The Most Expensive Airports in the World for Drivers

Here in the UK, people can’t stop talking about the recent spike in airport pricing - and we’re not talking about the flights. 

Recent reports have shown that drop-off fees have soared sky-high post-pandemic. 

With drop-off fees for Stansted Airport as costly as £7 for less than 15 minutes, it got us thinking here at Lease Fetcher, how much does the rest of the world pay?

In order to determine the most expensive and cheapest airports for drivers around the world, we've collated pricing information about drop-off, car rental, and parking fees, whilst also exploring EV rental costs and EV charger availability. 

Our research looks at the top 25 busiest UK airports, top 25 busiest US airports, and top 25 busiest International airports.

Let’s see how British airport pricing compares to some of the busiest airports across the globe.

Edinburgh has the Most Affordable Airport in the UK for Drivers

To determine which airports are the most costly and affordable, we looked at fees for drop-off, parking for a week, and car hire for a week.

Drop-off Fees

Looking at the data in the table below, we can see that 20 of the 25 UK airports charge you for dropping your friends or family off to catch their flight. 

As we mentioned, the most expensive British airport for drop-off is London Stansted, coming in at a whopping £7 for less than 15 minutes

Seven airports - Heathrow, Gatwick, and Luton included - charge £5 for drop-off, with another seven - including Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen - charging £4

There are five smaller airports- including three islands off the mainland - that offer drop-off for free. Something which seems to be a rare occurrence amongst British airports! 

Weekly Parking Fees

With prices unexpectedly high for drop-off, we then considered how much it would cost to park your car for a week. 

At £142, London Heathrow charges the highest rates for weekly parking amongst UK airports.

 Shetland's Sumburgh Airport charges the lowest parking fees with a wallet-friendly price of £21 for a week. 

Weekly Car Hire Prices

We also explored the cost of renting a car from each airport for the same week period. By using Skyscanner we were able to compare and find the lowest weekly car rental costs for all 25 airports. 

Surprisingly, the cheapest car rental is from London Gatwick at £129 for a week.

If you're looking to rent a car in the UK it may be wise to avoid the Channel Islands. Guernsey and Jersey are the most expensive UK airports to rent a car from with weekly costs starting at £350 and £342 respectively.

Total Costs

Taking all three factors into consideration, the most expensive British airport for drivers is Jersey Airport, with a total cost of £476.40 for drop-off, parking, and car rental. Despite offering the rare luxury of free drop-off, Jersey had the 2nd most expensive fees for both weekly parking costs and weekly car hire costs.

In a similar vein, Guernsey is the 2nd most expensive UK airport for drivers with a total cost of £434, followed by Doncaster Sheffield with £381.

Looking at the other end of the scale, Edinburgh Airport ranked as the most affordable airport for UK drivers based on the three factors we explored. With extremely modest weekly parking and car hire prices, the total cost of all three factors combined totalled £181.99.

The 2nd most affordable UK airport for drivers belongs to London Luton with a total cost of 196.99, followed by London Gatwick in 3rd with £204.

The Most Expensive UK Airports for Drivers (Ordered by Total Cost)

AirportDrop-Off FeeParking Costs Per WeekCar Hire Costs Per WeekTotal Cost
Doncaster Sheffield£4£79£298£381
Belfast International£1£38.99£263£302.99
East Midlands£5£49.99£246£300.99
London City£3.80£123.49£165£292.29
London Heathrow£5£142£137£284
Leeds Bradford£5£59£209£273
Isle Of ManFree£37£224£261
London Stanstead£7£69.99£141£217.99
Belfast CityFree£34.99£173£207.99
London Gatwick£5£70£129£204
London Luton£5£52.99£139£196.99

Chica-going somewhere? O’Hare International revealed as America’s Most Expensive Airport for Drivers

Chicago O'Hare International sign

We looked at the same set of three costs for US airports.

Drop-off Fees

“Everything’s bigger in America” right? Wrong! That might be the case for food portions, but not drop-off costs! 

The Americans have hit the nail on the head with their airports by having a designated drop-off zone that they have cutely named “kiss and fly”, or “cell phone lots”. These are areas where you can wait for free until you get a text or phone call from your loved ones telling you that they've landed, prompting you to proceed to the collection/drop-off point. 

