There’s a huge choice of parking options across UK airports, most of which are pretty darn expensive.
So, on a recent trip abroad I decided to try Airport Parking & Hotels' (APH) Park and Ride product at Gatwick to see what all the fuss was about – and if it saved me money!
Heading for the off-airport car park, I expected to have to drive for miles and miles, but the parking facility was about ten minutes’ drive from Gatwick, albeit through some windy country roads.
The kids were getting a headache with all the twists and turns in the road, but it was easy enough to find having been given handy instructions prior to our departure.
As we drove in, clear instructions were there: drive up, park up and drop your car keys at reception. We received a friendly, quick service and a receipt with instructions for the inbound journey.
Lucky for us, the coach to the airport was ready and waiting for us to jump on.
What was great? The friendly, welcoming service. No young punks here giving attitude.
What could they do better? Make the roads to the car park less windy. Ok, nothing.
Comfort & Quality
The coach itself was bright and spacious with plenty of room for everyone’s luggage. If you’re on an early morning departure, the coach lights make you feel like you’re under interrogation, so wear sunglasses.
It’s either that or squint for the 10-minute ride (maybe I have sensitive eyes?) The coach was squeaky clean and had the feel of a new vehicle.
Although we had to wait a while for the bus to fill up with passengers, it was only a matter of minutes before we set off.
What was great? How clean and spacious the coach was.
What could they do better? Have dimmable lights on board for early passengers who find it hard to wake up.
I was mighty impressed with the service. The driver actually went out of his way to help everyone with their luggage – that doesn’t happen in real life.
He was also very friendly, bright and chirpy which was nice to see – especially given the early morning start to the day.
There are frequent transfers to both North and South terminals and the facility is open 24 hours a day.
Clients can also amend or cancel their booking up to 24 hours’ prior to arrival without charge, which is a reassuring service.
What was great? Bob – or whoever drove the coach that day. (ok, I made his name up, but he looked like a Bob)
What could they do better? Not a lot –top notch service.
Okay, so how much?
A week’s Park and Ride airport parking at Gatwick costs from £31.21. Compared with Long Stay parking and the company’s competitors (other nearby parking options), this is an affordable option and a main contender for top spot.
My lasting impression is that APH offered great service and clean facilities – the two top priorities for me, so this experience was a winner.
I’ll be telling my friends and I will be booking again (other than Gatwick there are car parks at Stansted, Birmingham and Manchester, with car parking services at Stansted, Heathrow and Luton).
Maybe they could offer rewards or a loyalty scheme for frequent travellers? Maybe they already do.
Disclaimer: I was given the opportunity to try APH for free in return for an honest opinion of the facilities.