Air travel can be a great way to visit new places. But when it comes to parking, airports can be a bit stressful – particularly if you have limited mobility. We’ve previously looked at how to make your flying experience more accessible, but what about the parking in airports – is it accessible? And can you use your Blue Badge?
This article explains everything you need to know about parking in the main UK airports if you have a disability.
Is airport parking free for Blue Badge holders?
Across the UK, many disabled people use the Blue Badge scheme to park closer to their destination. Sometimes, your Blue Badge will also allow you to park in places free of charge.
In general, you will still have to pay for parking at UK airports even if you have a Blue Badge. However, some airports will give you some free time and have discounted prices.
Also, Blue Badge holders are likely to have easier-to-access parking options and 24-hour assistance to get to and from those parking spaces.
Most airports will offer assistance should you need it, and offer details on their website. But remember, you’ll almost always need to contact them in advance if you need special assistance.
Do I need to book my parking space ahead of time?
Not necessarily, but getting in touch with the airport’s customer service is advised. If you have a Blue Badge, they will usually provide you with a voucher to display in your window while you’re away, but different rules may apply depending on the airport.
Most UK airport websites clearly outline your parking options and list the support or assistance that’s available to you during the entirety of your visit.
Below, we’ve looked at the disabled parking amenities at several of the UK’s main airports, to help you plan your trip.
Disabled Parking in the main UK airports
- Blue Badge parking
- Wheelchair accessible
- Help points close to Blue Badge parking
Heathrow Airport has Blue Badge spaces in all Short Stay, Long Stay and Business car parks, all close to terminal access routes. All of the car parks are wheelchair accessible, and there are help points located close to the Blue Badge parking. The airport recommends you contact the appropriate car park in advance if you’ll need assistance getting to the terminal.
If you’re being picked up and have a Blue Badge, the first two hours of parking are free in the Long Stay car parks.
- Blue Badge parking at the Short Stay, Mid Stay and Long Stay car parks
- Bus transfer required
The Stansted Short Stay car park is located closest to the terminal, while the Mid and Long Stay car parks both require a bus transfer. However, all three zones offer assistance if you book in advance.
Blue Badge parking is also available in the airport’s Express Set Down area (£7 for 15 minutes), though vehicles cannot be left unattended.
- Blue Badge parking in Long and Short stay car parks
- Premium Blue Badge parking at a discounted rate
- Blue Badge valet parking
- Free assistance
- Help points
Both Gatwick terminals have Blue Badge parking spaces, located near the transfer bus stops for the shuttle. If you want same-level access to terminal buildings, you can access the premium parking spaces – there are eight in the South Terminal car park and 18 in the North Terminal.
Free assistance is provided if you require help getting to and from the terminal, and help points are located in the car parks. They also have a valet service, and you can ask for your vehicle to be parked in a Blue Badge space if needed.
- Blue Badge parking in Mid Stay and Long Stay car parks
- Help points
- Assistance from specific parking points
London Luton has Blue Badge parking bays in its Mid Stay and Long Stay car parks, but they recommend that you park in Terminal Car Park 1 or 2 if you require special assistance. Both of these car parks have help points and a short walk away from the terminal.
The Mid Stay Car Park is a 10-minute walk and the Long Stay Car Park requires a 10-minute, fully accessible shuttle bus transfer to get to your terminal.
- Blue Badge parking
- Blue Badge drop-off only is free
Manchester Airport offers Blue Badge parking in its Multi-Storey car parks, located adjacent to all three terminals, and in its JetPark car parks, located a short bus ride away. For shorter stays, Blue Badge holders can also use the Arrivals car park outside Terminal 1, though spaces cannot be pre-booked and spaces are more limited.
For drop-off only, passengers with a Blue Badge are able to access the forecourt area, free of charge, provided the Badge holder is being dropped off. There’s assistance available in all of Manchester Airport’s car parks.
Belfast International Airport
- Upgraded parking for Blue Badge holders
- Booking required for Long Stay parking space
Belfast International Airport offers upgraded parking for Blue Badge holders. Though you will initially need to book a Long Stay parking space, you can then call them (at least 30 minutes after the booking) on 028 9448 4851 to request an upgrade.
Once confirmed and upgraded, you can simply arrive and park in the Short Stay parking, which is closer and offers easier access to the terminal.
- Dedicated parking spaces
- Assistance available
Cardiff Airport has dedicated parking spaces available in both its Short and Long Stay car parks for passengers with reduced mobility, with parking charges the same in both car parks. There’s also ramp access available from the Short Stay car park to the airport terminal.
If you have require assistance or need further information, you can also call them on 01446 729329 – they have a 24-hour service team on hand to help.
- Blue Badge parking in all car parks
- Ground floor spaces for Blue Badge holders
- Ground floor help point
Glasgow Airport has Blue Badge parking spaces in all of its car parks. Short Stay Car Park 2 is the best option for passengers with reduced mobility, offering ground floor spaces for Blue Badge holders and a help point.
It also doubles as the best drop-off option, being closest to the Terminal, and all Blue Badge holders have a 30-minute, no charge drop-off and pick-up window.
- Blue Badge parking in all car parks
- Assistance button
- Assistance free of charge
- 1 hour of free access
Edinburgh Airport offers wider space parking for Blue Badge holders in all of its car parks except Mid Stay. Assistance buttons are also located close to Blue Badge parking, and assistance is free of charge.
For drop-off and pick-up, Blue Badge holders have 1 hour’s free access to any of their car parks.
It’s worth noting that at the time of writing, there are currently no shuttle buses running between the Terminal and the Long Stay car park, with a temporary walking route in place.
Interested in joining the Scheme?
The Motability Scheme offers an all-inclusive package. If you are in receipt of a qualifying mobility allowance you can use it to lease a car, scooter, powered wheelchair or Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV).
As well as having access to a brand-new vehicle of your choice, your Scheme lease also provides a worry-free package – which means that breakdown cover, servicing and maintenance are all included in the price you pay.