Drivers dropping off and collecting passengers at Edinburgh Airport are paying some of the highest charges in the UK, a new report has found.
The £3.90 minimum pick-up fee is higher than at Heathrow and the fourth highest overall.
Only Luton, Birmingham, and Stansted charge more, according to research by the RAC motoring group which was published today.
Edinburgh was also the fifth most expensive for drop-off charges, at £1 for five minutes.
Aberdeen, which charges £2, was the fourth dearest after Luton, Stansted and East Midlands. The north east airport also charges £2 for pick-ups.
The RAC said drivers picking up passengers at Edinburgh were paying more per minute than a mobile phone call from Europe to the UK.
Glasgow Airport does not charge drop-off fees, and drivers pay £2 for pick-ups. Prestwick offers five minutes’ free parking for both.
The RAC urged drivers to check fees before heading for the airport and said free drop-off and collection areas offered by some airports were usually some distance from terminals.
At Edinburgh, it is in the long-stay car park and free for only ten minutes, after which a £3.50 charge applies.
RAC spokesman Pete Williams said: “Drivers are running the risk of incurring some hefty charges if they drive to a pick-up zone to collect somebody whose flight is delayed, or who has to wait for baggage.
“In these cases, they are much better finding another, more affordable airport car park. Unfortunately, from our research there will be a trade-off in that other car parks tend to be considerably less convenient and a lot further from the arrivals hall.”
“In the case of Edinburgh Airport, the drop-off/pick-up zone is free for the first ten minutes but then requires the driver to take a shuttle bus to the terminal to greet or send off a friend or family, meaning they are certain to have to end up paying to park – £3.50 for up to 30 minutes and £5.90 for up to an hour.”
Neil Greig, of motoring group IAM RoadSmart, said: “Draconian parking charges only make sense if drivers have a wide range of public transport options to help them get to the airport.
“That’s fine in Edinburgh if you live near the tram. The reality is that most passengers catching early or late flights have no choice but to use a car.”
Edinburgh Airport said it was one of only six major UK airports to offer a free pick-up and drop-off area.
A spokesman said: “This is a popular service that we are committed to maintaining.
“Edinburgh Airport is now one of the most competitive airports in Europe, offering direct flights to scores of destinations across Europe, North America and the Middle East.
“To provide that range of choice and quality facilities for passengers – such as our paid-for drop-off area – we invest millions of pounds at the airport and seek a modest contribution from the people who use the facilities to ensure investment is sustained over the long term and Edinburgh has an airport of which it can always be proud.”