A report published by consumer magazine Which? this week has revealed the dos and don’ts of airport parking when it comes to getting the very best price.
The report found that passengers who simply turn up to the airport and park their car can pay as much as three times the price of those passengers who booked their airport parking in advance.
As public transport proves to be unreliable and often too over crowded, the Which? report found that 36% of travellers drive themselves to the airport. And without pre-booking, these travellers can leave themselves ‘vulnerable’ to costly parking charges. For example, Heathrow Airport’s own car parking was cited as having extremely high prices, with fees of around £120 per week when arriving without a booking.
The report found that airport parking is often comparable to budget airlines in the sense that the cheapest parking options are available in advance – the closer the booking is made to the date of travel the more it will cost.
Another cost factor for travellers to consider, highlighted by Which?, is whether they wish to park on- or off-site – with Which? revealing that off-site is the much cheaper option.
Many travellers often get confused about airport parking terminology, so, to help clear things up, Help-Me-Park, Gatwick’s leading meet and greet car parking provider, explains below:
On-site airport parking
An on-site car park is an airport car park situated within the actual grounds of the airport itself, and usually run by the airport operator. Needless to say, a premium price is applied to parking one’s car this close.
An off-site car park is an airport car park situated a short distance from the airport, where customers park their cars and take a courtesy shuttle bus to the airport. These car parks, which are run by private car parking operators, were highlighted by Which? as a much cheaper option.
In the conclusion of the Which? report it was revealed that Meet and Greet airport parking was by far the most convenient option for airport parking.
What is Meet and Greet airport parking?
Meet and Greet parking, sometimes referred to as Valet parking, is when a customer drives directly to the airport terminal building – as you would if you were dropping off a fellow traveller. The customer is then met by a fully insured driver from the parking company who drives the car to a secure car park.
Upon return, the customer’s car is brought back to the airport terminal for collection. This service negates the need for allowing extra time to drive to an off-site car park, and then waiting for a courtesy bus back to the airport.
Valet Meet and Greet parking is especially good for families with young children, time-precious business travellers, and for those travelling with heavy, bulky sports equipment. Disabled or less-mobile passengers also benefit from the service.
When booking meet and greet parking, Help-Me-Park’s advice is to:
- Book your airport parking the moment your travel plans have been confirmed. This secures a company’s best price, not to mention the peace of mind that the parking is booked; and that’s one less thing to worry about!
- Always book airport car parking online, again this is cheaper than making the same booking over the phone
- Combine this booking online and in advance – for the very best price
- Always make sure the company you are booking with is a reputable and reliable operator – check online reviews or the AVPCA website
- Ensure the company provides fully insured, mature and experienced drivers
- Always make sure the parking operator provides a landline contact number and 24/7 contact number.