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Tips to Airport Parking

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If you are driving yourself to the airport then the chances are you will need to book airport parking. Thing is, there’s also a chance you just don’t know what type of parking to book, and what type of parking best suits your needs.

So here are tips to what type of airport parking is available, what it’s called, what sort of service you get and how the prices differ and why. All in all the ultimate guide to airport parking.

Meet and Greet Airport Parking

This type of parking at the airport is when you drive to the airport’s arri­vals/departures drop off area. It is also sometimes referred to as Valet Parking. Here you are met by the parking company driver who then takes your car to the car park for you. This leaves you to make your way directly into the airport terminal. It’s a very quick service. Avoids any hanging around. You do not need to drive to a remote car park away from the airport. You do not need to use a courtesy bus to make your way to the airport having dropped your car off.

Just like, if you were dropping off a friend at the airport, you drive right up to the airport, unload and off you go – this is what customers of Meet and Greet parking benefit from.

This type of parking is ideal for everyone. In fact most travellers, having used the service rarely use any other type of parking afterwards. It’s especially good if travelling with heavy baggage, sports equipment etc. Families find it ideal as they don’t have to worry about getting children in and out of a car onto a bus (usually the bus won’t have child seats, and it’s a case of them on your lap). Equally, the service is good for the elderly or those with limited mobility for the same reasons.

It is a little more expensive than traditional airport parking, however you don’t have to add an extra 30 – 45 minutes to your journey time as you drive straight to the airport, not an off-site car park.

Valet Parking

This is exactly the same as Meet and Greet parking – see above – it is just sometimes referred to as Valet parking.

Chauffer Parking

Again, this is simply another name for essentially what is Meet and Greet parking, as described above.

Airport Hotels With Parking

This type of airport parking is when you book your parking along with a night at an airport hotel. You drive to the hotel, you meet your parking company driver, they take your car to their car park, whilst you check-in at the hotel. You spend the night before you fly at the hotel (sometimes you can choose to stay the night after you fly back into the UK instead of the night before). The following day you make your way, usually a short walk, into the airport to check-in for your flight.

Park & Fly and Park & Stay Parking

These are other names/terms used for Airport Hotels with Parking.

On-site Short Stay Parking

On-site means the car park is in the grounds of the airport. So, if you are only away for the day then this is a consideration. However, be aware that any on-site parking is costly as you are on the grounds of the airport. The car park is usually operated by the airport.

Off-site Short Stay Parking

This car park will be located a few miles away from the airport and will be run by an independent parking firm. It will involve you driving to the car park and then using the courtesy bus back to the airport. As the car park is short stay it will be for parking for a day or two. This option of short stay parking is usually cheaper than an on-site car park but you will need to allow about an extra 30 – 45 minutes to your journey time in order to park, wait for the next available bus and the 5 – 10 minute journey back to the airport.

On-site Long Stay Parking

The On-site car park will be in the grounds of the airport. This car park is for use of a few days. Charges are higher than those by an off-site car park as you are paying for the privilege of parking on-site.

Off-Site Long Stay Parking

This type of car park is for parking durations of more than a few days, up to weeks away. The cost will be considerably cheaper than an on-site car park. Most airports have a large choice of independent car parking operators offering this service. Do be aware that by using an off-site car park you will need to use the car park’s courtesy bus to get from the car park to the airport. They usually run every 15 minutes and take around 5–10 minutes. It’s best to allow around 30–45 minutes extra to your journey in getting to the airport for check-in.

Airport Park & Ride Parking

This is actually the same as described for off-site parking, you ‘park’ in the car park and you ‘ride’ back to the airport on the courtesy bus. It’s simply a different term sometimes used to describe parking.

Top Tips When Booking Parking at the Airport

Here’s a tip – always pre-book your airport parking, and always try to book online. This way you will secure the very best prices for your parking.

  • If you book only a day or two before you travel you’ll pay more than you have too.
  • If however you are left with no choice but to book on the day you are travelling, always call the company you want to book with. Same day online bookings cannot be processed.


  • Loinel Lee

    about 4 years ago

    We Offer 24/7 Secure Parking at Gatwick Airport. We Provide both Long Term Parking at Gatwick and Short Term Gatwick Airport Parking at Lowest Prices.

  • Andrew Smith

    about 4 years ago

    With all good fortune and their novice user, I am greatly impressed by their number of options parking professionalism and staff friendliness. Found a fair value of money.

  • Mitchell Jonson

    about 4 years ago

    Gatwick International Airport is London's second largest international airport setup by air traffic and area size. The mammoth airport receives more than 30 million passengers from all parts of the world every year making it impossible for the travelers to get their cars parked in the right place.

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