Airport Parking – a small shock

By Bob Morrell on August 19, 2019

As a regular traveller for business I am used to booking my airport parking well in advance, so I can get the car park as near to the terminal as possible, for the lowest price.  The Gatwick Airport Short Stay car parks are very convenient for me, shuttling about the UK and Europe.  However, as I book ahead, the true cost, of what I am saving, has been entirely lost on me.

As a travel agent, you often offer airport parking to your customers, knowing that forward booking makes complete sense for so many reasons, and you can use brands like Holiday Extras who make this element a quick and easy choice.

In future, if any of your customers use the objection, ‘Oh we’re months away yet, I’ll book nearer the time,” or “We’re not sure how we’re getting to the airport yet so…’ then you might like to relay them a version of this story.

Unaware of the actual, per hour price of parking, I recently took my son to Gatwick, so he could meet up with a football team and fly to Sweden for a tournament.  I parked at the Short Stay parking as I had done so many times before and we went through to wait for the team. I had to wait with him until his coach arrived to ‘take charge’. I had no choice, as he is a minor. By the time everything was sorted I had been gone from my car for an hour.

I went to the machine to pay my fee for parking only to be charged £8 for one hour, to see my son off on a trip. Sorry, is this Central London? How is that possibly justifiable? Now I could have parked further away and get a bus in to see him off - would you?  For drop-offs of children there really is little choice. What if I had been delayed? How much more money for the pleasure of using the terminal building, briefly?

To pick him up a week later! I joined the sad group of taxi drivers hanging around the BP garage sipping tea to try and minimise my time in the car park – it didn’t work though, it cost another £8 by the time we exited.

So, as these prices creep up, as they surely will, an agents ability to offer convenience and a better price for airport parking makes it seem like a complete no brainer! Why would you leave it to chance, or the last minute? Ironically, if the parking fees were less, I may have lingered in the terminal for longer and spent more in the shops – but hey-ho. The money travellers save through booking ahead, could buy you your first meal on holiday – or a round of drinks…