Posts in the category "Parking":

Free car wash at Spokane Int’l Airport

Spokane Airport car wash

It’s only Thursday, but we’re declaring the free car wash offered at Spokane International Airport the airport amenity of the week.

Opened in November – right before big Thanksgiving travel rush – the car wash at GEG is already quite popular. Complimentary for anyone who parks in the airport garages ($10/day) or on in the outside lot ($8/day), in December 889 cars got a free bath. In In January – 1,360.

Why would an airport offer a free car wash?

Airport spokesman Todd Woodard explains it this way:

“We serve a geographically diverse 80,000 square mile region that covers parts of three States and two Canadian Provinces. As a regional transportation asset, we feel a particular obligation to express our appreciation as many drive significant distances to access our air service.”

Spokane Airport car was sign

Free gifts, courtesy of your airport

I’m a big fan of free. Especially at the airport. So here are a few of the items I included in a slide show of great airport promotions that I put together for CNBC Road Warrior.

1_Fort Wayne International Airport _ Passengers are welcomed to Fort Wayne Int'l Airport with a locally-baked cookie

Volunteers at Indiana’s Fort Wayne International Airport welcome arriving passengers with a cheery greeting and a complimentary cookie baked and individually wrapped by nearby Ellison Bakery. They’ve been doing this since sometime in the late 1980s and, by December 2009, handed out their 1 millionth cookie. Don’t worry if you’re too late to get a cookie from one of the treat-toting Hospitality Hosts; there’s an after-hours self-service cookie stand.

Jacksonville Airport

On both Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, volunteers at Jacksonville International Airport hand out more than 1,000 colorful carnations to passengers.

4_Oakland International Airport parking_A  promotion at OAK offers passengers heading to Hawaii, Europe and Texas free parking.

The parking promotions at Oakland International Airport is a very nice, money-saving perk. Through April 15, travelers leaving from OAK on any airline heading to any destination in Hawaii or Europe can get up to five days’ free parking (worth up to $110) in the airport’s Daily Lot. Passengers flying to any destination in Texas can get free parking (up to $66) through April 15 as well.

Fresh parking amenities at DEN & CVG airports

DEN Airport parking

New LED signs in the Pikes Peak shuttle lot at Denver International Airport let passengers know when the next bus will arrive.

Anyone who has parked their car in an airport parking lot on a dark, cold, snowy morning and stood there wondering when – and if – the shuttle bus to the airport was coming by will appreciate the new amenity being introduced at Denver International Airport this week.

The airport has added LED display screens to the 18 parking shelters in its Pikes Peak shuttle lot (where the rates are currently $8/day) that use GPS to let passengers know when the next parking lot shuttle bus will arrive.

LED signs should be added to the Mt. Elbert shuttle lot ($8 per day) and the east and west economy lots ($13 per day) next spring, but for now travelers can find out when the shuttle bus is coming by the shelters in those parking lots via phone, text or QR codes using a smartphone.

CVG Cart

Meanwhile, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), has added courtesy golf carts that will operate daily to shuttle passengers from their car to the elevators and escalators in the terminal garage and back to their car. (The airport is also offering a discount coupon for holiday parking).

Inside CVG, there’s also a new all-access lounge – The Club at CVG – offering complimentary snacks, bar service, Wi-Fi and comfortable seating for $35 a day – no matter which airline you’re flying on- and at cost below what the airline lounges usually charge for a day pass.

The club is on Concourse A, between Gates A8 and A10 and you can get $5 off the $35 fee by using the coupon on this page. The same company also operates club rooms at airports in San Jose (SJC), Atlanta (ATL), Phoenix (PHX), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and two at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. You can purchase day passes for those clubs here.

Which airport would give this witch free parking?

witch on motorcycle - Halloween

Which airport would give this witch free parking?

The answer is: Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport (MKE), which has free covered parking for motorcycles because Milwaukee is the home of Harley-Davidson and the Harley-Davidson Museum.

How to cut costs on airport parking

valet parking iconHow often have you spent hours scouring websites for savings on airfares and hotel rooms only to get dinged with sky-high costs for parking at the airport.

If you know where to look, you can often find deep discounts, free parking and, in some cities, even get paid for parking your car at or near the airport.

Near the airport

Private parking lots with airport shuttle services ring just about every airport but can differ in price, security, convenience and added perks provided.

To get an overview of deals and discounts on lots near your airport, check comparison websites such AirportParkingReservations.com or CheapAirportParking.com.

Discount coupons for airport parking lots also can be found online, in newspapers and travel magazines, on Groupon-type sites and through membership clubs such as AAA, AARP and Costco.

Many lots will offer discounts for reserving, and in some cases, paying for your parking spot ahead of time. But even if you’re only shopping by cost, be sure the lot you choose is well-lit, secure and offers 24-hour on-call shuttle service to and from the airport because you never know when a scheduled afternoon flight arrival will end up delayed until 2 a.m.

Some off-airport parking lots compete by offering extra services, such as complimentary jump starts and tire change or inflation. Others, such as The Parking Spot, with lots near more than 20 major airports, offer customers free newspapers, bottled water and valet service.

Many off-airport lots also have frequent parker programs that offer everything from preferential spots and fast check-out to free days after a set number of paid ones.

Beyond traditional off-airport lots, many hotels near airports offer stay-n-park deals which can be both economical and convenient for early morning departures. Other options include driveway-sharing apps, such as JustPark and ParkingPanda, and peer-to-peer car-sharing services such as FlightCar and RelayRides, which let you park your car for free near an airport in exchange for making your car available for rent to another driver while you’re out of town. If your car is rented out, these companies will also give you a cut of the fee.

parking lot

 

At the airport

Revenue from parking fees plays an important part in airport operating budgets.

Airports reported making approximately $3.1 billion, or 41.2 percent of their non-aeronautical revenue, from parking and ground transportation fees, according to the most recent concessions survey conducted by Airports Council International–North America.

So while the price to park closest to the airline terminal is generally higher than at off-airport lots, many airports offer discount coupons, frequent parker programs and other perks in an effort to stay competitive.

Weekly parking rates in the garage at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, for example, are currently $130. But a quick search of the airport’s website brings up a coupon for a full week of parking, including taxes and fees, for just $99.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airpor
t, which earned $78 million from parking fees in 2013, offers early bag check-in for those parking in its East Economy parking facilities and discounts for prepaid parking reservations.

At Nashville International Airport, where parking fees represented 34 percent of the airport’s fiscal 2013 operating revenues, the frequent parker program offers fast access in an out of a reserved section and free parking days for earned points.

Sometimes what you drive or where you’re going can make a difference.

 

witch on motorcycle - Halloween

Long Beach Airport, for example, offers free parking for electric vehicles and throws in a free car wash for travelers who pay the $24 daily fee for valet parking.

Bicycles park for free at Portland International Airport, while in Milwaukee (home of Harley-Davidson), motorcycles park for free at General Mitchell International Airport.

Parking is always free at some smaller airports such as Chicago Rockford International Airport and Peoria International Airport and a promotion currently underway at Pittsburgh International Airport offers up to seven days of free parking for travelers flying non-stop on JetBlue or Southwest Airlines to Ft. Lauderdale between Nov. 1, 2014 and Jan. 31, 2015.

My story about saving money on airport parking first appeared on CNBC Road Warrior

  • Subscribe to Posts Via Email or RSS

    Subscribe Via Email
    Subscribe Via RSS
  • My USAToday Airport Guides


    • See all airport guides »

  • Posts by Category

  • Browse posts on the site by category:

  • See all categories »

  • Advertisers