July 28, 2008

The INS and Outs of Parking at D/FW

When you are short on time, don't let parking issues cause you to miss a check-in deadline.

Several valet parking services are available at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, and the cost is small compared with missing a flight.

Rates average $24 per day, but valet parking is a better option than spending precious vacation days waiting for another flight. This is especially true for families or groups traveling during busy periods such as summer and the holidays. The challenge of finding four seats on another flight is substantial.

Valet parking may be expensive, but it's convenient. Instead of the game of "musical terminals" that comes with gate parking, the valet keeps abreast of gate changes and will meet you outside your landing gate.

The first time I used valet service, I circled the airport for 30 minutes before parking in a one-hour spot so I could check in on time. After I had a boarding pass, I spotted a valet. He parked my car while I went inside to catch my flight.

For those who choose to self-park, the D/FW Web site allows travelers to check parking availability. This will save time, and it comes in handy if you need to park when picking someone up at the airport. See www.dfwair port.comarking.

Wherever you decide to park, check for online coupons and promo codes before leaving home. Currently, The Parking Spot is offering discounts at its off-airport locations near D/FW. Save 20 percent to 30 percent at DFW South and 10 percent to 20 percent at DFW North. The discount is valid through Sept. 18 but can't be used for on-airport valet service. See www.theparkingspot.com.

Another option for travelers who are leaving early in the morning or arriving late at night is a hotel stay that includes parking. Some hotels near the airport offer free parking, usually for up to a week, with a one-night stay.

The Grand Hyatt DFW and the Hyatt Regency DFW, which are at the airport, offer Park-Stay-Fly packages with parking for three to seven nights. The DFW Marriott Solana offers up to 14 days of self-parking and a free shuttle to the airport with a one-night stay. Nightly rates start at $154.

For information on airport valet service, contact The Airport Valet at 972-313- 2500 or www.theairportvalet .com, FreedomPark at 972-252-2500 or www.freedomparkdfw.com, The Parking Spot at 972-915- 3672 or www.theparkingspot .com and DFW Airport Valet at 972-574-2407 or www.dfw airport.comarking/valet .php.

Although the DFW Airport Valet does not require reservations, the other services request three to four hours' notice, although they may be able to serve you in less time. If you are stuck in traffic, call one of them.


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