Marriage, Family and Airport Parking


Marriage, Family and Airport Parking

For many years, my family gave up airline travel. The purchase of a house, heavy work schedules, and two children under age 6 made a great formula for a vacation embargo. With the exception of a few road trips and some camping, we stayed close to home to save ourselves the expense and the hassle.
My kids have done that thing where they grow up overnight, so we are on the move again, and while it’s still expensive and still a hassle, at least I know they will have actual memories of the trip.
Now that we’re going places again, some of our adventures require air travel: beautiful Sedona for spring break, and Idaho, Montana and Wyoming in July. We like the wide-open spaces. This year, while in the hurricane of stress that is me packing for a long family trip, I also proofread the July issue of Parking Today. There I found information that was conveniently applicable to a decision item on my to-do list: self-park or taxi?
We live about nine miles from Los Angeles International Airport – 9 miles or 30 minutes, depending on how you want to measure it. I know people who poke fun at Californians for offering descriptions of distance as increments of time, but it would just be mean to tell someone they’re five miles from their chosen destination without clarifying that that five miles will take them an hour to traverse. 
Of course, my husband wants to drive himself to the airport. He wants to load and unload his own baggage, have some leeway in the departure time, and avoid the wild ride of the taxi. It’s about the real and implied independence and self-sufficiency of getting himself to the airport without any assistance. 
He also wants the transfer of us and our belongings from the house to the airport and back to be made as cheaply as possible. He’s already spending blah-blah dollars on airline tickets and dort-da-dor bucks on a rental car, so arriving at the airport in style is not a priority.
As is often the case in my marriage, and I suspect in others’, my wishes are the exact opposite. I want our conveyance to the airport to be as seamless as possible. Convenience is my priority. Ease is the luxury I am looking for, because it’s not like the inside of a taxi is all gilded mirrors and satin upholstery (and if it is, we are not getting in that taxi for any reason). 
I want someone else to load the car, someone else to drive, and someone else to deliver us directly to the curb in front of the sliding doors of our designated terminal. I don’t want to park in Timbuktu, wait for a shuttle and get bounced over to the terminal – a process that takes an extra 15 to 30 minutes and involves moving my luggage four times, instead of two.
Maybe I sound spoiled, but I’m not, because there is a pretty low cap on how much extra I’m willing to pay for the hairy, sweaty, scary luxury of a taxi ride. If the cost is going to be $20 more than the cost of long-term parking, I’ll do it the hard way. 
Fortunately for me, there was a graphic in the last issue of PT quantifying this scenario. The article, by Suzannah Rubinstein, was titled, “Ride-Sharing vs. Parking – Cost Comparison LAX Airport.” For my own sanity, I decided it was reasonable to apply the ride sharing numbers to a taxi ride. It showed that for our seven-day trip, which originated at a home less than 10 miles from the airport, it would cost us only $1.20 more to take a taxi than to leave our car in airport parking for the duration.
My many talking points about why a taxi would be better had not convinced my husband: (1.) We had to be at the airport at 7:30 a.m. and didn’t need to be complicating that deadline with off-site parking and intermittent shuttles. (2.) We’d be getting in at 10 p.m., and the previous talking point makes sense in reverse, too. (3.) Our children and a total of 10 pieces of luggage create a special kind of inertia that inevitably leads to annoyance, yelling and tears. (The husband and the bags never cry, but the children definitely do. And sometimes the wife.)
I showed my husband the graphic, and he was convinced immediately. He also was very, very tired of talking about it.
And what I’m saying is that a chart like that should be everywhere. Because now I know that if my trip is less than five days and/or I move somewhere that is five miles farther from the airport, I have to suck it up and park at the airport. I can live with that. 
And people who live farther away from the airport than I do will know that they should pretty much always drive themselves. Probably they already know that.
We had a lovely trip. We ate huckleberry ice cream, lit fireworks legally, saw moose, elk, and bison, rode 4-wheelers and shot guns (not at moose, elk or bison). 
And we survived the micro-burst that struck while we were floating down the Snake River and forced us on to a thistle-covered bank as lightning struck all around and marble-sized hail pelted our wet and freezing bodies. 
Our taxi rides to and from the airport were timely and uneventful. I’d like to thank Suzannah Rubinstein for her help.

Melissa Bean Sterzick is Parking Today’s proofreader, occasional writer and amateur parker. She can be reached at 

Article contributed by:
Melissa Bean Sterzick
Only show results from:

Recent Articles

Send message to

    We use cookies to monitor our website and support our customers. View our Privacy Policy