My favourite way to get to London Gatwick, my local airport, is to be driven there by my lovely husband. That doesn’t happen often (he has a very full-time job, after all) and so the next best thing for me is valet parking.
Valet parking is a splendid idea. It involves driving to the airport terminal and handing your car keys over to someone who drives your car to a secure car park and looks after it until you come back. Upon your return your car is ready and waiting at the airport for you to drive home again. Marvellous.
APH Meet & Greet Service
So when APH asked me if I’d like to review their Meet & Greet parking service I was happy to oblige. I was booked to fly to Athens for the TBEX travel blogger conference and so APH arranged for one of their drivers to meet me at the airport to collect my car before my flight.
I was confident that my car would be in safe hands while I was away. APH was established in 1980 and is a family-owned and run business. Their car park at Gatwick airport holds the Park Mark® Safer Parking award. This award is an initiative of the Associations of Chief Police Officers and aims to ensuring safe, secure parking.
Before the flight
As soon as the booking was made APH emailed me my booking confirmation and instructions on where to meet the driver. I had to give them details of my outward and return flights, car make and registration and personal contact information for their records. On the day of my flight I phoned them 30 minutes before arriving at the airport, as instructed, to confirm that I was on my way. My call was answered after one ring and the operator checked my details and reiterated where to go to meet the driver.
For me it was easy to make this call because I live near to the airport and I did it before I left home. I’m not sure how I could have made the call had I been on my own and driving from further away via a motorway. I guess I would have called earlier and explained the situation.
Leaving the car
At the airport I drove to level one of the orange short stay car park as I’d been instructed to do. There were clear signs to the APH parking area. Waiting to meet me was a man in an orange hi-vis jacket: Ian. Ian was efficient and professional and showed me his ID. I handed over my car keys and car park ticket and Ian gave me a bright yellow card with instructions on what to do on my return. He explained that I should call APH as soon as a luggage belt number is showing in the arrivals hall. Just before I set off for the check-in desks he gently asked whether or not I had any luggage to take out of my car boot. I did. Thanks Ian.
Collecting the car
On our way back from Athens (my husband and children joined me there after the conference) a week later our flight was delayed by a couple of hours and it was approaching midnight when we arrived at Gatwick. We were exhausted but luckily I actually had the bright yellow card which Ian had given me to hand. I followed the instructions which were printed on the card (phone APH when you’re in the baggage hall, go to level one of the Orange short stay car park where your car will be delivered to you) and 15 minutes after collecting our suitcases we were driving home in our car. The driver who met us (I didn’t get his name) was as efficient and professional as Ian had been a week earlier. He parked the car, handed over our keys and then hurried off to get a ticket for us to use to exit the car park.
If you’re catching a flight, Meet & Greet airport parking makes one part of the journey as easy and as stress-free as possible and that’s why I love it, especially when I’m travelling with kids in tow. I’d definitely recommend the APH Meet & Greet parking service at London Gatwick. It worked perfectly for us and the staff were efficient, professional, helpful and courteous.
Family travel lowdown
The APH Meet & Greet Service which I tried costs from £62 for eight days at London Gatwick. The price for this parking service depends on the dates when you are travelling and you can contact APH online or by phone for a quote for your particular travel dates. If you don’t want a Meet & Greet service then APH also offer other Gatwick parking options where you park your car yourself and catch a transfer to the airport. Thank you to APH for taking care of my car while I was away.