Sterling slide hits holidaymakers heading to Europe

Holidaymakers travelling to Europe are now getting just 86 cents to the pound at the airport.

Critics have accused airport bureaux of ‘holding holidaymakers to ransom’ and ‘cashing in’ after the pound plummeted to an eight-year low.

On the currency markets the pound is hovering around €1.08 to the pound.

But airports are paying even worse rates.

At Gatwick Moneycorp offered €0.944 for the pound as critics accused airport bureaux of ‘holding holidaymakers to ransom’

At Southampton airport yesterday Moneycorp offered travellers just €0.867 to £1.

This means that for £1,000 of spending money customers will get just €867.

At Gatwick Moneycorp offered €0.944, at Stansted €0.916 and Bristol €0.930.

The average euro rate across 16 big UK airports is slightly higher at €0.95 to £1 – down from €1 last October, according to research by travel money firm FairFX.

James Hickman, chief commercial officer for FairFX, said: ‘Holidaymakers who have left their currency to the last minute are being held to ransom by these shocking figures.

‘The pound has dipped to its lowest rate against the euro since 2009, but airports and ferry ports are adding to this misery further by offering euro rates well below parity.

‘The only way to avoid being stung is to shop around online for the best deal.’

Stansted airport (pictures) offers $1.09 for the pound, but the worst rate is at Norwich, where your £1 will only get you $1.05

Stansted airport (pictures) offers $1.09 for the pound, but the worst rate is at Norwich, where your £1 will only get you $1.05

For those planning trips further afield to America the dollar is not fairing much better, with the average exchange rates at airports $1.12 to the £1.

The worst rate on offer is at Norwich airport where ICE offers just $1.05, according to FairFX. Moneycorp at Stansted offers $1.09.

Martyn James, of complaints service resolve, said firms were ‘cashing in’ on the falling pound.

‘For years airport currency desks have been able to stitch up weary passenger with huge reductions in the actual rate of exchange – because they know you have little choice,’ he said. ‘But with the fall in the value of the pound, these outrageously stingy deals are clear to all. It’s time for tougher regulation of these businesses.’

The pound has fallen in recent weeks following stronger than expected growth in the Eurozone economy and concerns over Brexit.

Travel money companies claim that they have to charge more at the airport than online because of the significant costs associated with operating there such as ground rent, additional security and staffing the bureaux for long hours in order to cater for customers on early and late flights.