Heathrow Airport Drop-off Charges

Heathrow Airport Drop-off Charges

Heathrow terminal's drop-off charge

Since November 2021, a drop-off charge has been implemented at all Heathrow terminals. Number plate reading cameras record your vehicle registration number each time you enter the drop-off zone, and you must pay the fee online the same day or by 11.59 the following day. 

You can also pay by phone 0330 008 5600. The drop-off zones are right outside the terminals and the drop-off charge is £5.00. 

Concessions are available for Blue Badge holders, and you can apply for a Blue Badge discount online.

If you are a regular traveller through Heathrow, you might want to set up a personal account, where you can pre-pay for multiple drop-offs, activate autopay, add a vehicle, and review trip history. Businesses can also set up a corporate account to add and manage multiple vehicles, activate autopay, and review trip history.

Note that your vehicle will be clocked by the cameras each time you enter the drop-off zone, which means you are liable to pay the drop-off charge each time too. 

Read on for more helpful information on dropping off at Heathrow Terminal 2, Terminal 3, Terminal 4, and Terminal 5.

Drop-off zones – all terminals

The drop-off zones are situated right in front of each of Heathrow’s four terminals. This area is also known as the terminal forecourt. When you approach the terminal, simply follow the signs to the drop-off zone and find a space to pull up. 

Make sure you do not leave your vehicle unattended at any time. 

Once your passengers have unloaded their bags, drive out of the drop-off area, and follow the signs to the exit. Don’t forget to pay the drop-off charge online before 11.59 the following day. You just need to enter your registration number and payment method.

What is the drop-off charge for?

Revenue from the drop-off fees goes towards new sustainable transport initiatives at Heathrow, including congestion-reducing and Surface-Access projects. The airport had previously planned to introduce a Heathrow Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (HULEZ) and a Heathrow Vehicle Access Charge (HVAC) but decided to implement a drop-off charge instead.

Free drop-off

You can use the Long Stay car parks at Heathrow for free drop-off. Your passengers will then need to take the free transfer bus to the terminal, so make sure you allow sufficient time. The Long Stay car parks are signposted once you approach the airport and are free of charge for the first 30 minutes. The transfer buses operate every 15 minutes.

Blue Badge holders receive up to two hours of free parking in Heathrow’s Long Stay car parks; just enter your Blue Badge number into the call point at the entry barrier. You will need to use the call point again to register your exit. Alternatively, apply for a Blue Badge 100% discount to enter the drop-off zone – see below.

Blue Badge discount

Holders of a valid UK or EEA Blue Badge do not need to pay the drop-off fee but you must apply for the 100% discount online up to three months prior to travel or by 11.59 the day after drop-off. 

Or call 0333 200 7459 at least 14 days before you make the drop-off.

The driver does not need to be the Blue Badge holder. The discount will apply to the vehicle that you register, which could be a taxi or a friend’s car. Here is a list of the information you need to provide:

  • Vehicle registration number
  • Date of drop-off
  • Blue Badge number
  • Email address
  • Flight number
  • Photos of the front and back of the Blue Badge

Confirmation of a successful application for discount will be sent by email. You must use the discount to avoid being liable for the £5.00 charge. If you do not use the discount and fail to pay the charge, you will receive a Parking Charge Notice (PCN) for £80.00. This is reduced to £40.00 if you pay the PCN within 14 days.

If you are travelling to the airport by taxi, you need to enter the taxi’s registration number in your application. The taxi company will need to have a business account set up to match the Blue Badge holder’s receipt ID with their receipt ID. They can do this within the Trip Management section. Don’t forget to confirm with your taxi driver that they do not need to add the drop-off fee to the meter if you have applied for the discount in advance.

Please check for updated information here.

Remember to apply for the discount for each drop-off.

Exemptions to the drop-off charge

Emergency service vehicles, military vehicles and official Heathrow vehicles are automatically exempt from the drop-off charge.

A 100% discount applies to roadside recovery vehicles that are registered as such with the DVLA.   

Two-wheeled motorbikes also receive a 100% discount.

You do not need to apply for any of these exemptions or discounts.

Automatic payments

Regular visitors to Heathrow might want to create a personal account to set up autopay, so you do not need to worry about missing a payment.

Businesses can also create a business account to set up autopay, as well as manage multiple vehicles, and review trip history.

Arriving by taxi

Taxis are charged the drop-off fee the same as other vehicles and will normally add the fee to the passenger fare.

Are there barriers to the drop-off zones?

No. The drop-off zones are barrier free, to allow the free flow of traffic. The number plate recognition cameras record the registration of each vehicle at the time it enters the zone.

How much does it cost to drop someone at Heathrow?

The drop-off zones are right outside the terminals and the drop-off charge is £5.00.

What happens if I don’t pay?

If you do not pay the drop-off zone fee by 11.59 on the day after drop-off, you will be issued with a Parking Charge Notice (PCN) for £80.00. This is reduced to £40.00 if you pay the charge within 14 days.

