Tag Archives: Middle East

Spain’s Costa-cutters shame Britain’s airport rip-off boys

30 Mar

Car-park charges in the UK are enough to drive any motorist insane – and the rip-off boys are getting greedier and greedier. Particularly those who have a captive audience.

Like airports.

I returned to Spain from Manchester on Sunday knowing I’d be flying into Alicante’s new state-of-the-art terminal, an amazing edifice which cost the cash-strapped Spanish well over £500 million.

The Madrid government invested 628.67 million euros in expansion works which will double the airport’s capacity and cater for up to 20 million passengers per year.

When my daughter Lisa met me on my arrival in Manchester three weeks earlier, it cost her no less than £12 for an enforced two-hour stay in the Terminal One car-park (well, I paid it actually – that’s what parents are for).

And while Lisa might have got away with the £2.20 minimum charge had she
parked up to see me off on my return to the Costa Blanca, she’d inevitably have got carried away with emotion, hugged me for an hour, and forked out another £8 for the privilege.

So she just dropped me off and vamoosed, leaving me to find that my flight was being delayed for well over an hour for technical reasons.

We eventually arrived at Alicante half an hour late and by the time we got back to my friend Valerie’s car, it had been parked in the airport’s new 2,700-space multi-storey facility for an hour and a half.

At Manchester prices, that would have meant another £8 – to pick up a passenger who had already paid a fistful in airport taxes as part of her air fare.

In the event, Val’s 1 hour 38 minute stay cost me 2 euros and 95 cents.
That’s less than one-third of Manchester’s rip-off tariff – at an airport which must be desperate to recoup their massive investment as quickly as possible.

Exactly the same charge, based on a minute-by-minute reading which equates to just 70 centimos for half an hour, is levied at other major Spanish airports, including Madrid’s main Barajas facility, Malaga and Barcelona.

New Alicante terminal

The new terminal at Alicante: It can cater for 20 million passengers a year

How refreshing that a nation in desperate financial straits should put the passenger before profit, unlike the greedy ” fleece ’em for as much as we can” attitude in the UK.

When my sister flew in to Manchester from her home in the Middle East recently, fellow passengers on the delayed Jet2.com flight consoled her by insisting the plane was ALWAYS late in order to ensure that family and friends had to park up for at least an hour and incur that obligatory £8 fee.

I’m told that Stansted charge similar prices to Manchester, whilst
Heathrow’s initial £2.50 charge goes up to £4.30 after just half an hour (or at least it used to, though it may well have increased since those figures were reported).

Perhaps that’s why Spain is in a worse economic pickle than Britain…the Zapatero government prefer to remain needy rather than labelled as greedy.

So carry on with the overcharging, Britain. Enjoy squeezing the public to the pip.

I’ll continue to chill out on the cheap here on the Costa Lot-less.