My nephew called me on Friday in a tizzy because he was driving aimlessly around Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL) looking for parking. He said he had spent the last 30 minutes driving from parking lot to parking lot and they were all full. He was worried he was going to miss his flight and asked if I had any advice. I said, “My name is Johnny Jet. Of course, I have advice.” RELATED: How to Get Free Airport Parking

I’ve been meaning to write a post to share my knowledge but hadn’t gotten around to it. Well, I just returned from LAX to attend a media event for Delta Air Lines’ new Terminal 3 west headhouse. They’ve done a nice job. The event organizers offered to cover my transportation but I declined and decided to drive my car instead. I quickly realized that was a mistake. So here we are …

Airport Parking Tips

1. Don’t drive your car
Ultimately, if you can avoid driving your car to the airport altogether, then do it. Take a taxi, car service, rideshare or have a friend take you. Just don’t drive.

2. Show up early
If you must drive, then show up really early so you’re not scrambling like my nephew. There are more travelers now than ever. To give you an example, TSA officers screened 2,342,489 people at airport checkpoints
nationwide on May 30.  Last year on the same day, that number was 2,114,935. Four years ago on the same day (pre-pandemic), 2,247,421. So if you thought airports were crowded before Covid, then buckle up.

3. Reserve your airport parking spots in advance
Better than showing up early is to reserve your parking spot in advance – especially during holiday weekends. You can do this at individual parking providers, airports or Airports are warning their customers about just this. Take a look at a couple of examples from the last couple of days. Here’s a tweet from New York’s JFK Airport, “Parking is limited at #JFKAirport. If you don’t pre-book at least 24 hours in advance, you might not get a spot.”

4. Follow your airports on Twitter
As you can see from the tweets above, airport executives are keeping the general public better informed about airport conditions, including parking. In my opinion, 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. I know what you’re thinking: Why didn’t I look at it before I went out? Well, the holiday crush is over so I figured it wouldn’t be a problem.

One reason LAX’s parking lot was jammed, besides the construction, is that people are staying longer on their trips. 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 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.”

Now that you’ve caught my point, if you’re planning on parking at the airport this summer or during any other holiday, then either show up extra early or book in advance since parking is at a premium.


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