Holiday Tips For Valet Parking Etiquette

When dropping your car off at the airport, there are a few matters of etiquette to keep in mind for a seamless process this holiday season. Before you book Valet Connections DTW parking, there are some things to know when properly dropping off and picking up your car. In fact, these rules apply no matter where you’re getting valet parking, whether at the airport, a restaurant, or high-end hotel.

Let’s back up a bit and talk about what valet parking is. This premium service involves professionals (AKA valets) who take your keys and park your vehicle upon arrival while bringing it back around to you as you leave. This usually comes at a higher cost than standard parking rates, but many people find it well worth it for the convenience and time savings.

When enlisting the help of a valet, you avoid the hassle and stress of searching in vain for a parking space on your own. This can be a lifesaver any time of the year, but especially during the holidays or during peak travel times when spaces are few and far between. It’s also a valuable service when traveling with a large group of people.

Dropoff Etiquette

Before you leave for the airport, make sure you have clear directions to the dropoff area of the valet. This way, you can pull right up and get the process started without adding the stress of getting lost to the mix. When dropping off your car, drive right up to the valet parking counter. Give your name and reservation number, then hand your keys to the valet, who will confirm your reservation and give you a claim ticket. You will then get out of the vehicle, grab your luggage, and head inside to your gate. The valet will then get in your car and bring it to its designated spot in the garage or lot, where it will remain for the duration of your stay.

Keep the claim ticket in a safe place, as you will need it when you pick up your car after your trip. Keep in mind, the valet parking counters at airports are very busy places. They have to work quickly and efficiently to get people in and out and to keep things running smoothly. Any delays on your part will slow everything down, so have your reservation number, keys, and ID at the ready so you don’t have to waste time searching your pockets.

Upon arrival at the drop-off zone, keep an eye on other cars and the valets who are working around the area. When it’s busy, valets will be out there directing traffic, so be sure to respond quickly to those signals. Drive your car slowly into the valet area while yielding to other vehicles.

Before you step out of your vehicle, take your valuable possessions (phone, wallet, plane tickets, purse, and important documents) with you. Before you run off, make sure the valet is able to access and start your car, and makes their way off with your car. Before they jump in the car, pass on any important information they should know about your vehicle. Maybe you have a key fob that’s not very sensitive and it takes a bit more work to press the button. Or maybe you want to point out where the seat adjustment buttons are.

Here’s a checklist to keep handy upon arrival at the airport:

  • Follow directions and act quickly: When approaching the vehicle drop-off zone, drive in slowly while following the valet’s directions. Exit the vehicle with your belongings when instructed so you don’t slow down the line.
  • Leave the car running: Keep the car running, either by leaving the key in the ignition or leaving the fob in the center console. If the valet has to restart your car, this slows down the process.
  • Allow the valet to open the door: Let the valet open your doors for you. They will approach female passengers first, so wait till they are out of the car before emerging yourself.  
  • Tell the valet important information about your car: Does your car have a unique quirk? This is the time to inform the valet.
  • Save the claim ticket: Safely store the claim ticket in your wallet or purse, as losing it will slow down the pickup process when you arrive back at the airport.
  • Tip the valet: While not mandatory, tipping a valet is a courteous gesture. You should tip at both dropoff and pickup. A typical tip is $2 to $5.

Pickup Etiquette

Once your plane lands and you’ve grabbed your luggage from the carousel, it’s time to pick up your car from the valet. Here are some tips for valet pickup at the conclusion of your trip.

  • Call ahead to save time, especially if you are in a hurry. It could take 10 to 20 minutes for them to retrieve your car at busy times.
  • Wait behind other customers who got there before you, even if your vehicle is in front.
  • Check the vehicle over for any damage or any stolen items. It becomes much more difficult to prove damage once you drive away. Informing them later will only pit your word against theirs. It’s better to do a quick inspection upon pickup.
  • Tip the valet, even for free or discounted services. Just like waitresses and bartenders, valet attendants make a bulk of their income from tips. The standard amount is $2-5, but if they have gone above and beyond, or they offered special services such as assisting with your luggage, increase the tip.

Contact Valet Connections DTW Parking

We hope you found this guide to valet etiquette during the dropoff and pickup processes to be helpful. To book your reservation or learn more about our services, call Valet Connections DTW Parking at (734) 992-4946 or download our app today. Happy holidays from our family to yours!