Getting to and from Luton Airport

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  • Tom Otley

    Luton Airport (or London Luton Airport -LLA) had 14.5 million passengers in 2016.

    EasyJet, Wizz Air, Ryanair, Monarch, Thomson, EL AL, Atlasglobal, Blue Air, TAROM, SunExpress, Iberia (Air Nostrum) and VLM operate from the airport, departing to over 100 destinations including services to Europe, Africa and Asia.

    The Airport is operated and developed by a consortium of which the majority shareholder is AENA, the world’s largest airport operator, and Ardian, a major European investor.

    The airport is currently undergoing extensive expansion, and transport arrangements including parking do change, but this will be updated.

    Getting there


    If driving to the airport, use the postcode LU2 9QT to get to the airport.

    Directions from the east and the A1
    Go via the A505 dual carriageway through Hitchin and follow the signs to the Airport and your chosen Car Park or Drop Off point.

    Directions from the west and the M25
    If you’re driving via the M40/M25, join the M1 and exit at Junction 10. Then just follow the signs to the Airport and your chosen Car Park or Drop Off point.
    If you’re coming via Dunstable, all you need to do is follow the airport signs.

    Directions from the M1
    Exit the motorway at Junction 10, and the Airport is just two miles away. Simply follow the signs to your chosen Car Park or Drop Off point.

    The airport does not currently have a railway station, but instead has a nearby one (Luton Airport Parkway) with a shuttle bus that takes around 10 minutes to transfer between the railway station and the airport (for an extra charge).

    Luton Airport Parkway is served by both Thameslink and East Midlands Trains

    Travelling from London or the South

    Thameslink runs from Bedford in the north to Brighton in the South and through London, stopping at stations such as Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon and St Pancras International. Trains are frequent, though for very early or late departures more like hourly.
    Some, but not all, East Midlands Trains stop at Luton Airport Parkway.
    From London they start from London St Pancras.

    Travelling from the North

    By rail the options are Thameslink (originating in Bedford) or East Midlands Trains
    From the north trains originate in Sheffield, Nottingham and Derby
    You can see the full route map here (it’s a pdf)

    Shuttle bus from the station to the airport
    When buying a rail ticket, remember to select Luton Airport (LUA) as your arrival station to get your shuttle bus transfer fare included. If your ticket is to Luton Airport Parkway (LTN), you will have to pay the shuttle bus separately. Prices are

      Single £2.10
      Standard Open Return £3.40
      Children between 5 and 15 travel half price
      Under 5s go free

    Only cash for payments – no credit cards. Unbelievable, but true.


    There are two main options from London via bus – National Express and Green Line

    National Express coach service A1 runs from Victoria Coach Station over 60 times a day. It stops at Victoria train station, Portman Square, Baker Street, St. John’s Wood, Finchley Road and Golders Green on the way there. Journey time from 1hr 5 minutes
    Prices start from £5 one-way.

    National Express
    National Express is also starting a new Paddington service from 24 July

    Green Line

    Route 757 is from Victoria Coach Station to Luton Airport

    It stops at several places on the way including Brent Cross.

    If travelling from elsewhere by bus, the National Express options are as follows
    The coaches arrive and depart from bays 4, 5, 6 and 10 situated in the front of the terminal building.

      Service 707 to Northampton, 9 times a day
      Service 737 to High Wycombe and Oxford, 8 times a day
      Service 767 to Leicester and Nottingham, 9 times a day
      Service 777 to Coventry, Birmingham up to 11 times a day
      Service 787 to Cambridge, 10 times a day
      Milton Keynes, 22 times a day

    Other bus options include
    Stagecoach service 99 runs to Milton Keynes
    Stops include Luton Station, Luton town centre, Central Milton Keynes and Milton Keynes rail station.

    A local service that runs to Houghton Regis, Dunstable, Luton Station and Vauxhall (the factory, not the place in London).

    Luton has a map of the various options here.

    Short term
    The car park closest to the airport, and the most expensive. You can pre-book rates here or pay on arrival – current rates are

      Up to 40 minutes: £7.00
      40 minutes to 60 minutes: £10.00
      1 hour to 2 hours: £14.00
      2 hours to 3 hours: £18.00
      3 hours to 4 hours: £25.00
      4 hours to 6 hours: £27.00
      6 hours to 9 hours: £40.00
      9 hours to 12 hours: £42.00
      12 hours to 24 hours: £45.00

    Every day and part day thereafter: £45.00

    Mid term
    The Mid Term Car Park is about five minutes away with a 24-hr Shuttle Bus from Bay B outside our Arrivals exit. You can pre-book for cheaper rates (link above) or pay on arrival

      Up to 15 minutes: FREE
      Up to 30 minutes £3.00
      Up to 45 minutes: £7.00
      Up to 1 hour: £10.00
      1 hour to 24 hours: £27.00

    Each additional day, or part of a day, will be charged at £27.00.


