Gatwick Parking Options

With Christmas fast approaching and your flights booked, it’s time to consider all the extras you need to organise before your trip, including airport parking.

Maybe, you haven’t thought about it yet, but if you want to save money, it’s best to book as early as possible.

There are actually quite a few options available, but fear not – here’s a complete guide to Gatwick Airport Parking:

Gatwick Meet and Greet Parking
Arguably the most convenient of all the parking options, Gatwick Meet and Greet parking (sometimes also referred to as Valet Parking) is an option whereby you drive directly to the airport terminal.

There are dedicated meet and greet drop off zones outside the North and South Terminal buildings where you drive up and meet your parking representative. Simply put, you hand over your keys, you make your way directly into the airport terminal and the parking rep takes you car to a safe and secure off site car parking facility nearby.

On your return, once you have made your way through baggage reclaim, you call your rep and when you come out of the terminal building your car is ready and waiting for you, with the parking rep, in the dedicated collection zones.

This car parking option is convenient as you don’t have to drive to an off-site car park, park, and get a courtesy bus back to Gatwick or lug heavy baggage around. You simply get out of your car, unload your luggage and walk straight into the airport. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Families, the elderly and less mobile find Gatwick Meet and Greet Airport Parking particularly favourable, as do those travelling with excess luggage or sports equipment.

Please note, whilst there are many legitimate meet and greet providers, Gatwick Airport recommend using one of their Gatwick Approved Operators. These Operators have been through a rigorous screening processes, must use only Park Mark awarded car parks, and must be Trading Standards Buy With Confidence approved. What’s more, only Gatwick Approved Operators are allowed to operate from the airport terminals.

Short-Stay Car Parks
This parking option is in one of the airport’s own car parks. Situated right in the airport grounds, it’s just a short distance from your car, via an escalator or lift, into the terminal building.

This is usually the most expensive type of airport parking as parking is charged by the hours for the first day and then per day thereafter. Parking in the short-stay car park is suitable for stays of a couple of days, any longer and stays tend not to be cost effective.

Off-Airport Parking
A common airport parking option, off-airport, or Gatwick park and ride, as it is often known is invariably the cheapest.

This involves you driving to a car park a short distance away from Gatwick, usually around a 10-minute drive. Here you check in your vehicle; once that is done you wait for the next courtesy bus to take you to Gatwick Airport – waiting times for shuttle buses vary, some operate every 20 minutes, some companies, such as Cophall Parking, operate an on-demand service.

On your return journey, you wait outside the terminal building for the next available bus which will take you back to the car park. Once at the car park you will need to go to the Reception Desk to release your vehicle.

The elderly and less able sometimes struggle with this parking as they do need to load and unload their baggage from their vehicle onto the bus, and then off again once at the terminal.

If you are considering this airport parking option, do bear in mind that you should leave approximately 30 – 40 minutes travelling time from when you need to check in.

Return Greet Parking
Not overly common, and not many providers offer this service, but this parking is similar to Off-Airport parking, but with a ‘meet and greet’ style twist…

So you would get to the airport in the same way as Off-Airport parking – you drive to the car park and catch the bus back to the airport. However, on your return, your vehicle is ready and waiting for you outside the airport terminal.

On-Airport Long-Stay Parking
This Gatwick parking option isn’t dissimilar to Off-Airport parking, although car parks are closer to the airport, within the airport’s boundary, and therefore the distance from where you park your car to the terminal isn’t too far.

However, do check as some car parks are slightly further away and you’ll need to use a shuttle bus to get to the terminal.

Park and Stay Packages
This car parking option is a consideration if you live a long way from Gatwick and want to travel down the day before, rather than risk motorway delays and diversions.

Park and stay packages can usually be booked with any of the parking options above. In the case of Meet and Greet Airport Parking, you can usually arrange for the parking company to collect your car when you arrive at the airport. Some airport hotels, usually those a short distance from Gatwick, offer on-site parking.

Whatever type of parking you choose, it’s advisable to book it as soon as you can to get the best possible price.

Car caught speeding while “parked” in Gatwick car park

West Sussex County Council is investigating yet another complaint against an unapproved Gatwick meet and greet parking company – one of more than five hundred complaints made this summer.

Holidaymaker, Chris Lynch told the BBC of his “emotional stress” after his car, which he thought was parked in a secure car park, was caught speeding while he was on holiday.

