How Does Airport Parking Work?

blog image John Doe | 06/16/2023

In this comprehensive guide, we will answer the most common questions about airport parking and provide valuable insights for a hassle-free parking experience.


How does airport parking work?

When it comes to airport parking, there are typically two options for passengers and travelers driving themselves to the airport. They can either park at the airport itself or opt for parking at a nearby airport parking service provider. The latter option offers convenience and sometimes cost savings, depending on the location and services provided by the parking provider.


What type of parking is offered at the airport?


Airports generally offer a range of parking services to cater to different needs. These services may include self-parking, valet parking, parking for the handicapped, electric vehicle (EV) parking, and discounted parking for military personnel and veterans. By providing these options, airports aim to accommodate diverse parking requirements and ensure a seamless experience for all passengers.


How much does it cost to park at the airport?

Parking fees at airports vary, but the fee structure typically involves an hourly rate until a maximum daily rate is reached. The maximum daily rate is charged every 24 hours. Additionally, airports often implement incremental parking fees within the first hour, such as charging by increments of 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or 1 hour until the maximum daily rate is reached.


Moreover, airports commonly have a grace period of around 15-20 minutes to account for the time it takes for travelers to find available parking or move to another parking area if needed.


When are airport parking fees paid?


Airport parking fees are typically paid at the end of the trip when travelers return to the airport. As passengers exit the parking garage or parking lot, they will be charged based on the hours and days accumulated during their parking stay. The daily rates can vary significantly depending on the airport, the specific parking area, and whether the parking was at the airport or in proximity to it.


Do I need to reserve airport parking?


While it is not mandatory to reserve airport parking, it is highly recommended. Making a reservation allows you to secure a parking space for your trip and often results in cheaper rates compared to drive-up parking. Many airports across the United States now offer airport parking reservation systems, which can be accessed through the official airport website. Additionally, off-site airport parking providers also offer online reservations through their websites or by calling their designated number.


What is short-term airport parking?


Short-term airport parking refers to parking that is needed for a brief duration, ranging from a few minutes to a few hours or less than 24 hours. Common types of short-term parking available at airports include cell phone waiting lots, valet parking, and terminal parking. These options are designed to accommodate passengers who require parking for a short period, such as those picking up or dropping off travelers.


What is long-term airport parking?


Long-term airport parking caters to travelers who need parking for the duration of their entire trip. This typically includes overnight parking and can extend to weeks or even months. The most common types of long-term parking at airports include terminal parking, economy parking lots, hotel airport parking, and off-site airport parking. These options are suitable for travelers who require extended parking and offer different benefits in terms of cost, convenience, and proximity to the airport.


What is an economy airport parking lot?


An economy airport parking lot is an uncovered parking area that is usually secured and accessed through a gated ticketing system. These lots are typically managed by the airport or entities closely associated with the airport or local transportation authority. Economy parking is primarily intended for longer parking stays and offers lower daily rates compared to other options. However, economy lots are located farther from the airport terminals and often require shuttle service. Travelers opting for economy parking should adjust their arrival time at the airport accordingly to account for the additional time needed to park and catch the shuttle to the terminals.


What is a cell phone waiting lot?


A cell phone waiting lot is an area designated for airport visitors who are waiting to receive word that the person they are picking up has landed. These lots are typically free or have very low parking fees. It is important to note that cell phone waiting lots do not allow overnight parking and usually have restrictions on commercial vehicles.


Can I reserve airport parking ahead of time?


Yes, airport parking can be reserved in advance. Many airports have implemented reservation systems to facilitate the booking process. To check if your local airport offers this service, visit the official airport website and look for the parking information in the navigation menu.


In addition to reserving parking directly through the airport, you can also make reservations with off-site airport parking providers. These reservations can be made by calling the parking service's number or visiting their website. Many independent lots, airport hotels, and third-party reservation sites like offer online reservation options for airport parking.


What is the closest parking at the airport?


Terminal parking is the closest parking option to airport terminals. These parking structures are typically numbered, named, or identified by specific letters and are accessed through a gate using a ticketing system. Most terminal parking areas are covered and offer amenities such as handicapped parking, valet parking services, premium parking spaces, and electric vehicle charging stations. While terminal parking is convenient, it can be crowded depending on the airlines operating at the closest terminal gates. It is advisable to check the local airport website for dynamic parking space availability information.


How can I save money on airport parking?


There are several ways to save money on airport parking:


a) Consider off-site parking: Independent parking lots near the airport often offer competitive rates. Ensure that the lot includes free airport shuttle services to and from the airport, as transportation costs can offset any potential savings from daily rates.


b) Look for coupons and promo codes: Many independent parking lots and garages provide coupons that can further reduce parking fees. Check if the lot you are interested in has any active coupons or promo codes available.


c) Use third-party reservation sites: These sites allow you to compare the daily rates of multiple airport parking services simultaneously. They negotiate rates with parking providers and often offer better deals than direct bookings. Recommendation:


d) Explore park-and-fly options: If you plan to stay at an airport hotel, check with reservation sites to see if they offer park-and-fly packages. These packages usually include overnight parking at the hotel and transportation to the airport. In many cases, the price quoted on reservation sites is lower than the overnight parking fee at the hotel.


How does off-site airport parking work?


Off-site airport parking, also known as "park and fly" or "park, sleep, and fly," is a popular option offered by many airports. It involves parking your vehicle at a local hotel or independent parking facility near the airport for the duration of your trip. The cost of off-site airport parking varies depending on the location but is generally cheaper than parking directly at the airport, especially for extended stays.


How long can I park at the airport?


The maximum length of parking stays at airports varies depending on the airport and the specific parking area. In general, airports allow passengers to park for up to 60 days. However, it is crucial to check the regulations and policies of the airport you are using to ensure compliance with their parking duration guidelines.


By understanding how airport parking works, the different types of parking available, and strategies to save money on parking fees, you can have a more convenient and cost-effective parking experience. Whether you choose to park at the airport or opt for off-site parking, planning ahead and exploring various options will help you make the best choice for your travel needs.