    There is a multi-storey car park at Luton with a bridge across to the main terminal where a covered walkway allows you to walk into the actual terminal building.
    Prices are

      Up to 40 minutes: £8.00
      40 minutes to 1 hour: £11.00
      1 hour to 2 hours: £16.00
      2 hours to 3 hours: £20.00
      3 hours to 4 hours: £28.00
      4 hours to 6 hours: £30.00
      6 hours to 9 hours: £44.00
      9 hours to 12 hours: £47.00
      12 hours to 24 hours: £50.00

    Multi-storey car park

    Long term
    The Long Term Car Park is a ten-minute trip on the shuttle bus to and from Bay A outside arrivals. You can pre pay. The current pay on the day price is £25.00 for the first day and £21.00 for each subsequent day or part of a day. It is free for up to two hours.

    Priority Parking
    Priority Parking is Luton airport’s name for its Meet and Greet service.
    All cars are parked under cover in the multi-storey car park on the second floor. You drop off your car there, and when you return it is waiting for you.
    Then just follow the signs for the Multi-Storey Car Park.
    Priority Parking is on Level 2 of the Multi-Storey Car Park with access to the departure terminal building via the link bridge and lift.
    Priority Parking

    Picking up and dropping off
    Luton aims to make money from picking up and dropping off passengers. The charge for a simple drop-off for instance is £3 for 10 minutes and £1 per minute afterwards.
    Drop Off closest to the terminal building

    It is possible to drop off for free by using one of the car parks, but then your passengers will have to use the shuttle bus.

    Pick up for free

    An £80.00 enforcement charge is payable by drivers who stop their vehicles to pick up passengers on the approach roads, roundabout, or bus lane leading up to the airport terminal. This is enforced using mobile CCTV cameras.
    Please pick up responsibly


    I suffered the horrendous car parking charges at Luton the other week. Is this the most expensive airport car park in the UK… ?

    Tom Otley

    I’m not sure, but it must be close.
    I dropped off my daughter and used the multi-storey because I wanted to have a coffee with her before she left and help with the bags.
    We managed this in under an hour but it was £11. I’ll add the prices above.


    Martyn – LTN isn’t the most expensive by a long way.

    As others have noted previously the rates at LCY must be amongst the highest in the UK.

    How about £13 for 30-60 mins in the short-stay car park.

    Or £51 for eight to 24 hours in the long-stay park.

    Tom Otley

    I might start a new thread on the most expensive car parking in the UK

    The drop off doesn’t count as parking because you can’t leave your car (well, you can, but it will be towed away and possibly exploded), but the price is £3 for 10 minutes and £1 per minute afterwards!

    Drop Off closest to the terminal building
    £3.00 for 10 minutes
    £1 per minute thereafter
    Pay by card (no card fees) or coins


    The best, and only cheap way to get to Luton airport, is to fly there.

    Tom Otley

    Funnily enough, someone from the Sunday Times must have been listening

    Parking at Luton? That’ll be £98, please

    The piece says that a week (in the long stay) costs £98 which is the highest at any of the UK airports – up to 165% more than its rivals.

    “We looked at the second week in August — peak summer-holiday season — and found that the airport’s passengers were being charged £97.99 for a week in a distant corner of the airfield from which three buses an hour take 10 minutes to reach the terminal. At Liverpool, where you can leave your car a six-minute walk from the terminal, the price was £36.99. Luton was more expensive than Gatwick (£83), Heathrow (£83.60) and even London City, where parking fees are often absorbed by business travellers’ expense accounts (£88).”


    I suspect the Sunday Times based its car parking prices on holiday rates which require advance booking and you will probably be unable to make changes without incurring penalties.

    The prices I showed for LCY were based on turn-up rates with no advance booking. As a business airport that is what I believed most business people would be using.

    If you were to compare the turn-up long-term parking rates at LTN with those at LCY then a different picture emerges.

    LTN (according to its website) charges £27 for the first day in the Mid-Stay park with each additional day priced at £27. Its long-term (which is farther from the terminal than at LCY) charges £25 for the first day and £21 for each additional day.

    What about LCY ?

    In truth I was staggered by the long-term parking cost for seven days.

    It is a hefty £357 (three hundred and fifty seven pounds).


    The reason airports in the UK can charge such nonsensical rates for drop off etc is because they have no decent rail connections….

    Tom Otley

    Well that’s certainly true of Luton. The train only takes you so far, and then it’s the bus….

    I travelled from there last week, and caught the train and then the bus up to the station.

    When we came out of Luton Airport Parkway a man with a Spanish accent (in uniform) shouted at us to get in two queues. One was for pre-paid tickets, one was to buy tickets. Or so we thought. It turned out his machine was broken, so anyone who thought he was the one selling tickets was in the wrong queue. He was just checking tickets and shouting. The other employee was selling them. And of course, they don’t take credit cards, only cash.

    The bus is one of those bendy ones and has doors at the front and halfway along, so we formed two queues. Only the front doors opened, however, despite us all now having tickets. So everyone went to the front door. The other employee then shouted “door, door” and the middle door opened. So then there was pushing and shoving to get on as the two queues divided and then went against one another. The driver had parked a few feet from the kerb so people twisted their ankles during this and struggled to get their luggage onboard. Once there, most couldn’t lift it onto the racks and so dumped it on the bottom rack, so it ran out of room quickly.