Mr Lynch left his meet and greet parking with Blue Star Parking while he holidayed in Greece. However, upon his return he received a letter from Sussex Police saying his car had been caught travelling at 37mph in a 30 zone – although he was out of the country.

Mr Lynch also claims his car clocked up an extra 150 during his holiday.

It is understood that Blue Star Parking ceased trading eight months ago, although Gatwick Blog cannot find any record of such a company.

Councillor David Barling told the BBC: “We have four investigations running separately at the moment in conjunction with Sussex Police and planning authorities. This seems to have been a phenomena since May.”

If you’re looking to book Gatwick meet and greet parking, Trading Standards along with Gatwick Airport, advises holidaymakers to only use firms approved by the airport. A list of which can be found on the Gatwick website, however, to save you the hassle, here’s a full list of all companies that are approved:

Gatwick meet and greet warning

It’s that time of year when most of us are looking to book our airport parking before jetting of on our summer holiday.

If you haven’t booked yours yet and thought airport parking was simply a choice between on-airport, off-airport and meet and greet, you need to think again.

Yes, you do have a choice between on- and off-airport and meet and greet but, if you’re considering Gatwick meet and greet parking, you need to be aware that not all companies are equal.

No, there are two types of companies: those that have been approved by Gatwick Airport and those that haven’t.

Companies that have been approved by Gatwick offer the following benefits:

  • They are the only operators that are permitted to collect and return cars on the airport’s terminal forecourts
  • They only park cars in secure, Safer Parking Park Mark awarded car parks. These car parks are inspected annually to ensure safety and security standards are maintained
  • They have been investigated by Trading Standards and awarded Trading Standards Buy With Confidence approval.

You’ll find a list of all Gatwick Approved Operators on Gatwick Airport’s website – there are only 12!

To save you checking, we’ve listed them all below:

There are lots of other meet and greet parking companies operating at Gatwick, far too many to count, although, when Gatwick Airport introduced its Approved Operator Scheme in 2013, it estimated there were in the region of 150 meet and greet parking companies at Gatwick.

While a quick search in Google (there are other search engines) will reveal some of these companies, do remember that not all of them offer the high standards guaranteed by a Gatwick Approved Operator. They may come across well on their smart website but you have no guarantee that what they say is correct, and that their ‘secure’ car parks are secure. If you need convincing, take a look at some of the following articles:

From ITV: 1,000 cars left in muddy field

From ITV: Counting the true cost of meet and greet

Crawley News: Parking company abandons car in short-stay car park leading to £400 parking bill

Sevenoaks Chronicle: Car sustains £4,000 worth of damage

BBC News: Probe into Gatwick Sky Parking

Mid Sussex District Council: Men fined £50,00 for running illegal airport car park

Daily Mail: Rogue parking company fined for misleading customers

You may think you’re saving money by booking an unapproved operator but, as the ITV News story above shows, the true cost of meet and greet isn’t necessarily the price you pay when booking.

The choice is yours!

Owners fined for allowing muddy field to be used for Gatwick meet and greet

If you thought the incident last month in which more than 1,000 meet and greet cars were found parked in a muddy field was a one-off, you’d be wrong.

Reigate & Banstead Borough Council has successfully prosecuted the owners of another muddy field after they allowed it to be illegally used for parking more than 500 meet and greet cars.

The owners of the field, Mr and Mrs Flitton, allowed Britannia Airport Parking (aka Easy Parking Gatwick) to use the muddy field as a car park for their Gatwick meet and greet parking business. However, the car park was unauthorised and a temporary stop notice was served on the owners of the field, requiring the parking to stop immediately, but they did not comply.

Councillor Mark Brunt, chairman of Reigate & Banstead’s planning committee, said: “This was a very serious breach of planning rules which we will not tolerate in our borough. The owners of the land did not have planning permission to use the field for the purpose of allowing commercial parking and, having ignored our enforcement notices, we had no choice but to take legal action against them.”

Mr David Flitton and Mrs Eliza Flitton of Baleene, Harrowsley Green Lane, Horley, pleaded guilty to failing to comply with a Temporary Stop Notice at Redhill Magistrate’s Court on 7 June 2016.

The land owners were prosecuted under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and fined £4,675 with an additional £100 costs. 521 vehicles were parked in breach of planning control.

To ensure that your car doesn’t end up in a muddy field, make sure you book your meet and greet parking with a Gatwick Approved Operator.

