Sunday, March 02, 2008

Soon airport parking will be more expensive than your flight ... The Bank of QPark at Aldergrove

Up at Belfast International Airport early on Saturday morning, I knew we'd be staying for an hour and a bit, so I pulled into the Main Stay car park rather than the prohibitively expensive Short Stay.

A pointless decision, as the parking charges for one, two or three hours are the same in both car parks.

  • £3.30 for the first hour.
  • Another £3.30 for the second hour.
  • And it would be another £3.30 for the third hour.

In our case, a whopping £6.60 for less than two hours parking in either car park. It would be cheaper to pull into McCauslands and park there for part of a day for only £6.

It's only when you go to four hours and beyond that there's any differentiation between the short and main stay car parks. Four hours in short stay continues the hourly £3.30 increments (which continue ad infinitum as they charge £33/day) whereas the daily tariff of £11/day kicks in.

A complete rip off. Surprised the Consumer Council doesn't make a bigger fuss about the difference between the (expensive) city centre and the (astronomic) airport parking rates enforced by Q-Park up at Belfast International!

All added to the misery of the closure of the M2 between J2 and J4 - and the nonsensical diversion that brought everyone out at the end of the M5 ... but without just directing us along the M5! Added a good 15 minutes to our trip up to Aldergrove.

Update - Could have been worse. At least it was only the road that was shut on Saturday morning. The terminal was closed for around an hour on Sunday afternoon due to two suspicious packages found in the long stay car park. To quote the BBC News online report:

The closure led to traffic chaos with a mile-long queue of vehicles stretching back along the main airport road.


Timothy Belmont said...

It's a rip-off. Little wonder they don't want a rail link. It's impractical for many, for various factors, but I've started using the airbus (£9 return) to Aldergrove; I hire a taxi from Glengall St if necessary to take me home.

James said...

Nothing new here. I bought my first car - a rather classy red Saab 900 - from a man in the car park of Belfast City. Not as dodgy as you might think...

He'd unexpectedly won an ebay bid for a Fiat CoupĂ© and needed to shift his car. Unfortunately the Fiat was in London, so he drove to BHD, left the Saab and flew to London, collected the car and drove back to Stranraer. He missed the last boat and had to sleep in the Fiat overnight, before catching the slow ferry over first thing. He picked me up in town and we drove to BHD to get the car. Unfortunately for him, he'd parked it in short-stay instead of long-stay, and ended up paying nearly £60 to get it out. I handed him some cash and he handed me the keys on the sliproad, and I lurched off (getting the hang of a "difficult" fifth gear) into the joys of car ownership...

John Self said...

Great story james!

I see Q-Park are also responsible for the parking at Victoria Square. We shall find out on Thursday what their astronomical rates there are: could it be more expensive than the £2.80 an hour surface car park on Chichester Street?