In complete contrast to the UK, 20 of the 25 US airports offer drop-off access free of charge, with only five charging passengers to be dropped off. Even then, the most expensive charge at Detroit Metropolitan International is as little as £3.42

Weekly Parking Fees

However, American airports tend to charge the bigger bucks for parking. The most expensive airport for weekly parking is Chicago O’Hare International where you'll be charged £215.74. Additionally, LaGuardia, Boston Logan, and Seattle-Tacoma all charge more for weekly parking than London Heathrow - Britain's most expensive airport for weekly parking.

Weekly Car Hire Prices

Regarding car rental, prices are similar but still more expensive state-side. All but 3 airports - Orlando International, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International and Miami International - charge more than £200 for a week-long rental. Harry Reid International in Las Vegas offers the most expensive weekly rental fees at £308.

Saying that, Miami International allows you to rent cars for as cheap as £79 per week. That's just over a tenner a day!

Total Costs

Again, assessing all three factors of drop-off, parking and car rental, the most expensive airport for drivers in the US is Chicago O’Hare International, with a total cost of £468.74.

Heading south, the sunshine state of Florida deserves some recognition for housing the 3 cheapest airports for drivers in the US. Miami International, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International and Orlando International rank one, two and three respectively.

Based on the three factors, Miami International has a total cost of £184.17, closely followed by Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International with £189.25 and Orlando International at £257.93

The Most Expensive US Airports for Drivers (Ordered by Total Cost)

AirportDrop-Off FeeParking Costs Per WeekCar Hire Costs Per WeekTotal Cost
O'Hare InternationalFree£215.74£253£468.74
Harry Reid International£2.57£109.48£308£420.05
San Diego InternationalFree£128.07£282£410.07
San Francisco InternationalFree£128.07£278£406.07
Boston Logan InternationalFree£152.22£237£389.22
Seattle-Tacoma InternationalFree£147.21£233£380.21
Minneapolis-Saint Paul InternationalFree£127.94£234£361.94
Los Angeles InternationalFree£84.33£277£361.33
Philadelphia InternationalFree£121.82£235£356.82
Detroit Metropolitan International£3.42£91.25£256£350.67
George Bush Intercontinental£0.86£44.31£297£342.17
John F. Kennedy InternationalFree£121.71£218£339.71
Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International£2.57£60.83£273£336.40
Newark Liberty InternationalFree£127.94£208£335.94
Charlotte Douglas InternationalFree£56.53£275£331.53
Dallas/Fort Worth InternationalFree£27.38£294£321.38
Phoenix Sky Harbour InternationalFree£73.12£243£316.12
Washington Dulles InternationalFree£60.94£234£294.94
Denver InternationalFree£42.58£242£284.58
Baltimore/Washington InternationalFree£48.75£232£280.75
Salt Lake City InternationalFree£36.58£243£279.58
Orlando InternationalFree£60.93£197£257.93
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood InternationalFree£91.25£98£189.25
Miami International£1.71£103.46£79£184.17

Viva Espana! Madrid-Barajas is the World’s Cheapest Airport for Drivers

Casting a wider global net, we've also explored the top 25 busiest international airports.

Drop-off Fees

Out of the top 25 global airports, which includes the likes of Dubai International and Hong Kong International, Heathrow Airport is the most expensive airport for drop-off, charging £5. However, London Stanstead still takes first prize for the most expensive in the world it just isn’t one of the busiest. 

Again, 19 of the global airports offer free drop-off and it goes without saying that if Stansted Airport made the top 25, it would be taking first place with its outrageous drop-off fee. 

Weekly Parking Fees

Parking prices vary across the globe with the costs ranging from £23.11 to £215.74. O’Hare International tops the global chart for most expensive weekly parking fee, whilst Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok charges the least.

However, we discovered that airport parking availability varies across the globe, particularly within heavily populated cities like Singapore, Bangkok and Beijing, likely influencing the prices charged. 

Weekly Car Hire Prices

If you are going global and fancy renting a car when you land, avoid Chengdu Shuangliu International airport in China. Renting a car from here will cost you an eye-watering £1,163 to rent a small hatchback for a week!

For the city break lovers, you can cruise around the Spanish city of Madrid for a week for only £61, what a bargain! 

Total Costs

With car hire prices as high as that, it's no surprise that the most expensive airport globally for drivers is Chengdu Shuangliu International. Expect to cough up £1,246.55 for all three services! When it comes to affordable prices for drivers, Madrid-Barajas comes out on top with a total cost of £91.83.