As part of the criteria required to become approved, meet and greet parking companies must only use Park Mark awarded car parks and have the Trading Standards’ Buy With Confidence award.

Only 12 meet and greet parking companies are approved by Gatwick Airport, they are:

West Sussex Trading Standards issues Gatwick meet and greet advice

If you’re flying from Gatwick this summer and plan to book meet and greet parking, please take heed of West Sussex Trading Standards’ advice to always use a Gatwick Approved company.

The warning comes following the discovery of more than 1,000 cars parked in a muddy field; cars whose owners thought were in the “secure” car parks promised on the websites of five rogue parking companies.

Travellers are advised to:

  • Always use a company that has Buy With Confidence approval
  • Check that the company displays its address on its website – this is a legal requirement
  • When booking, pay with a credit card for additional protection
  • Take a photo of all four sides of your vehicle to assist you with any disputes about damage to your car when you return from holiday
  • Make a note of your mileage when handing your car over
  • Never leave valuables inside your car.

David Barling, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services, said: “We take any reports of rogue trading, false advertising and damage to property very seriously and our Trading Standards team, as always, are working hard to make sure those involved are held responsible for their actions.”

Richard Sargeant, Trading Standards Team Manager, said: “When using airport parking consumers are handing over the keys to often the second most expensive item they own, but do little in research before they do so.

“Use a Buy With Confidence approved parking scheme to ensure your peace of mind when off enjoying your holidays this summer.”

The following Gatwick meet and greet parking companies are Gatwick Approved:

5 Gatwick parking companies investigated after cars abandoned in muddy field

More than a thousand people are on holiday at the moment unaware that the safe and secure meet and greet parking they thought they’d booked was no more than a muddy field.

Sussex Police, Horsham District Council and West Sussex Trading Standards are investigating five Gatwick meet and greet parking companies after more than 1,000 vehicles were discovered in a boggy field next to Gatwick.

The field’s location has not been revealed to protect the cars, some of which have their keys stuck to their windscreens. A box containing keys to hundreds of other vehicles was found in the boot of an unlocked car.

The names of the five “rogue” meet and greet parking companies being investigated are also under wrap.

The Police are also looking into reports of theft, criminal damage and excess mileage on vehicles left with the unnamed firms within the past few months.

The Police are urging anyone wishing to book Gatwick meet and greet parking to only book with a Gatwick Approved Operator.

Don’t take a chance with your car’s security, book with one of the following companies that offer Gatwick Approved meet and greet parking:

  • ABC Gatwick
  • Airparks
  • Airport Parking & Hotels (APH)
  • Cophall Parking
  • ECO Parkin
  • Help Me Park
  • I Love Meet & Greet
  • Just Valet Parking
  • Maple Manor
  • Meteor Meet & Greet
  • Ace Meet & Greet
  • Tudor Rose

Horley roads blocked by Gatwick travellers

Residents in Horley are calling on local councillors to impose parking measures to deal with the growing number of Gatwick passengers who are avoiding Gatwick parking fees by using local roads as temporary car parks.

Local resident Jacqueline Tracey, who has has started a petition calling for parking restrictions to be introduced in the area, told the Express that:

“Vehicles can’t get through the road and bin lorries couldn’t pick up the rubbish this morning and delivery lorries also can’t get through.

“What if an ambulance or a fire engine wanted to get through?”

“The strength of feeling regarding parking was overwhelming and many of our neighbours had a story or two about how they had been personally inconvenienced or even received abuse over the parking situation.

“People who park their cars range from commuters, who park 8am to 6pm five days a week, car sharers, airport workers, including pilots and air hostesses and even people who leave their cars in the road for two or three weeks while they go on holiday.”

While it isn’t illegal to leave your car on a public road while you fly off on holiday, air travellers should consider the inconvenience that can be caused to residents.

If it’s cheaper airport parking you’re after, you’re in luck.

Gatwick Blog has teamed up with Gatwick Approved Operator, Help Me Park to give you a 10% discount on your parking.

Use promo code GWBLOG at www.help-me-park.co.uk

Gatwick parking company axes 30 jobs

A Gatwick meet and greet parking company is set to close with the loss of around 30 jobs, the Crawley News reports.

Gatwick Approved Meteor Meet and Greet, which was taken over by Purple Parking last April, used to operate from three car parks at Gatwick. However, a decision to not renew leases on two of its car parks has meant the company would only be left with one 300-space car park, insufficient space for a meet and greet operation.

