The Challenges of Airport Parking

June 28, 2021
By Ralf Quellmalz

Airport parking serves as a significant source of revenue for many airports across the globe. No wonder it can burn a hole in traveler’s pockets. However, several other factors make airport parking a colossal nightmare for so many travelers.

As unbelievable as it may sound, thousands of people commute to and from the airport throughout the day. This considerable crowd also translates into thousands of cars that can take up space at an airport facility from a few minutes to a couple of weeks.

Most people associate airports with flying to different places. However, ‘ground side capacity’ happens to be another matter of importance for airports. The term ‘ground side capacity’ refers to the amount of traffic that the roads, parking lots, and terminals can manage on a daily basis.

While accessibility to the terminal is one of the best features of airport parking, the latter also comes across its fair share of problems when it comes to the movement of people. 

The challenges of airport parking - traffic congestions, pollution, inefficient operations


Main Challenges of Airport Parking

Many people across the world are demanding airports to increase their groundwork capacity. However, these demands are also being met with strong opposition. People living near airports tend to complain about the pollution and noise arising out of the constant hustle and fear that an increase in groundwork capacity will only worsen the problem.

If an airport doesn't meet the required ground side capacity, it can end up causing a lot of headaches for visitors, travelers, and neighborhoods nearby. Here are some common challenges that arise out of airport parking.  

Unnecessary Traffic and Huge Congestion

If an airport has limited ground site capacity, it is bound to get congested with cars and traffic in no time. The traffic coming out of and going into the area will be overcrowded. Moreover, people that couldn't find a well enough spot to park in time might even miss an important flight.

Many people from all corners of the world are demanding an increase in airport parking space. Others think that expansion will happen at the expense of the comfort and peace of the people who live close to the area.

Vehicle Damage 

Forbes has recently published an article sharing the number one reason why people should never park in airports. Surprisingly, it’s because of the damages vehicles receive while being parked at airport parking lots. The author, who is a frequent flyer, shares how he always finds his car with “dents, scratched doors, and cracked windows” after parking at airports. 

People who travel to and from the airport regularly don't like parking their vehicles at the airport. They are against the idea because they fear any future damage to their cars, and their fears are clearly not unfounded.

Scratches, dents, broken glasses, and other damages are basically an everyday thing for cars parked in the airport facility. Most people even go to the length of parking their vehicles at a nearby hotel to prevent vehicle damage.

As Forbes’ article shares, “airports don’t want people to know about this,” as parking represents 41% of non-aviation revenues for airports across the US. 

An airport traveler suffering from a poor travel experience and vehicle damage
Have you ever rushed to the terminal after struggling to find parking at the airport?


Over-the-Top Costs

As mentioned earlier, airports derive a lot of revenue from their parking facilities, so parking at the airport can be a tad bit too expensive for most travelers. Most people today still choose to go for off-site parking or taxi services instead of spending a staggering amount on airport parking alone.

It is no surprise that, as The New York Times reported, airport parking is increasingly losing money to rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft. People are no longer willing to go through the frustration of airport parking while spending unnecessary amounts of money. 

Customer Dissatisfaction 

Customer dissatisfaction is a common issue when it comes to airport parking. If you think about it, arriving at the airport and finding a place to park is the first step in the customer journey. If that first step doesn’t go smoothly, more likely than not, the rest of the journey will be troublesome. 

No one enjoys getting stuck in traffic or driving around in circles cruising for parking. This is one of the reasons why travelers in the terminal often seem agitated and not in the best mood. Their customer journey started bumpily, and it’s hard to get past that.  

Inefficient Parking for Employees Leads to Inefficient Operations

Employees at the airport are subjected to these parking problems as well. If airport employees can often waste valuable time searching for the right parking space, their duty at the airport might come to check. 

From delayed flights to insufficient security staff, bad parking can also manifest in troubles within the operation of the airport facility - all of which further impact the traveling experience for customers. 

Airport parking, it's time to redefine the travel experience
It's time for airports to redefine their parking operations to enrich the traveling experience.

Approaching a Solution to the Challenges of Airport Parking

Solutions to airport parking challenges are way more complex than they seem. Yet, there are powerful ways in which airports can tackle this problem effectively - leading to happier customers, an enhanced travel experience, and greater revenues coming from parking infrastructure. Spot is here to give a hand. 

Digitalization of Curbside

For a long time, curbs around airport facilities have been put to use for private parking vehicles. When heavy congestion and staggering traffic becomes a problem, the curb should be used for more than private parking. And all drivers, travelers, and employees should have access to real-time information about their use and accessibility. 

Digitizing the curbside is an excellent solution to parking nightmares. Following digitization, here is what airport management can do:

  1. Gather data to determine the best usage of curbside assets.
  2. Transform the gathered data into visual information so that curbside rules can adapt to changes in demand and ease traffic congestion.
  3. Share information with all stakeholders to improve the overall traveling experience. 

Digitized curbs can pave the way for intelligent and intuitive transport systems. Digitization will also hugely benefit macro trends in mobility such as CAVs (connected and autonomous vehicles), MaaS (Mobility-as-a-Service), and so forth.

Digitization in parking can allow travelers visibility of crucial information regarding parking. Digitized curbside helps prevent unnecessary air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and noise pollution, from congestion in airports looking for parking.

At Spot, we specialize in maximizing the effectiveness of curbside assets. We gather the necessary data to analyze the demand and determine how to make the most of the curb to optimize drivers’ experience, reduce emissions from congestion, and increase parking’s ROI.  

Plan Your Driving Journey Ahead of Time 

Early planning can help you evade a multitude of airport parking nightmares.

Thousands of people come in to and go out of airports regularly. At times, you will have to drive around in circles before you can locate a convenient space to park. When you can't find a space in time, you even carry the risk of missing your flight.

At Spot, we aim to simplify drivers’ parking journeys by empowering them to pre-plan their journey. By enabling drivers to know in real-time critical parking information such as parking lots’ occupancy and hourly costs, we aim to make the parking experience seamless, frictionless, and more sustainable.  

As more and more industries move towards more eco-friendly processes, the need for digitized landscapes will become more and more evident. Thanks to the availability of this information, drivers won’t have to worry about cruising around in circles before finding the perfect spot.

Two air travelers in the airport, airport parking, customer centric
Traveling should be fun and smooth! For that to happen, customer-centric solutions should be applied throughout all airport operations - including parking.

There are Plenty of Opportunities to Improve Airport Parking

Airports all over the world serve as some of the biggest reasons behind air and noise pollution. It often leads to unnecessary traffic, which in turn affects the travel experience negatively. Airport facilities will also need to become more aware of congestion problems as an aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, as air travel is already beginning to go back to normal.

Spot Parking believes in the idea of intelligent mobility and parking to ensure greener and safer cities. We believe in turning available parking data into digital information to streamline travel, helping travelers save much-needed time, and pave the way for a more sustainable future.

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