The Most Expensive International Airports for Drivers (Ordered by Total Cost)

AirportDrop-Off FeeParking Costs Per WeekCar Hire Costs Per WeekTotal Cost
Chengdu Shuangliu InternationalFree£83.55£1,163£1,246.55
Singapore ChangiFree£151.30£407£558.30
Hong Kong International£2.18£122.88£355£477.88
O'Hare InternationalFree£215.74£253£468.74
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International£2.57£60.83£403£463.83
San Francisco InternationalFree£128.07£278£406.07
Soekarno-Hatta InternationalFree£97.79£300£397.79
Los Angeles International Free£96.99£277£373.99
Beijing Capital International£0.31£69.68£281£350.68
John F. Kennedy International Free£121.71£218£339.71
Dallas/Fort Worth International£2.57£27.38£294£321.38
Guangzhou BaiyunFree£52.19£265£317.19
Seoul Incheon International£0.76£39.23£265£304.23
Indira Ghandi International Free£43.84£258£301.84
Amsterdam SchipholFree£70.39£228£298.39
Shanghai PudongFree£52.24£241£293.24
Tokyo HanedaFree£63.71£224£287.71
Dubai InternationalFree£171.39£116£287.39
Paris Charles de GaulleFree£90.82£196£286.82
Denver International Free£42.58£242£284.58
London Heathrow£5.00£142.00£137£279.00
Kuala Lumpur International £0.76£42.97£135£177.97
Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Free£23.11£101£124.11

Over 50% of the UK's Busiest Airports don't offer EV Charging Facilities

With reports that Stansted's reasoning behind the high drop-off fee is to encourage more “sustainable transport options”, we decided to look into how encouraging our national airports are of sustainable driving. 

Looking at the same 25 UK airports, we looked into which airports offer EV car hire, how much it costs, and how many EV chargers they have on site. 

10 of the 25 airports don’t offer EV rental at all, which is excusable on the basis that they are some of the smaller, more regional island-based airports like Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey.

More surprisingly, 14 of the 25 airports (56%) don't offer any EV Charging facilities at all. This includes popular airports like Manchester, London Stanstead and Belfast International.

Out of the 15 airports that offer EV rental, Birmingham comes out as the most expensive with weekly fees starting from £603. London Heathrow and Gatwick both offer EV rental from £211 per week making them the most affordable UK airports to rent an EV.

UK Airports Ordered by Total Number of EV Chargers

AirportEV Charging SpacesWeekly EV Rental Costs (£)
London Heathrow38£211
London Luton10£332
London Gatwick8£211
London Stanstead0£301
London City0£314
Belfast City0N/A
Belfast International0N/A
Doncaster Sheffield0N/A
East Midlands0N/A
Isle Of Man0N/A
Leeds Bradford0N/A

Charlotte Douglas International charges over £2.3k to rent an EV for a week

The American airports put the rest of the world to shame when it comes to EV charging. Los Angeles International (LAX) has an astonishing 832 EV charging points available on site with plans for a further 500 well underway. Granted they have a higher volume of passengers to cater to, but still, we can’t help but be impressed. 

We were also very impressed to find out that all 25 of America's busiest airports offer EV charging facilities, and all but 3 of the airports have 10+ EV charging stations available. 

However, when it comes to renting an EV you are in for a bit of a shock. To rent an EV for a week at Charlotte Douglas International you can expect to pay an astronomically high price of £2,846. Likewise, at Dallas/Fort Worth International you'll have to brace yourself for weekly rental costs starting from £1,959!

Only 2 of the 25 airports don’t offer EV rental, but unlike Britain still cater to their passengers by offering EV charging stations anyway, like Salt Lake City which offers up 132 charging points.

Overall, we think it’s fair to say that LAX is the most EV-friendly airport in the US between its generous offering of EV charging and reasonable hire prices starting from £448 per week.

