be re-invested back into the airport.

It’s no surprise to hear nowadays that you’ll need to pay a charge in order to drop off a passenger at a UK airport. This is the case at London Gatwick Airport (LGW), but how exactly does it work? How much can you expect to pay? And are there any free parking alternatives available?

Don’t worry you’ve come to the right place! Read on to learn more about the Gatwick drop off charge and, hopefully, we’ll help you find the answers to all your questions.

Is there a drop off charge at London Gatwick Airport?

Yes, since March 2021 Gatwick Airport has had a drop off charge, and it applies to anyone that, whilst dropping off passengers, parks in a dedicated drop off zone. Using number plate recognition cameras (ANPR) Gatwick Airport, and many other airports in the UK, track vehicle movements and scan number plates that make drop offs. They then distribute charges based on what’s picked up on the camera.

There are two designated drop off zones at London Gatwick Airport; the North Terminal drop off zone and the South Terminal drop off zone. These zones are both located outside their respective terminals and are ideal for arrivals that want, or need, to be a short walk away from the check-in desks.

For directions to both the North and South terminals, click on the links below which will direct you to where they can be seen on Google Maps:

Alternative parking options are available at the long or short stay car parks, but both are further away from the airport, or there’s Premium Parking in the multi-storey car park.

How much is it to drop off passengers at Gatwick Airport?

It will cost you at least £6 to drop off passengers at Gatwick Airport’s drop off zones, and this will allow you to park for no longer than 10 minutes. For each minute longer that you stay, up to 20 minutes, you’ll be charged an extra pound i.e., For 14 minutes in the drop zone, you’d be charged £10.

There’s also a maximum daily charge of £25 for dropping off at Gatwick Airport.

How long can you stay at a Gatwick drop off zone?

You’re not allowed to stay parked at a Gatwick drop off zone for any longer than 30 minutes. If you stay in the zone for the full 30 minutes you will be charged the maximum daily fee of £25.

How to pay the Gatwick drop off charge

There are three ways you can pay the drop off charge:

Over the phone

You can choose to pay over the phone by using the airport’s automated payment system. Just call 0330 174 4503.


Using AutoPay is perhaps the easiest way to pay any drop off charges. All you need to do is set up an AutoPay account and register your vehicle information.

Alternatively, if you have paid for a drop off charge in the past, you can pay via PostPay.

How long do I have to pay a Gatwick drop off charge?

From the moment you drop off a passenger at Gatwick Airport you have until midnight the following day to pay the charge.

So, to put this into context, if you used the drop off zone on a Tuesday at 13:00, you would have until midnight on Wednesday to pay the charge.

If you were to miss this deadline and not pay the charge, you’ll likely be fined, even if quite simply just forgot. Non-payment goes down as a Parking Charge Notice (PCN), which could set you back £100, or £60 if you pay the charge within 14 days.

Can I pay Gatwick drop off charge in advance?

If you wish to pay your drop off charge way before the deadline, then you have the option to do that.

However, from what we can gather from the Gatwick Airport website, we believe that you’re not able to pay for a drop off charge before you park at one of the zones. You need to drop off passengers first before you are charged.

Can you drop off at Gatwick Airport for free?

If you’d rather not pay Gatwick’s drop off charge, you can park for free at one of Gatwick Airport’s long-stay car parks. ‘North Terminal long stay’ and ‘South Terminal long stay’ car parks offer free parking for up to two hours and there’s a free shuttle bus supplied by the airport that runs pass them. They can drop you off at whichever terminal you need.

The same applies for picking up passengers at Gatwick Airport too. All you need to do is pick up a ticket upon arrival, park in the long-stay area, pick up the passenger within the two-hour time slot, and then simply scan the ticket as you leave to ensure you avoid paying for parking.

We would only recommend though that if you choose to be dropped off at the airport via the long stay car park that you give yourself a little extra time to accommodate for the time you spend on the free shuttle bus. Although the journey to the terminal isn’t very long, it’s certainly more time-consuming than arriving via a terminal drop off zone.

Other UK Airport drop off charges (2024)

Unfortunately, Gatwick Airport is not the only UK airport that charges for drop offs. In recent years, almost all UK airports have implemented a drop off charge, and this is for several reasons:

  • To manage congestion
  • To reduce air pollution
  • To help airports keep air fares low
  • For re-investment into airport infrastructure

Whether these charges are justified is still up for debate, but nevertheless, take a look below at all the drop off charges at the UK’s biggest airports.

