The UK airports penalising drivers the most for lingering too long outside their terminals when dropping off a passenger have been revealed.

Airports’ reasoning is that these charges ease congestion at the terminals, as spikes in traffic can occur when drivers stop for too long.

The bosses of airports such as London Stanstead in Essex – which charges a minimum of £4 for parking outside for up to ten minutes – are keen to point out there are cheaper parking options further from the terminal itself.

The longer you stay outside the terminal, the greater the risk of a serious financial sting. Manchester Airport’s fines are among the worse as drivers face a £25 hit to the wallet if they park outside the terminal for more than ten minutes.

London Stansted closely follows with a £25 charge for staying more than 15 minutes, while East Midlands Airport will charge you £2 for 10 minutes, but £1 for every minute after, making the total £22 for a 30-minute stay.

Cheaper options for parking do exist at almost all major UK airports, and London’s City, Heathrow and Gatwick airports all allow free drop-offs.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Simon Williams of the RAC commented: “As if the cost of picking someone up or dropping them off at the airport isn’t bad enough, the penalties for staying too long can be truly eye-watering.

“You really can’t afford to take your eye off the clock, otherwise you might end up being stung with a charge that is as much as catching a cheap flight to Europe.”

The Manchester Airports Group – which owns Stanstead and East Midlands Airport in addition to Manchester – issued a statement to the Daily Mail, saying: “At our airports, passengers being dropped off at the forecourt are subject to a charge, which is designed to encourage alternative, more sustainable transport options while reducing congestion and traffic jams at the airport and on surrounding roads.”