A mother has blasted Heathrow Airport’s ‘ridiculous’ parking system after being fined £80 for getting lost in the drop-off zone.
Charlotte Balfe, 28, signed up for long-stay parking at Heathrow while traveling to France with her two young daughters last month.
The mum of two paid £90 in advance to leave her car for a week and was hoping to enjoy a hassle-free trip with her husband and two daughters, then two months and one.
But when they arrived, the parents were greeted by a barrage of signs and turns – and Charlotte, from Woking, Surrey, accidentally turned into a zone where drivers charge to drop off passengers.
She told The Sun Online: “I had no idea where we were going.
“Each sign says 20 different things and you get pushed by all the taxis.
“They charge £5 to stop the car and drop someone off but I didn’t even stop, I just drove through.
“I accidentally drove up the ramp and didn’t drive down and although I drove back down quickly I was fined £80 along with a picture of my car saying you entered the drop off zone and didn’t pay. “
Charlotte, who works as a hospice nurse, received the hefty fine from private parking company APCOA when she got home.
It said she “used the drop-off zone without making a valid payment” and told her a fee would be reduced from £80 to £40 if she paid it within 14 days.
But Charlotte, who called the fine “absolutely ridiculous,” was determined to fight her case.
“I appealed and said I’m not deposing anyone,” she explained.
“I said I was looking for the car park and took a wrong turn because I’ve never been to Heathrow.
“They came back and said: ‘Unsuccessful, you went through our zone anyway, so you still owe us £80’.”
The frustrated mum now feels she has no choice but to pay the fee – and is hoping she will get the amount reduced.
But she believes the system is “insane” and is still furious at the accusation.
Charlotte said: “I’m so annoyed. I just find it absolutely ridiculous.
“I know they charge that £5 to drop someone off but it seems very dry and dry that you’re going to be fined for driving through their street.
“I didn’t go on the trail to drop off a body, it was an accidental wrong turn that cost us £80. It’s crazy!”
A Heathrow spokesman said: “The fee was introduced to prevent a car-induced recovery from the pandemic and to reduce airport traffic.
“Heathrow was the last major UK airport to introduce such a charge, with the other nine major UK airports having similar drop-off charges.
“A free drop off option is available at Heathrow Long Stay car parks where passengers can take a free coach transfer to the terminal. Both options are clearly signposted to ensure passengers are informed.”
The Sun Online has reached out to APCOA for comment.
https://www.thesun.ie/motors/8591226/mum-fined-driving-lost-heathrow-airport/ I was fined £80 for getting lost at Heathrow and accidentally driving the wrong way through a drop off zone