    The bendy buses are good for getting a lot of people on, but very uncomfortable if you are standing, as most of the passengers were. Initially it’s a very winding route out of the car park and through those roundabouts so passengers fell over their luggage. Drop-off was better than a few weeks ago, however. Construction work is continuing, but getting off the bus wasn’t as bad as it was last time, when a weird gate system left many passengers jammed and unable to move away from the bus and up to the terminal.

    When we landed on Sunday evening we got a taxi. It cost him £3 to access the drop-off and pick-up area. Every minute after that is £1, so like thousands of cab drivers he parks in neighbouring residential estates until we call him to say we are out of the terminal. The drop off and pick up area is made up of a big loop with places to stop on either side. Drivers come into this loop and then all stop on the first half of it, meaning car back up, and the second half of the loop is empty, mainly because no one can get to it because of slow moving traffic.

    I am next back at Luton, for the fifth week running, to pick up my daughter. I am going to try and avoid a charge for doing this. I will let you know how it goes.


    Cars are being vandalised and daubed in graffiti by a disgruntled resident near Luton Airport after their owners allegedly parked them on a residential street for three weeks to avoid airport parking fees.

    Locals on a street in Luton, Bedfordshire, have taken pictures of the Range Rover, which is one of two with its windows smashed.

    Another car, which appears to belong to a London-based window tinting business, is also covered in white paint which reads ‘selfish git’ and ‘this is not airport parking’ spread across the windscreen.

    People are taking the law into their own hands. A few months ago I dropped off a parcel at the house of a friend who lives close to LTN airport and as I walked away from my car one of the residents of the street came over to me very aggressively and rudely to ‘warn’ me about parking my car there. He only calmed down when I explained that I was only going to be there for an hour. I do say I have some sympathy for people in his situation. I used to live near a very popular beach and often found my driveway blocked, or even occupied, by beach-goers.


    There are no doubt fellow poster’s who will think I am crazy but at Present due to where I live, my current travel pattern and airline of choice, Luton is my preferred airport.

    It is by no means perfect but what UK airport is and there is currently a lot of disruption due to the modernisation work being done both outside and inside the terminal but when it is completed I believe that the experience for passengers will improve as well.

    I do not use the parking as I travel to Luton using the train or a mini cab depending on the time of departure or where I am leaving from to get to the airport. I am currently based near St Paul’s and so the Thameslink service will get me to Luton in around 45 minutes or a cab from my home takes around 30 minutes if I have an early morning departure.

    The associated costs of getting to the airport are more than covered by the savings I make on the fares that I pay compared to what I used to pay to travel from Heathrow or London City. Both those airports take much longer for me to get to.

    I realise that for many people due to a variety of reasons Luton will never be their airport of choice but for me, and I do agree with the content of many of the above posts, Luton pretty much does what it says on the tin.


    A cheaper way to park at Luton Airport, is to park in a car park not at the airport. If the Thaneslink website is correct, you could park at the multi-storey car park at Luton railway station at a rate of £5.10 per day. A fortnight would cost £71.40. You could take the train down to the Luton Airport Parkway, or I would suggest catching the local A bus to the airport which does not require a change from train to bendy bus and drops you close to the terminal entrance.


    I was happy with the Kings Cross to Luton Airport Parkway train + bus when I used the airport last Summer but it wasn’t raining. At the time there was no covering between the bus exit point and the airport entrance. It it has been raining I would have been drenched. Is it still the case that there is no cover between the bus exit and the airport?

    Tom Otley

    Yes, that is still the case.

    Update on the bus…

    Thameslink makes it even easier to reach London Luton Airport by train
    Govia Thameslink Railway is to boost the number of shuttle buses running between Luton Airport Parkway railway station and London Luton Airport by over 200 services a week making it even easier for passengers to travel by train.

    The company already runs up to seven of its Thameslink trains an hour from St Pancras International to Luton Airport Parkway.

    Now, from Sunday 5 November, the current 6 minute peak-time frequency of the shuttle buses used for onward connections will be extended throughout each day until 9pm, increasing the off-peak timetable by four buses an hour (from 10 minute frequencies to 6 minute frequencies).

    The 230 extra services each week will be achieved by increasing the fleet from five to seven, with two additional Mercedes Citaro buses. Govia Thameslink is already recruiting and training the new staff.

    Thameslink and Great Northern Passenger Services Director Stuart Cheshire said: “By increasing the number of shuttle buses between the airport and our station, we’re making it easier than ever to reach London Luton Airport, supporting the local economy and providing fast, sustainable connections with population centres as far afield as Brighton, Bedford and, of course, London.

    “It’s all part of our plans to modernise the railway, with a new fleet of cutting-edge Thameslink trains that are already in service and, from next year, more frequent services to and from the capital.”

    Jonathan Pollard, Chief Commercial Officer at London Luton Airport commented: “Excellent rail links to and from the airport are absolutely essential to the airport’s on-going transformation and future success. The expanded shuttle service with more capacity for passengers is a welcome addition in satisfying the ever-increasing demand for quick and easy connections between the terminal and major towns and cities up and down the rail line.”


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