Top Off-Site Airport Parking Headaches

…and How to Avoid Them

If you are considering booking off-site airport parking before your upcoming trip, this is a perfectly fine option. However, it’s important to be aware of the most common off-site airport parking inconveniences so they don’t happen to you. First and foremost, you should reserve valet parking well in advance. This is the best way to avoid stress when traveling.

No doubt about it, parking off-site is one of the most cost-effective ways to park your vehicle when flying from any airport, including DTW. However, if you’ve had a not-so-great experience with another company or you’re hesitant to try off-site parking, we want to put your mind at ease.

Don’t let these reasons make you miss out on some big savings. Here are the top airport parking mistakes that sap your strength and drain your wallet. Heed these tips to stretch your travel budget and make sure you don’t stress out when you should be relaxing.

Oversold Spaces

This is actually quite a common scenario. Parking lots oversell their spaces to guarantee they won’t be stuck with no-shows. But on a good day, when everyone shows up, you can guess how stressful this can be to those who have paid for parking yet don’t have a space to show for it. This can no doubt start your trip off on the wrong foot. Now where will you park? And will you get your money back?

Time is of the essence, and you don’t need the added hassle of scrambling to find airport parking at the last minute. Even worse than that: you are faced with paying a pretty penny for that last-minute parking that wasn’t even your fault, to begin with.

Why does this happen? Oversold lots actually happen quite a bit on peak travel days, such as holiday weekends, February and April vacations, spring breaks, etc. Parking lots find it challenging to keep track of the spaces they have sold, especially when working with many third-party reservation sites. This leads to parking lots accepting more drive-up parking customers than they really should. It’s also tempting to do this because last-minute parkers desperate for space are more willing to pay a premium, far over what you initially paid.

You can prevent this from happening to you by:

  1. Booking with a larger, more reputable parking lot chain because they have better parking space tracking procedures. Additionally, they value their online reputation and customer ratings and as such, are more willing to appease parking guests due to an oversight on their end. After all, they want to keep their loyal customers happy more so than make a quick buck.
  2. Giving yourself plenty of time to get to the airport. Allow an extra half hour to navigate an alternate parking solution if you run into a snafu with your reservation.
  3. Having a plan B in place, especially if parking on peak travel days.

Long Shuttle Waits

This is the most annoying thing about parking at an off-site lot: waiting around for your ride to the terminal. Sure, you could hoof it, but that eats up valuable time and energy, and who has that when stressing about making a flight? Most airport parking lots, including Valet Connections, offer complimentary shuttles to and from the terminals. However, not all of them have punctual shuttle times.

Prompt shuttle times took a serious hit during COVID thanks to social distance restrictions and staff shortages that impacted the customer experience. As we emerge into a post-COVID world, parking lots are making adjustments to get their shuttle times back up to speed.

You can speed up your parking experience by:

  1. Giving yourself plenty of time to not only catch a shuttle but wait till it reaches your particular terminal.
  2. Doing your research and calling the lot ahead of time to see what the current shuttle times are. Ask if the parking lot attendants anticipate the wait times to be longer or shorter during the time you will arrive.  
  3. Calling ahead of time if you’re flying after hours. Even lots that say they have 24/7 shuttle service can be running behind or relying on a skeleton crew at 2 a.m.
  4. Asking your attendants if they offer an app so you can rely on technology to track shuttle times. Download the Valet Connections app that allows you to see exactly what your wait times are with our shuttle tracker.

Dings and Dents

No one wants to return from a long business trip or Disney visit to find their car has suffered a smashed light, a ding on the driver’s side door, or a dent on the bumper. You trusted your parking lot attendants to protect your vehicle, and they failed. This can happen whether you self-park or use a valet service. Sometimes accidents just happen.

Your parking provider may claim they aren’t responsible for these acts. You can avoid this headache by:

  1. Taking photos of your car inside and out before you leave for your trip to establish a baseline.
  2. Reading the fine print so you know the lot’s policy beforehand.
  3. Calling ahead to see how big their spots are. Many lots have small spaces and pack the cars in like sardines.
  4. Choosing covered parking lots instead of open-air lots. Dings can still happen from other cars parked close by, but at least your car won’t be at the mercy of the weather, birds, debris, etc.

Contact Valet Connections DTW Parking

We hope you found these tips helpful as you plan your DTW airport parking. By planning ahead, you can avoid the headaches that typically come with off-site parking. To book your parking spot, contact us at (734) 992-4946. We are located close to Metro Detroit Airport, giving you affordable and convenient airport parking for long- and short-term flights.