Friday, 8 January 2016

Car Parking at Edinburgh Airpot: A Fee Too Far?

This isn't the first time it has happened.  Going to pick up somebody at Edinburgh airport, check their live arrivals webpage, see that the flight is marked "scheduled" and then, upon entering the International Arrivals area, check the board only to find the flight has been delayed by some time: certainly more than enough to bump up the car parking charges into the next tier or even two.

These circumstances happened to me, again, last night and I've had enough.  The last time I  tweeted Edinburgh airport (@EDI_airport) but probably because I was rather impolite in my tone (I believe the phrase "taking the piss" may have been used), it is not surprising that I received no reply.

This time I am being more serious.  Below is a copy of the letter I sent this morning to Edinburgh Airport in which I raise the following issues;

  • Accuracy and timely updating of their live arrives webpage
  • The impact of late information upon those collecting people.
  • The possibility of the airport's conflict of interest in providing timely information with the profits being made on short-term car parking.
  • The larger question on Edinburgh Airport and the effective local monopoly it holds, which allows it to charge effectively what it thinks it can get away with.

To be fair, I have only sent the letter this morning so Edinburgh airport has not even seen it yet, never mind  had a chance for a considered response.  Even so, I believe that they do have a case to answer with their policy of car park charging.  They even charge for merely picking up passengers from the multi-storey car park zone.  Since there cannot be any local competition, this is effectively a monopoly situation.

If you have been in a similar situation or have other issues with access to Edinburgh Airport, I would encourage you to not remain silent but to get in contact with them, either through their webpage or by writing to them at  

Customer Services
Burnside Building
Edinburgh Airport
EH12 9DN

You will be very welcome to leave a comment on this blog if any of this rings a bell with you.  Speaking for myself, I am really fed up of being ripped off.

Below is my letter:

Dear Customer Services Executive,

Yesterday evening I had to come out to Edinburgh Airport in order to collect my daughter.  She was travelling as an unaccompanied minor on the last KLM flight of the evening: KL1293, 7th of January, scheduled arrival time of 22:10hrs.

At 20:00hr of Thursday evening, I checked Edinburgh Airport live arrivals website, which informed me that the flight was due to arrive as scheduled.  I checked again at 21:30hrs, before departing the house.  Again the website read as "scheduled" for this particular flight.

When meeting an unaccompanied minor, I understand that we as parents have to be there at the appropriate time in order to complete the legal handover with airport staff.  Therefore I ensured that I was at the airport at 22:15hrs, five minutes after the scheduled arrival time.

It was therefore to my considerable consternation that upon entering the arrivals hall, the board shows that KL 1293 has been delayed, with an expected new arrival time of 22:54hrs.  

Why is it that the "live" flight information provided by Edinburgh Airport is so badly wrong?  Regretfully, a cynic might suggest that your company has a vested interest in not updating your website in a timely manner, and that is because of the excessive car-parking charges that are made.

For parking one hour twenty minutes, I was charged the same as for three-hours: £10.90.  It is not as if we have any choice.  There is not an alternative airport in East Lothian competing for business.  Your company is operating what is effectively a local monopoly.

If Edinburgh Airport provides information, as you do, then there is a duty of care to ensure it is both accurate and timely.  This is not being done.  I wish I could say that this was an isolated event.  The fact that similar incidents have arisen in the past is one reason I am writing to you now.

If you had provided accurate and timely information on your website, I would have departed later and thus would not have incurred such excessive charges.  Thus I enclose my car park ticket in the hope that you have the decency to refund the difference between charges of over one hour and under this time.

I believe that this particular incident illustrates a wider public interest debate as to Edinburgh Airport's policy of exorbitant car parking fees.  I understand there is a green imperative on ensuring reduction of private transport usage.  I also understand that Edinburgh Airport is a business with a duty to make a profit.  The debate lies upon whether your company is, frankly, milking the situation.  I publish a blog and will be writing an article on the issue.

Yours sincerely,

1 comment:

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