US Airports Ordered by Total Number of EV Chargers

AirportEV Charging SpacesWeekly EV Rental Costs (£)
Los Angeles International832£448
Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International275£466
San Francisco IInternational152£464
Salt Lake City International132N/A
Minneapolis-Saint Paul International63£443
Seattle-Tacoma International48£578
San Diego International44£502
Denver International36£450
O'Hare International32£545
Washington Dulles International30£338
Boston Logan International26£441
Harry Reid International24£572
Orlando International22£562
Dallas/Fort Worth International20£1,959
Charlotte Douglas International18£2,318
Detroit Metropolitan International18N/A
John F. Kennedy International15£375
Philadelphia International14£362
Newark Liberty International13£317
Baltimore/Washington International10£425
Phoenix Sky Harbour International10£479
George Bush Intercontinental5£525
Miami International4£428
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International3£385

The World’s Busiest Airports can do more to encourage Sustainable Driving

On a global scale the general consensus is that passengers are well catered for in terms of EV charging availability, with 18 of the 25 airports having at least two chargers on site. 

With US airports holding the top 3 positions, the next two most EV friendly airports are Seoul Incheon International in South Korea and Paris Charles de Gaulle in France. In terms of EV charging spaces, Seoul Incheon International offers an impressive 70 charging spaces while Charles De Gaulle offers 68.

When it comes to EV rental it’s clear to see that prices are higher in comparison to a regular petrol or diesel, with fees in Dubai falling just shy of £1k. Although, if you fancy a Spanish road trip, weekly EV rental costs start from £98 at Madrid Barajas Airport.

Unfortunately, there are 12 airports unaccounted for, as they don’t offer EV rental or have not shared their data with Skyscanner. 

There is scope for the world's busiest airports to do that little bit more to encourage sustainable driving, whether it’s incorporating more onsite EV chargers, offering more EV rental options, or even reducing the rental fee of EVs. 

International Airports Ordered by Total Number of EV Chargers

AirportEV Charging SpacesWeekly EV Rental Costs (£)
Los Angeles International 832£448
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International275£466
San Francisco International152£464
Seoul Incheon International70N/A
Paris Charles de Gaulle 68£256
London Heathrow38£211
Denver International 36£450
Amsterdam Schiphol35£308
O'Hare International32£545
Dallas/Fort Worth International20£1,959
Singapore Changi12N/A
Hong Kong International10N/A
John F. Kennedy International 10N/A
Kuala Lumpur International 9N/A
Tokyo Haneda6N/A
Dubai International4£864
Madrid Barajas2£98
Indira Ghandi International 0N/A
Bangkok Suvarnabhumi N/A£194
Beijing Capital InternationalN/AN/A
Chengdu Shuangliu InternationalN/AN/A
Guangzhou BaiyunN/AN/A
Shanghai PudongN/AN/A
Soekarno-Hatta InternationalN/AN/A


airport runway

Airport fees are rising rapidly across the globe!

When it comes to drop-off fees, the UK is charging some of the highest rates in the world. Stansted Airport holds the unwanted accolade of being the most expensive airport in the world, with the likes of Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester not far behind.

The data has also shown us that there has been an exceptional global adjustment to EV adoption at US airports in the form of EV charging stations. EV chargers seem to be a much more common occurrence at US airports than the rest of the world, where LAX offers over 800 of them with more to come! UK airports could learn a thing or two, especially as the world's driving population is continuing to adopt electric vehicles.

Interestingly, we discovered that in Stansted’s bid to encourage more sustainable methods of transport, they currently have zero onsite EV charging stations to actually encourage this. Again, this begs the question of why are Brits expected to fork out for drop-off in the name of sustainability when it’s not supported in other ways?

In comparison to the rest of the world’s airports, which are considerably busier than our own, our prices are sky high and are continuing to take off. At Lease Fetcher, we firmly believe that our airports are simply charging drivers too much for drop-off and not offering enough sustainable alternatives!


  • Drop-Off fees were sourced from official airport sites, using the cost of the shortest available parking option.
  • Parking fees were sourced from official airport sites. The cheapest available option was used for each airport.
  • Car rental fees were sourced via Skyscanner. The cheapest available option was used for each airport.
  • The time period of 19/10/22 - 26/10/22 (10am - 10am) was used to calculate the weekly parking fees and weekly car rental fees. This is exactly one month from the time of publication.
  • International airport fees were gathered in local currency then converted into GBP using the Google Sheets currency exchange formula.
  • All data accurate as of 16/09/2022
  • Access our public data here
  • All sources of information and variation of data can be found at: 
    List of Top 25 Busiest UK Airports (2021 Data)
    List of Top 25 Busiest US Airports (2021 Data)
    List of Top 25 Busiest Global Airports (2019 Data used to avoid Covid-19 interference on figures)