Meet and greet parking is possibly the most convenient and time saving airport parking there is. Itâs so easy that it really is just a case of driving to the airport. When using meet and greet parking, customers just drive straight up to the airport terminal where a representative of their chosen company with be there to meet them and collect their car, leaving them free to just walk into the airport terminal to check in. Unsurprisingly, meet and greet parking is very popular. In fact, due to its convenience, there has been a huge increase in the number of companies providing this service. At Gatwick, the airport estimates that there are between 50 and 60 meet and greet parking companies in operation. Unfortunately, not all these companies are reliable, and there have been horror stories in the past about cars being parked at the side of the road, instead of the secure car parks promised; cars that have been damaged; returned dirty; used for personal use; or just failed to turn up at all. The negative side of the meet and greet parking is often highlighted in newspapers and consumer programmes. However, all this achieves is to spread mistrust of the meet and greet parking industry as a whole and fails to inform readers/viewers that there are reputable companies providing airport meet and greet parking, and how they should go about finding one. Whichever airport you are flying from, here are a few good ways to spot a reliable meet and greet parking company: Contact phone numbers Donât book with a company that only provides a mobile contact number. Yes, you will need a mobile number to contact the company on the day of your flight and your return, but the company should also have a landline telephone number. A landline is a good indicator that the company legitimate and has a real office. Car parks While some companies, for security reasons, may be reluctant to give out the exact address of their car park, they should provide you with details of how far the car park is from the airport. Look for companies that have the Safer Parking ParkMarkÂ® award for their car parks. ParkMark is a police initiative and requires car parks to be inspected by the police to ensure they offer safe, secure storage for vehicles with appropriate lighting and security measures in place. Car parks that hold the ParkMark award are inspected annually to ensure the required levels of security are maintained. To check for car parks that hold the ParkMarkÂ® award visit: http://www.parkmark.co.uk/index.php Methods of payment Donât book with a company that requires payment in cash on the day. Reputable companies require bookings to be made in advance and take payments through secure online payment systems. If you book your parking with a company that only takes payment on the day of arrival, how can you be sure they will turn up? Terms and Conditions It may seem a drag, but always read the companyâs terms and conditions before booking. Buy with Confidence Trading Standardsâ Buy with Confidence scheme has now been extended to cover meet and greet parking, so always look for companies that hold Buy with Confidence. In order to gain Buy with Confidence accreditation, businesses must be vetted and approved by Trading Standards to ensure they operate in a legal, honest and fair way. To search for Buy with Confidence approved meet and greet parking companies visit http://www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk Gatwick Approved Operator Scheme To help weed out the bad from the good, Gatwick Airport has introduced an Approved Operator Scheme for Gatwick meet and greet parking companies, which only permits approved companies to operate from the airport terminal or from designated areas within the short-stay car parks. All non-approved companies must carry out car collections and returns from the multi-storey car parks. In order to become a Gatwick Approved Operator, meet and greet parking companies must meet the following criteria: â¢ Only use car parks that hold the ParkMarkÂ® award â¢ All meet and greet staff must be CRB checked â¢ All meet and greet valet parking companies must hold full insurance â¢ All staff must be uniformed â¢ All drivers must carry photo ID â¢ All company vehicles must be liveried â¢ All meet and greet operators must achieve and maintain the Buy with Confidence Accreditation. At the time of writing this article, there are nine meet and greet parking companies that are approved to operate at Gatwick Airport â the full list of Gatwick Approved Operators can be found here: http://www.gatwickairport.com/parking/other-parking-options/Operator-Scheme/
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