OTHER TRAVEL SERVICES
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Airport parking can be a real pain. When you are using budget airlines, the parking can cost more than the flight. You can be left standing in the rain with small kids and heavy bags, late at night when you are nearly dead after a long return journey - it can kill the holiday feeling stone dead. (Sounds familiar?)
But it can be a breeze - easy traffic, parking within easy walking distance of the check in desk, speedy payment, baggage trolleys to hand and friendly staff. Occasionally.
For discounts on airport parking please scroll down. I've linked to a few services I think are worthwhile considering, but please be aware that
airport parking services (such as Airparks) are liable to change in big or small ways, making it hard to be clear about where the best offers lie.
The quick checklist at the end reminds you of the major points to consider when selecting airport parking.
I'll try to add discounts for other travel services later - let me know if there are any you'd like me to track down.
from only £2.99/day
(best price guarantee)
3 easy steps to book online
On-site and Off-site parking
Meet and Greet option
eg. Gatwick from £4.50/day
for parking in summer, when booked in advance.
Parking at Airport Hotels
is also offered
AVOID PARKING - DON'T TAKE THE CAR!
I can't be the only one who puts this check at the top of the list!
London airports and some other airports in the UK have public transport links - although joining up public transport all the way to your home (or other departure point) can be a real challenge, unless you resort to a taxi.
Getting a lift is often the best option, assuming that a double return journey isn't more costly that the parking.
ON SITE PARKING
On site parking is not always within walking (or trolley-pushing) distance of the check in desk. Sometimes a bus journey is required even with on site airport parking - which is why the various carparks onsite tend to have different tariffs. How convenient are the on-site car parks for the terminal you are actually using? If you are departing from one terminal and returning to another, you need to juggle the options.
Don't skimp when calulating the transfer from the carpark to the check-in desk. Include: time spent doing paperwork + waiting for a bus + transit time + time to get to the desk from the bus. Also add any 'fiddling around' - repacking the car boot, explaining your car's quirks, a trip to the loo because you just can't wait a moment longer . . .
For this calculation I assume the busses will be less frequent than promised - but my attitude is coloured by very nearly missing an important long haul flight a few years ago. . .
CAR PARK ACCESS
Be clear where the car park entrance is - it could be a mile or two from where you imagine it to be.
SECURE PARKING / INDOOR PARKING / EXTRAS
A higher level of carpark security - or indoor parking - costs more, obviously. Extras, like valeting, might be worthwhile add-ons for you too.
'MEET AND GREET'?
A 'Meet and Greet' service allows you to arrive and pick up a driver, who then drops you off at the entrance nearest the check in desk, deals with the parking and then meets you in your own car when you return. Does 'Meet and Greet' save time and stress? My own experience of this has been mixed . . . better on departure than on the return leg, when we have been kept waiting longer than if we had used a bus. You still have to do some paperwork on the spot - check the details with your company. 'Meet and Greet' is not available at all airports, or from all airport parking companies.