Airport fines 'anxious' driver who stopped for 33 seconds to 'prevent a panic attack'

Airport fines 'anxious' driver who stopped for 33 seconds to 'prevent a panic attack'

Watch: Parents whose kids miss a week or more of school face increased fines

GB News
James Saunders

By James Saunders

Published: 25/03/2024

- 11:56

'I've cried every time I’ve spoken to them... I feel like the airport staff I spoke to are not human', Sarah Cain said

Bristol Airport has been slammed for fining a customer who pulled over by a car park for just 33 seconds to prevent a panic attack - who said dealing with its support staff left her in tears.

Sarah Cain, from Saltash, Cornwall, had made the two-hour drive from her home to Bristol Airport alongside her husband and 16-year-old daughter for a trip to Berlin in December.

The trio had booked a space in the airport's long-stay parking - but arrived to find it closed, and were unable to find the right car park.

As they searched for the correct spot, Cain claims she nearly had a panic attack, and pulled over at an exit to the short-stay car park for 33 seconds to gather her thoughts - for which she was slapped with a fine.

Sarah Cain/Bristol Airport Short Stay car park

Sarah Cain had only stopped for 33 seconds by the short-stay car park to prevent a panic attack


Despite trying to appeal the penalty, Cain said her experience with the airport's support staff was like "talking to robots".

She said: "I feel it is very unfair since it was only for 33 seconds to calm myself down and to prevent a panic attack.

"I was not told of the car park change and when I arrived, the car park I should have been in was boarded off. It made everyone very anxious not knowing what to do and worrying whether we’d miss our flight.

"It was such a big day for us, as my daughter was unwell, and this gave her something to look forward to... Everything was overwhelming and I needed to catch my breath."


Bristol Airport

Cain said she felt like the Bristol Airport staff she spoke to were "not human"


Cain said she and her family had enjoyed their holiday to Berlin, but received the fine upon their return; despite attempting to explain the situation, she said the airport "was not interested and didn’t acknowledge the circumstances... It was like talking to robots".

She had received an initial fine of £60, but this was then ratcheted up to £170 - over £5 for each second stopped - which Cain later paid.

Despite complaining to the airport, she said she was still waiting for a reply; Cain said: "It comes to something if you can’t be given 33 seconds' grace when you are doing what you believe is safest for everyone.

"I've cried every time I’ve spoken to them... I feel like the airport staff I spoke to are not human."

A Bristol Airport spokesperson told GB News: "Last summer, we began work on our £60million Public Transport Interchange and multi-storey car park. During the project, we've temporarily relocated some car parks.

"We attempted to contact any customers with affected advanced bookings several times to let them know their new arrangements. We've also installed new directional signage and added maps and information to our website.

"All of the internal roadways at the Airport have experienced a longstanding issue with vehicles stopping in unsafe areas. This poses a high risk to the safety of our customers, colleagues and business partners and causes delay and congestion to other road users.

"Signs across the site further underline the message to all customers. Drivers breaking the rules may face charges which will be enforced through a combination of fixed cameras and mobile patrols, and when the evidence clearly shows customers stopping on double red lines or in clearly unsafe areas."

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