Purple Parking will retain use of the remaining car park for its Gatwick park and ride service and any remaining bookings for Meteor will be passed to other Gatwick valet parking companies.

Police investigates Gatwick Sky Parking

Sussex Police is investigating yet another non-approved Gatwick meet and greet parking company following complaints of damage to customers’ cars, the BBC reports.

Many customers of Gatwick Sky Parking, who reported deep scratches and vehicles covered in mud, have been left facing bills totaling thousands of pounds to repair.

On its website, Gatwick Sky Parking offers to “take the hassle out of airport parking by meeting you at the airport and parking your car safely and securely for you” in its “secure compound”

However, Ian Mullen would disagree. He said work to repair the scratches would cost £7,000 and that both back doors and the driver’s seat was “caked in mud”. He told the BBC: “I’m almost certain it was not parked in a secure environment like they say it was with CCTV cameras etc., and I also have some deep suspicions it had been used by individuals.”

When Mr Mullen contacted me, he told me “42 cars were vandalised in a field behind a derelict pub mine being one of them. They told me they had obtained a crime Id. This was a lie. When I called Sussex police they had no reported crime.”

Another customer, Mirriam Nichols, said she faced a repair bill of more than £2,000 with four scratches on the bonnet.

Yet another customer who contacted Gatwick Blog, Shirley, said: “My vehicle is scratched all over and needs the passenger door repainted because of masses of scratches, along with the bonnet, also door window needs replacing because it us scratched to bits. The cost of repairs in excess of £600.”

Shirley, who booked her parking through the Mobit website, said of the site: “ It looks excellent and the description of service provided looked perfectly ok. I have used meet and greet many times and have never had this problem.”

When the BBC contacted Gatwick Airport about the issues with Gatwick Sky Parking, it said: “it had no relationship with Gatwick Sky Parking, the company was not part of its Approved Operator Scheme and it was therefore unable to comment further.”

While it’s too late to help Gatwick Sky Parking customers, anyone travelling from Gawick and wanting to book Gatwick meet and greet parking, should always use a Gatwick Approved Operator.

Gatwick Airport does have a list of approved operators, however, it isn’t easy to find – you’ll find the list here: www.gatwickairport.com/parking/other-parking-options/Operator-Scheme/

There are currently 12 Approved Operators, listed below:

  • ABC Gatwick
  • Airparks
  • Airport Parking & Hotels (APH)
  • Cophall Parking
  • ECO Parking
  • Help Me Park
  • I Love Meet & Greet
  • Just Valet Parking
  • Maple Manor
  • Meteor Meet & Greet
  • Ace Meet & Greet
  • Tudor Rose

For more information on the Gatwick Approved Operator Scheme check out one of our previous posts: 4-quick-tips-to-help-you-spot-a-reliable-gatwick-meet-and-greet-parking-company

Gatwick meet and greet company abandons customer’s car in short-stay car park

A Gatwick holidaymaker has been left out of pocket after booking her meet and greet parking with a non-approved operator, the Crawley News reports.

Liz Hosford booked eight days’ parking with Air Fly Limited at a cost of £44, however, the company failed to honour its contract. Instead of taking the car to the “secure off-airport car park” that the company promised, it abandoned her car in one of Gatwick’s short-stay car parks, racking up a potential bill of £400.

Miss Hosford’s ordeal started at the beginning of her holiday when she had to wait more than an hour for her car to be collected, telling the Crawley News that: “As asked, we called 20 minutes ahead of our arrival but when we got to the orange short-stay car park there was nobody from the company in sight. There were about another five families waiting to pick up or drop off their cars. One group had been waiting for eight hours.

“In less than an hour we called Air Fly Limited 53 times to find out what was going on.” Eventually, the car was collected.

On her return from holiday, Miss Hosford’s car wasn’t returned to her and, after attempting to contact the company 47 times, her car was spotted in the short-stay car park but, without her key, she was unable to gain access to the vehicle.

Miss Hosford was forced to get a taxi home – another £65 on top of the cost of the initial booking – and then later visited the company’s office to collect her car keys.

Fortunately, Gatwick Airport waived the £400 short-stay parking fee, otherwise, what initially looked like a cheap week’s parking could have cost £509!

Don’t get stung when booking Gatwick meet and greet parking, always use a Gatwick Approved Operator, a list of which can be found here: www.gatwickairport.com/parking/other-parking-options/operator-scheme