Picking up at Heathrow Airport

The Short Stay car parks are the designated pick-up points for all terminals at Heathrow. They are all around two minutes’ walk from the Arrivals Hall. Note the height restrictions for the Short Stay car parks are as follows:

Terminal 2, car park 2: 2.05m / 6ft 9in

Terminal 3, over-height area: 2.75m / 9ft

Terminal 3, other floors: 2.2m / 7ft 2in

Terminal 4: 2m / 6ft 6in

Terminal 5, over-height area: no restrictions

Terminal 5, other floors: 2.2m / 7ft 2in

Alternatively, you can use the Long Stay car parks, which offer free parking for the first 30 minutes. Your passengers will just need to take the complimentary transfer bus from the terminal to the car park.

Parking at Heathrow

There are various parking options for travellers driving their own car to Heathrow. The most convenient is Meet & Greet Parking, where you can drive to the terminal and leave your car with your Meet & Greet operator – usually in the Short Stay car park, which is just a couple of minutes on foot to the Departures Hall. 

You can review the parking deals on offer and get a quote for APH Heathrow parking here

Hotel & parking at Heathrow

If you have an early flight, or a long car journey to get to Heathrow, you may want to consider the benefits of an overnight stay in an airport hotel. Not only can this be a relaxing start to your trip, but it can also help you avoid any early morning starts or unexpected traffic jams.

You can also combine a hotel stay with airport parking. Some hotels offer parking on site, whereas others can be booked in conjunction with an off-airport car park, from where you can take a free transfer to the terminal. Or take advantage of a Meet & Greet service and drive directly to the terminal from your hotel on the morning of your flight.

Getting to Heathrow Airport – by road

Heathrow Airport lies around 16 miles to the west of London and is easily accessed from the M4 and M25 motorways, as well as the A4, which runs along the airport’s north perimeter. Heathrow’s proximity to the M4 and M25 means it is easily reached from anywhere in the UK via the national motorway network.

For Heathrow Terminals 2 and 3, exit the M4 at Junction 4 and follow the signs. Or exit the M25 at Junction 15 and follow the signs. Terminals 2 and 3 are next to each other in the centre of the airport. The postcode for Terminal 2 is TW6 1EW. The postcode for Terminal 3 is TW6 1QG.

For Heathrow Terminal 4, from the M25 exit at Junction 14 for the A3113 and follow the signs along Airport Way. If you are on the M4, exit at Junction 4b and take the M25 south – towards Gatwick – to exit at Junction 14. The postcode for Terminal 4 is TW6 3XA.

For Heathrow Terminal 5, exit the M25 at Junction 14 and follow the signs. Terminal 5 has its own dedicated spur road. If you are coming from the M4, exit at Junction 4b and head south on the M25 towards Gatwick. Exit the M25 at Junction 14. The postcode for Terminal 5 is TW6 2GA.

Getting to Heathrow Airport – by train

Heathrow is connected to central London by several rail options, including the Heathrow Express, Elizabeth Line and London Underground.

The Heathrow Express whisks travellers between London Paddington station and Heathrow Terminals 2, 3 and 5 in just 15 minutes. If you are travelling from Terminal 4 you need to change at the station for Terminals 2 and 3 and hop on the free transfer train.

The new Elizabeth Line stops at all four of Heathrow’s terminals. The journey time from Paddington is around 30 minutes and payment can be made by contactless pay-as-you-go and Oyster pay-as-you-go. 

London Underground’s Piccadilly Line also stops at all four Heathrow terminals. The journey time from central London is just under an hour and the Heathrow stations are in Zone 6.

Getting to Heathrow Airport – by bus

There are many local bus services that stop at Heathrow, going west towards Windsor, Slough, and Maidenhead, for example, or north to Uxbridge, Harrow, and Southall, east to Hounslow, Twickenham and Hammersmith, and south to Staines, Sunbury and Walton-on-Thames.

The central bus station at Heathrow is between Terminals 2 and 3, directly above the London Underground station. The bus stops at Terminal 4 are just outside Arrivals, as are the stops at Terminal 5, above the London Underground and Elizabeth Line stations.

RailAir operates buses between Heathrow and Reading, Woking, and Guildford train stations and The Airline is a service run by the Oxford Bus Company that runs 24 hours between Oxford and Heathrow. 

If you are overnighting in an airport hotel at Heathrow, then the Hotel Hoppa service will connect you to your terminal. Tickets are cheaper if booked online in advance. In Terminal 2 the Hoppa stops at Stop 9; in Terminal 3 it is Stop 12; at Terminal 4 it is the Crowne Plaza Hotel and at Terminal 5, Stops 17 and 18.

Getting to Heathrow Airport – by coach

The National Express network operates multiple routes from across the UK to Heathrow. Buy tickets online for the best available fare, or from the ticket machines at the Central Bus Station next to Terminals 2 and 3.

Megabus also operate to and from the Central Bus Station at Heathrow from destinations all over the UK.

Coaches for Heathrow run to and from the Central Bus Station next to Terminals 2 and 3, from Stops 12-17 outside Arrivals in Terminal 4 and Stops 9-15 outside Arrivals in Terminal 5.

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1 comment for “Heathrow Airport Drop-off Charges

  1. louise gough says:

    I took a wrong turn at the roundabout and had no option but to go back through the drop off area. I have already paid £11 to park in the short stay car park whilst picking my son and girlfriend up.I drove straight through in error, I’m hoping I will not need to pay the £5 charge as I had option but to go through as there was no other exit tp go back around the roundabout. Please could you let me know as I also don’t want a fine.

    Thanks
    louise

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