I’ve had some horribly early flights recently and I’ve tried various options to see which is the least grim way to get to the airport at times when I really should be fast asleep in bed.
When we went on a family trip to Croatia at Easter we had to check in at London Gatwick at 4.50 am. We stayed at an airport hotel the night before and that worked pretty well – you can read my review here.
Getting to the airport
When I went on a press trip to Ikos Oceania in Greece in April the flight was also from London Gatwick. I had to meet the rest of my group to check in at 4.00 am. As I was going to be away from my husband and kids for a few days I didn’t want to stay at the airport the night before as that would have added an extra night to the trip. Nor did I want my husband (although he kindly offered to do so) to drive me to the airport and leave the kids asleep in bed in the middle of the night. There’s no public transport during the night where we live and I didn’t want to book a taxi as I would have worried that it wouldn’t turn up (taxis need a lot of persuasion and direction to come to our village).
I decided that the only option was to drive myself to the airport and park my car there. But I didn’t want to waste any time by driving to an airport car park somewhere in the Gatwick area and getting a shuttle bus to the terminal. Because I’d really rather be asleep than doing anything else at that time, I wanted to park as close to the terminal as possible and walk from my car to the check-in desks.
APH Meet & Greet Airport Parking
I contacted APH Airport Parking to see if they could help. They could. APH booked me in for their Meet & Greet Airport Parking service. This is a splendid system which is perfect if, like me, you don’t want to waste any time while getting to the airport. Essentially you drive to the short stay car park which is right next to the airport terminal. You follow the clear instructions which APH have emailed to you explaining exactly where to park. When you get there you’re met by a professional APH driver who is expecting you.
You give your car keys to the driver and he or she gives you a yellow card explaining what to do when you return from your trip. You then collect your luggage from your car and walk into the airport terminal to check in. Meanwhile your car is whisked away to a secure car park nearby to be looked after until your return. It really couldn’t be any easier.
The evening before my flight I realised that I had made a mistake. When I’d booked with APH I’d automatically given them the details of the battered 7-seater Volvo-tank which I use to transport kids, pets, shopping, Christmas trees and footballs around rural Surrey and Kent. I didn’t mention the diminutive Fiat Panda which my husband parks at our local station when he commutes to work. This was a mistake because, while I was away, my husband was due to drive our daughter to a university open day in Plymouth. The journey from our house to Plymouth is a 440-mile round trip. They were going to need the Volvo.
I quickly called APH to change my details but it was 9pm and their office was closed. Panicking, I called the number of the Meet & Greet driver that I was due to call 30 minutes before meeting him at the airport in the morning. He answered my call straight away, calmly amended my car details and reassured me that there was no problem. Phew.
When I arrived back at Gatwick from Greece a few days later I followed the instructions which the APH driver had given me. Once I’d retrieved my suitcase from the baggage hall I phoned the number on the yellow card and was told that a driver would meet me with my car in same place where I’d left it. I strolled through Customs and out of the terminal to the car park. A few minutes later I was driving home from the airport.
APH Meet & Greet Airport Parking is a great service which I love using. I think that it would work particularly well for families with babies and small children in tow.
The price for APH Meet & Greet Airport Parking depends on your travel dates – you can contact APH online or by phone for a quote. A sample price taken from the APH website today is £69.95 for four days. 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 bus to the airport.
Disclosure: APH provided me with Meet & Greet Airport Parking free of charge for my trip for the purposes of this review. All options, words and images are my own.
Have you ever tried meet & greet airport parking? What’s your preferred way to get to the airport?
Clare Nicholas says
We’ve used this option before and it’s such a time saver for early flights
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Jaime Oliver says
we have meet and greet booked in july at another airport and totally can’t wait 🙂
Jaime Oliver recently posted…Silent Sunday 24//5/15
Something worth bearing in mind for future flights, sounds much easier!
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Cathy (MummyTravels) says
I’ve used the meet and greet services quite a few times now when I’ve been travelling with my daughter and it’s fantastic – so much less stressful especially for early flights or arriving back late. APH is usually one of my go-to sites as well.
Cathy (MummyTravels) recently posted…Bikes, canoes and horses: Getting active in the New Forest
I love APH’s meet & greet and we regularly use them – such a great service for families.
Globalmouse recently posted…A taste of Italy in Springtime, 2015 – Prezzo restaurant, Plymouth
we really appreciated this service recently and I dont think i’ll do off site parking again!
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lisa prince says
oh dear this is a post my husband would scream at , he is a professional valet and detailer , worls for some of the big companies of cars and caravans and it is a full time job for him and he works all over the north east with a good name behind his business, however he would cry if he saw this as valet parking is actually worse for your car than you can imagine , underground cleaning ! eeek , all those scratches from cars not been cleaned correctly is exactly why my husband makes a living as good as he does especially from airports such as newcastle and teeside so i wouldnt recommend those but its a great idea and time saver , ease for everyone to keep your car looked after there x
Gretta Schifano says
I see what you mean but this service was just parking, they didn’t clean the car at all! It’s hardly worth cleaning my car as it gets muddy again straight away because of where we live – but I’m sure that your husband does a great job.
I used this last year and was so impressed I booked them again for the weekend :0)
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Sarah Bailey says
This sounds like a really useful service for those who travel to the airport by car. x
Sarah Bailey recently posted…Simple Ways to Update Your Outfit
Ive done an airport meet and greet twice now and was surprised at how hassle free it was x
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Jen aka Muminthemadhouse says
I love the idea of a meet and great service, perfect if you have small children
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Lauren | Belle du Brighton says
What a useful service! There is nothing worse than getting a really slow transfer bus to the car park/airpor! I’d definitely use something like this next time we fly!
Lauren | Belle du Brighton recently posted…Interiors: Shared bedroom storage ideas
This is a great service. My mom used similar and it was actually cheaper than getting a taxi!
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Stephen - BeautykingUK says
That sounds like cracking service and considering I was stung for about £12 for 30 minutes parking at Heathrow the rate seems reasonable, even at this time of the year. Sounds like great customer service being able to change the details even so late at night. Will bear this in mind the next time I’m using Gatwick (which I hope will be soon!). Stephen :o)
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angela hamilton says
I dont drive but i have family who do and I know this will come in handy
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Helen Gandy says
What a great idea!! I would definitely consider using them in the future, thanks for sharing!
Helen (popping over from blog support comment thread) x
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Sarah Ebner says
This really sounds like the most perfect and stress-free way to drive to the airport before going away!
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Erica Price says
I’ve tried valet parking before and it really took the hassle out of things. I love not having to wait around for a shuttle bus or similar.
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