Last year, I wrote an article titled 5 Tips For Avoiding Airport Parking Pandemonium. There were a couple of big reasons for the pandemonium and it’s going to be the same if not worse this year.
1. More travelers
Pre-pandemic travel levels for Christmas and New Year’s have returned and there are even more travelers this year. TSA officers screened 2,437,173 people at airport checkpoints nationwide yesterday, December 16. Last year on the same day, that number was 2,233,754. Three years ago on the same day (pre-pandemic), 2,608,088. Up until a few weeks ago, this year has been surpassing 2019 numbers but they’ve dipped as of late. I think it’s a mixture of people being sick (my family falls into this category) and soaring prices.
2. People staying longer
Although there are not as many people traveling right now, their travel habits have changed. I would argue that one of the best things about the pandemic is that people changed the way they view work. Since almost everyone was forced to work from home, they got a taste of the good life, making their own hours, spending more time with their family and less time in traffic. This is the big reason the service industry is struggling to find or keep workers. Thanks to remote work, people can now extend their trips, even if it’s just by a couple of days. That means fewer parking spots than there were before as there’s not as much turnover in the spots and that greatly impacts parking inventory.
Last year, Good Morning America ran a segment about airport parking and one of the people they interviewed was Daren Griffin, CEO of Reno Airport. Darren said: “We’re back to those 2019 numbers but the airport system itself isn’t quite there yet with challenges with our labor and with consumer demand changes. We also see travelers staying longer probably because they’re working from home. Not everybody has to be back Sunday night to work Monday morning so we’re seeing cars staying here longer.”
Fortunately, airport executives are keeping the general public better informed about airport conditions including parking. I think LAX does the best job as they have a dedicated Twitter handle (@FlyLAXstats) that provides real-time statistics of parking (and traffic) every 15 minutes, 24/7.
For example, at the time of this writing (11:30 am on December 17, 2022), LAX’s $294 million economy parking facility, which is 1.7 million square feet, is showing 88% full and most people are heading out next week. Their long-term parking will definitely be full. To prove this point, I just checked what that lot looked like a few weeks ago on Thanksgiving Day. See tweet below but their numbers showed 100% full.
— Fly LAX Stats (@FlyLAXstats) November 24, 2022
LAX isn’t the only airport facing these parking shortages. New York’s JFK International Airport just tweeted: “Traveling for the holidays? It’s going to be busy. If you don’t pre-book, you might not get a spot. So travel with peace of mind and pre-book parking 24 hours in advance. To view availability and pre-book, click here.”
Traveling for the holidays? It’s going to be busy. If you don’t pre-book, you might not get a spot. So travel with peace of mind and pre-book parking 24 hours in advance.
— John F. Kennedy Airport (@JFKairport) December 17, 2022
It’s not just major airports either. Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport (STS) recently tweeted: “Traveling this holiday season? December at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport (STS) is very busy, and our parking lots sometimes fill up. Be sure to reserve parking on our website before you arrive.”
Traveling this holiday season? December at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport (STS) is very busy, and our parking lots sometimes fill up. Be sure to reserve parking on our website before you arrive. Visit: https://t.co/vJ2lpLOZSW #flySTS pic.twitter.com/oxkBctB5Q4
— SonomaCountyAirport (@Fly_STS) December 16, 2022
Pittsburgh International Airport is warning their customers too: “December is a busy travel month at PIT. Keep these tips in mind: ✅ Reserve parking in advance.
December is a busy travel month at PIT.
Keep these tips in mind:
— Pittsburgh International Airport (@PITairport) December 13, 2022
Same goes for Washington’s Dulles International Airport: “Reserve your parking in advance!! Parking is in demand. Those with reservations will be guaranteed a spot, even if the garage or lot is full. Reserve your parking here: http://reserve.flydulles.com 🚗”
Now that you’ve caught my point, if you’re planning on parking at the airport this holiday or during any other holiday, then book in advance since parking is at a premium.
Airport Parking Tips Recap:
1. Reserve your parking spot in advance. You can do it at individual parking providers, airports or AirportParkingReservations.com.
2. Check the airport website and their Twitter accounts for parking information to see how full they are in advance.
3. Arrive extra early if you’re driving, just in case you can’t find a spot or if your reservation isn’t being honored. I had this happen to me years ago and I was sweating bullets scrambling.
4. Travel on less busy days to avoid the crush. Weekends are always busier and this year, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve fall on a Saturday.
5. Don’t drive to the airport if you can avoid it. Take a taxi, rideshare, Blacklane or have a friend drop you off.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.