Using your car to travel to and from an airport is a great factor for a stress-free holiday. You don’t have to stick to public transportation schedules, carry your luggage, or pay the high price for a taxi ride. The only problem of driving to the airport in your car is what you are supposed to do with it once you’re there.
Airports offer parking spaces you can use for weeks. Being so close to the terminals, this is a great option. On the other side, more and more off-site parking providers are accumulating around airports to offer their services. What differentiates the two, and which is the best option?
You could simplify the definition and say there is no difference, both services allow you to park your car for extended periods, where it will be safe and cared for, while you are travelling. Seeing that both providers are competitors, of course, things aren’t white as simple. On- and Off-Site Parking offers us different services to make their options more attractive to us.
Airport parking has two big benefits, which might be counted as one. Their service is:
affiliated to the airport, which makes it trustworthy and familiar
the closest parking to the terminals, which makes it readily available and convenient.
If you don’t have to watch every penny you spend, you just arrive at the airport, pick a parking space close to your terminal, park there and are at your destination in less than 5 minutes. The proximity and connection to the airport make people very aware of this parking option, and it is much more comfortable to just choose on-site parking instead of looking for the cheapest option and the best service.
In turn, this comfort comes with a higher price and less availability. Parking spaces can be hard to get in high-traffic times, which also makes navigating to and from the parking lots time-consuming and annoying.
Since the airport parking has better starting conditions, simply because of the convenience factor of being so close and affiliated with the airport, it is on the off-site providers to set themselves apart from the on-site parking. Take a look at the possible options for parking at Manchester Airport, for example. On sites like these, you can compare the many providers, their services and fees.
The biggest contra is the distance between some parking spaces and the airport. You could also argue that it is what makes their good prices possible.
The big pro for off-site parking is the price factor. Keep in mind that, while some airports have included some of the following benefits, the same service comes for lower prices at off-site parking lots.
Parking spaces that are farther away cost less money since they have to compensate for the distance you still have to travel to your actual goal. The further away the parking lot is located from the terminal, the cheaper the prices will be. While you might count the distance as a negative factor, the off-site parking services include free transportation to the airport, reducing the supposed complications of a faraway parking space significantly.
Like in any competitive business, the providers offer loyalty programs and coupons to attract customers. A quick Google search can usually show you a promo code or two.
The providers offer you the ability to reserve a spot. This way, you will never arrive at the parking lot and have to count on luck to get a good or just any space.
The staff of off-site providers is typically well-trained, friendly, and helpful, to give the customers their best experience. You will have an easy time finding a willing staff member to help you with the process or destinations.
The premium service of off-site parking providers is the valet service. This way, you can drive right to the terminal and hand your car over to the valet, who will drive the car back to the “faraway” parking space and return it to you when you land. You yourself don’t have to worry about anything parking related.
Less costly but still a great service is the shuttle transfer from the parking space to the airport. The providers offer well-filled schedules of shuttle busses that pick you up at the parking space and transport you to the terminal, and back. This way you can make full use of the distance and accompanying cheaper prices, with little drawbacks. Typically, none of these parking lots are more than a 20-minute shuttle ride away.
Do keep in mind, though, that airport parking in the pandemic might look different since providers aren’t allowed to transport as many people at the same time.
It’s hard to leave your car in the hands of somebody else and not worry about its safety. Off-site parking providers employ security guards to make sure the cars stay where they are and remain unharmed.
On-site airport parking is a very convenient solution. The proximity and familiarity make it an easy pick when you want to leave your car in trustworthy hands. On the other hand, this service comes at a high price. Off-site service providers might be less familiar and farther away, but they make up for these factors with affordable prices and great service. The next time you travel, make sure to compare both the service and prices of any parking options at and around an airport.