Motorist charged £149 for a five-minute stay

Enraged motorist is charged £149 for parking for five minutes stay in an airport’s drop-off zone (and she had to pay in coins)

  • It should have cost Susanne Willdig £1 to use Bristol Airport’s express car park
  • But the machine demanded she insert dozens of coins to get the barrier lifted
  • She had parked for five minutes while dropping her sister visiting from Austria

A stunned motorist was charged £149 for a five-minute stay in an airport car park – and ordered to pay the jaw-dropping fee in coins.

It should have cost Susanne Willdig just £1 to use Bristol Airport’s express parking area as she dropped off her sister, who was visiting from Austria.

But when she tried to leave the car park on Friday, the 38-year-old found herself trapped at the exit.

Bristol Airport’s express parking area, where it costs £1 to leave your car for up to 20 minutes

Computer says no: Susanne Willdig’s picture of the car parking machine which told her to pay £149 in coins

The machine told her it didn’t accept credit cards and instructed her to insert £149 worth of coins – a rate of £1,788 an hour – to get the barrier up.

Meanwhile, a line of frustrated drivers queued behind her and her two-year-old was getting impatient in the back seat.

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Thankfully, Ms Willdig asked a friendly police officer nearby for help and he alerted airport staff.

‘He radioed around, talked to their central office and eventually they let me out,’ she said.

Ms Willdig with her sister (far left) who she was dropping off at the airport. She had been visiting from Austria

‘He reckoned the machine simply didn’t like my number plate, which is a standard plate so I’m not sure why – that’s never happened before.

‘When I finally got out, I saw a huge tailback queue which I think was caused by me being stuck there.’

Bristol Airport confirmed the issue was with the Number Plate Recognition camera system not recognising Ms Willdig’s car number plate correctly.

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