For most people they simply get in their car and drive to the taxi from gatwick to heathrow terminal 5 and park in the car park closest to their departure terminal. Whilst there is nothing wrong in choosing this approach it will come as a bit of a shock when you come to pay.
Most UK airports operate two pricing systems, namely the gate or turn up rate as mentioned above and the booked price. The difference between the two can be substantial has demonstrated by the on airport parking fee currently being applied at Heathrow for 2 weeks in August. If you book beforehand the price is 115.30 and the gate price is 235.50.
This price differential gets even worse if you were to use the short stay car park which should only be used for picking up and dropping off or if you are flying internally and returning the same day. Otherwise you must use either the long stay on the airport or an off airport parking company.
At the larger airports such as Heathrow, Manchester and Stansted there are car parks located within the airport perimeter that are only a few minutes from the terminals. These are less expensive than the on airport car park and are provide the base for Meet and Greet parking described later.
Off airport car parks are very popular due to their competitive pricing and are usually full at peak periods and to have any chance of guaranteeing a space you will need to book well beforehand. Also by booking early you will have a wider choice of car parks to select from. Pricing usually depends on the distance from the terminal with the furthest away normally the cheapest.
If you have plenty of time and quite happy to have a transfer time of up to 20 minutes these car parks offer excellent value and can be between 30 to 50%cheaper than the on airport price. These car parks can be used for both long and short stay but sometimes there will be a minimum stay price to cover the expense of transporting to the terminal and back.
The most expensive way to park is to use a Meet and Greet service whereby a chauffeur will pick up your car at an arranged location close to your departure terminal and meet you again on your return. While you are away your car will be stored in a secure car park. This service obviously cuts out the need to use a transfer bus to the terminal and is helpful in letting you get on with your journey once you have returned. A valet option is also usually available with this service.
This a hybrid option using either an on or off parking company. You simply park your car at the selected car park and then taken to the terminal by bus but upon your return your car will be waiting for you near the arrivals terminal or some other designated location close by. This is not as expensive as a full meet and greet but has the benefits of allowing you to quickly get on with your journey.
This is probably the fastest growing sector of the market. By travelling to the airport the day before you are able to take your time and travel the following morning the short distance to the airport. Your car is parking at the hotel or a secure car park while you are away.
Parking at an airport is obviously the most expensive way to park and we will take it as a given that off airport car parks by their very nature will always be cheaper and concentrate on how to obtain cheaper parking from off airport car parks.