Ed Perkins Tips his Hat to Airport Parking Reservations

Ed Perkins of the Tribune Media recommends Airport Parking Reservations in his Dec 13 column. He also has some good ideas about other ways to save time when you travel.

“Driving to or from a big airport during the holidays doesn’t have to be a problem. A bit of planning can help you avoid unexpected “full” signs at parking lots and some traffic hassles.

Here’s an update of my annual check.

Public transport: Where good public transit is available, it’s usually the most reliable way to get to and from a big airport. The best options are at the handful of really big airports served by a convenient rail system: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago (O’Hare and Midway), Cleveland, Minneapolis, New York (JFK and Newark), Philadelphia, Portland, Ore.; San Francisco, St Louis and Washington (Reagan National). The Web site Airport Ground directory provides links to public transit services available at most important U.S. airports.

Alternative airports: One of the great advantages of a small secondary airport, such as Long Beach (for Los Angeles) or Manchester, N.H. (for Boston), is much easier and cheaper parking, and much less congested access. Consider using such an airport at either end of your trip, provided you can find good fares and schedules.

Reserved parking: Several online sites allow you to reserve (and prepay) parking at off-airport sites near many big U.S. airports. All of those lots include shuttle service to and from the airport terminals; some offer a choice of self-park or valet parking; some feature discount promotions; some provide for optional service on your car while it’s parked. Most such lots are within 2 or 3 miles of the terminal. Most also claim lower rates than you find at the official on-airport long-term lots — a claim that appears accurate at most places, but not all.

Airport Parking Reservations
As far as I can tell, most of these sites solicit listings from parking lots and earn fees for online bookings. Many local lots obviously list themselves on multiple sites, but there are some differences. If you don’t find what you need through one site, by all means check out one or two of the others. When I checked in early December, several lots already showed “sold out” for the holiday season.

Hotel-parking packages: If you usually drive to your local airport — and it’s a long trip — you might consider staying the night before your departure at an airport-area hotel that offers extended parking as part of a package. I know of three online sites that arrange parking packages at airport hotels:

– Park Sleep Fly
has led the field for many years, with options at some 100 larger airports in the United States and Canada plus a handful in Europe; it also promotes comparable packages near a few major cruise ports.