We keep an eye on airport trends and creative airport amenities.
We love that Frankfurt Airport has bottle refund machines security checkpoints where passengers may turn in an empty and donate the bottle deposit to charities. As noted in FRA’s tweet, the airports has gathered 370,000 euros (about $428,000) for charities since 2013.
“Our car parks remain open, where normal parking charges apply. The drop-off charge does not affect passenger pick-ups, which will continue to take place via the car parks. You cannot pick up passengers from the drop-off zones.”
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.
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 Airport, 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.
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.
Through Wednesday, November 25, 2009, you can stop by any Travelers Assistance Info Booth at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) and pick up a free children’s book, courtesy of Cheerios and The Spoonful of Stories program. The books include: “Junkyard Fort”, by Jon Scieszka, “Tea for Ruby”, by The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, “Sleepyhead”, by Karma Wilson, “Ballyhoo Bay”, by Judy Sierra, and “What’s Under the Bed?”, by Joe Fenton.
And don’t forget that many airports around the country have opened on-site dog relief parks. The latest to open is at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), which now has a dog park with two sculptures by Doug Makemson of Commerce, GA, who says:
“The model for “Abby” was my beloved yellow lab, Abby, who was always willing to strike a pose. She had a full life and a mercifully rapid demise a few weeks after the sculpture was completed. She was the world’s best dog; I miss her. The sculpture is made mostly from parts of a backhoe and a bulldozer, and the stone is Gneiss, a type of granite, from an old quarry near Glade, Georgia. For me, “Abby” the sculpture will always make me remember Abby the dog, the most loyal friend I ever had.
You can see the sculptures – and a happy dog in the park – in this cute one minute video ATL airport posted to celebrate the opening of the dog park.
Happy Thanksgiving – more airport freebies tomorrow!