UK AirportTime PeriodDrop Off Fees (2024)Further Information
Aberdeen15 mins£5.50Additional £1 charge for each extra minute that you stay.
Belfast City10 mins£3£6 for up to 20 mins, £18 for up to 45 mins.
Belfast International10 mins£3£5 for up to 20 mins, £10 for up to an hour.
Birmingham15 mins£5 
Bournemouth30 mins£5£7.50 for stays up to an hour.
Bristol10 mins£6£8 for 20 mins, £12 for up to 40 mins, £25 for an hour-long stay.
Cardiff5 minsFree£3 charge for every 5 minutes after free stay period.
East Midlands15 mins£5Additional £1 charge for each extra minute that you stay.
Edinburgh10 mins£5Additional £1 charge for each extra minute that you stay.
Glasgow15 mins£5.50Additional £1 charge for each extra minute that you stay. Electric vehicles get free access.
Inverness10 minsFreeCharges £3.50 for stays up to 30 mins.
Leeds Bradford10 mins£5Charges £7 for up to 20 minutes.
Liverpool10 mins£5£10 for 20 mins, £25 for up to an hour.
London CityNo confirmed time limit.Free 
London HeathrowNo confirmed time limit.£5 
London Luton10 mins£5Additional £1 charge for each extra minute that you stay. Max stay is 1 hour.
London Stansted15 mins£7Costs £25 for stays over 15 minutes.
Manchester5 mins£5£6 for up to 10 minutes, £25 for any longer stays.
Newcastle10 mins£4£7 for up to 30 mins, £11 for up to an hour.
Southampton20 mins£7Via Express Drop Off.
Information accurate as of 20th March 2024.


All in all, if you would like to park as close as possible to Gatwick’s North or South terminal when dropping off passengers, there’s no way you can avoid the drop off charge, unless you’re a blue badge holder.

You also cannot prepare and pay the charge in advance, but, you can sign up to an AutoPay account and pay your fee with just a few clicks as soon as you’ve left the drop off zone. Or, you can pay via the airport’s dedicated phone line. It’ll cost you £6 to park for up to 10 minutes in a drop off zone, and this goes down as one of the UK’s more expensive drop off charges.

There are alternatives though. Arrivals can take the free approach and get dropped off in a long stay car park before getting a shuttle bus to the terminal of their choice – which all in all, takes no longer than 20 minutes or so. This is more cost-effective, but also more time-consuming, so you need to weigh up whether paying a drop off charge and saving passengers that extra time is worth it or not.

As well as that, who knows exactly how long these charges will be in place at Gatwick Airport, or whether they are here to stay permanently. All we know is that, for now, dropping off passengers in a designated zone generates a charge that you must pay by midnight the following day.

Gatwick drop off charge FAQs

What about if I’m dropped off at the airport in a taxi?

If you arrive to Gatwick Airport via taxi, your driver will add the drop off charge to your overall taxi fare. This would mean that once you’ve paid the taxi fare you’d no longer need to worry about the drop off charge.

Are blue badge holders exempt from paying the drop off charge?

Yes, if you’re a blue badge holder you are not required to pay the Gatwick drop off charge. Whoever is dropping you off at the airport, whether it’s a friend or family member, can park for up to 30 minutes, but they must not leave the vehicle unattended in the drop-off zone.

In order to validate your exemption, you’ll need to register the number plate of the vehicle you arrive in before you’re dropped off at the airport. You can do this via NCP, at any anytime belongs as it’s no earlier than three months before your flight. Once you’ve submitted your vehicle number plate, you’ll be sent an email that confirms your successful application for exemption.

Do I need to pay the drop off charge if I commute via Gatwick Airport railway station?

A local commuter scheme allows anyone living at postcodes close to the airport (RH11 0, RH6 9, RH6 0) to apply for a permit. According to Gatwick Airport’s website this permit “covers two visits per day to use the train station by paying an annual £50 charge.

If you do not live within those postcode areas, you will need to pay the drop off charge each time you are dropped off at the airport to use the train station.”

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