Where Can I Park, at Airports


Where Can I Park, at Airports

USA Today used its almost infinite research resources to discover how airports help their customers find parking. You can see the results here. Researchers Roger Yu and Jae Yang gleaned information from about 30 facilities across the fruited plane (pun intended)…however missed a few like LAX, Portland,all the New York City Airports, Miami, St Louis,  but then, they did get some information so lets review it.

There are four categories — Garage spaces available signs, Web site information, signs on roadways approaching the airport, and low power radios. Interesting but not one airport used all four. 

Oh well — the goal of the article was to give show which airport gives real time information as to the spaces available and where.

As usual, the off airport private operators were ignored. And my guess is that they have space available virtually always, and at a cheaper price than the on airport lots. Once again, the traveler’s newspaper, USA Today, tells only half the story.

I received a copy of a note from and IPI member airport that was concerned that the organization’s long term plan should include information about airports and their relationship with off airport locations, stressing service, features (car washes, valet, etc), and the like to make themselves more competitive with the private sector.

As usual, the free market works. Not only does it provide better service at a lower price, it forces the public sector to do a better job. Competition works, and although those in noncompetitive industries try to do a better job, nothing whips them into shape like someone else doing the same task better.

You know the list — the post office leads the pack. but there are others. The DMV, Public Healthcare (in the UK, for example), and public owned airports spring to mind. In Europe where airports have been privately run for decades, you find some of the most advanced and beautiful facilities on the planet. However in the US we see debacles like O’Hare, LAX, and shudder, JFK. On airport parking operations are getting better. Why? Because the off airport operations are nipping at their heels.

Once again, if airports really wanted to help their parkers, they could promote the off airport parking on their web sites and the like (Phoenix and Boise, among others, already do this). There are thousands of spaces that are empty surrounding airports.  Think of the amount of congestion that would be eased if  a percentage of folks that fight to get in to on airport facilities park off airport and take shuttles to their planes. How bout if the airports didn’t make it so difficult to catch the shuttle (ever notice that the shuttle stop is "over there" and inconvenient). And finally why shouldn’t airports NOT charge off airport locations a tax for the right simply to be in business. Airports are in the airplane business, not the parking business. However now that parking income exceeds landing fees at many larger airports, they may be losing sight of their core business.

Comments anyone. Any airports out there who disagree?


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John Van Horn

One Response

  1. Don’t know if this will be of any help but when i was looking for the best airport parking deal last year, i found a site called http://www.simplyparking.co.uk which does all the comparison for on and off-airport parking for you. They also have a US site called http://www.simplyparking.com, it’s good, covers over 60 US airports (including Portland, New York etc) but isn’t as refined as the UK airport parking site. I use it all the time now, saves a lot of time.

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