We've recently been away to Tenerife, flying from Manchester Airport, and used the "Meet and Greet" service from Looking4Parking.
We've used "park and ride" services on a number of occasions, both from Manchester Airport and from Leeds Bradford Airport and cannot fault them. There's always a shuttle bus just a couple of minutes away and the cars are stored in secure parking lots so I was interested to see what the extra £20-£30 would buy me.
Arriving At The Airport
We were provided with clear instructions on how to approach our terminal at the airport and we were asked to ring ahead 20 minutes before we arrived. We were directed straight to the drop-off point at the front of the terminal, guided into designated parking bays for this service and met by our chauffeur.
The usual exterior checks were done for any existing external damage to the car (bumps, scratches, etc) and the mileage recorded. Then we were given a card with contact details and asked to ring a telephone number on our return after we'd cleared passport control, baggage collection and customs and then pointed in the direction of the check-in desks (literally across the road).
We checked in smoothly and headed off for our holiday.
Our flight out of Tenerife landed early but the baggage took over and hour and a half to arrive on the belt. I rang the number provided to explain about the delay and was asked to ring back once we had cleared customs. It was explained that the chauffeurs weren't allowed to hang around in the drop-off point if there were any further delays which is totally understandable. A short while later, we were clear so I rang back and we were directed to a specific meeting point outside the airport building - but in a designated pick-up area - for our chauffeur to bring our car back.
It was 1.00am and we waited around 10 minutes for our car to be returned. We were handed our car keys but we were stood in the middle of the collection area at Manchester Airport. There wasn't a real chance to check over the car, plus there was just street/car park lighting available. We were also informed that we were responsible for the (recently installed) £4 exit fee from the car park. Luckily I had change available but we were totally unaware of this charge. Having looked back on my paperwork when the service was booked, it is mentioned on there but it's worth noting. You will be given the exit token by your chauffeur and there is a payment meter just by the waiting area.
The above comments are all advisories and do not deter from the fact that the service was speedy and professional. It's always a worry to hand over your car to someone else to drive away and store for a couple of weeks but it's such an easy and reasonably price service that I can't fault it. Our two drivers were pleasant and gave us ample instructions at drop-off and collection. Not having to queue up for a shuttle bus and travel 5 miles or so to and from the airport was definitely a bonus.
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Frequently Asked Questions (prompted by friends who were interested in this review)
Is there an easy option for wheelchair users?
The "Meet and Greet" service is as close as you can get to the door of the terminal and check-in area. From my experience at Manchester Airport, the drop-off area is flat, there is a zebra crossing across to the terminal and then you are straight into the airport. There will be other similar facilities in other Terminals and airports but it would be best to check before booking.
Where is the car stored for the duration of the holiday?
Again, in my experience storage areas are manned 24 hours a day. The secure car parks are usually around 5 miles away from the airport and located on industrial estates. When we flew from Leeds Bradford last year, the secure car park was literally across the road from the airport and the shuttle service took 2 minutes, door-to-door.
How is the car moved?
The chauffeur drives it. The company will be fully insured for this service.
What happens if the car is damaged?
You should be offered the opportunity to inspect your car fully before accepting it back. As noted above, when our car was returned this proved very difficult in the dark car park. I would imagine that if there was any notable damage to your car, your chauffeur would be expected to point it out to you and offer you an option to rectify the situation
Are there any other options?
Looking4Parking offer a variety of parking options including off-site parking (the Meet and Greet service and Park & Ride), on-site parking and business parking. On their website you fill in a short form to be offered the costings for each option.
What is the cost?
This varies throughout the year. We travelled in April and the car was parked for two weeks. Our Meet and Greet service would have cost £70 compared to £45 for the shuttle Park and Ride service. In high season this cost is definitely elevated.
I understand the service providers need to know when you are turning up with your car however I'm not sure how I would have been able to phone ahead had I been a lone traveller as my phone is always safely stored away whilst driving.
I zeroed my milometer when we got to the airport.
Firstly, I've seen Ferris Bueller... but also I was interested in exactly how far away the storage car park was. Just a few miles were clocked when the car was returned to us.
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