Holidaymakers Warned About Airport Parking Companies

Airport Parking WarningUK travellers who leave their vehicles at the airport have been warned to chose their airport parking company carefully, after a string of complaints from travellers whose cars were either borrowed or damaged while they were away.

Valet parking at airports has grown in popularity over the last few years, with “meet and greet” services helping travellers who don’t have the time to negotiate long stay car parks. In most cases the parking company will collect the car at the chosen airport, secure it while the holidaymaker is away, and then greet them with the vehicle on their return.

An investigation by BBC’s Watchdog consumer programme however, has uncovered reports that some holidaymakers’ cars were not properly secured whilst they were away.

Holidaymaker Dean Dolling had left his Hyundai i20 with Airparks before embarking on his flight to Luton Airport for a week’s holiday to Cyprus. But on his return he discovered that the company – which offers “secure 24 hour patrolled parking” – had somehow allowed for his vehicle to be rented out to a tourist.

Another holidaymaker discovered that his car had been written off on the M23, when it was meant to have been stored securely at Gatwick. With another car receiving a parking ticket from a Tesco supermarket, whilst it was also meant to be securely parked at Gatwick.

Airparks operates ‘meet and great’ services at all the UK’s major airports, later offered Mr Dolling £500 in compensation, which they later increased to £2,500.

Mr Dolling told Watchdog, that he only realised that his car had been rented out when he received a phone call from an Australian, who had spent an holiday in Britain who noticed he was driving a private car after finding lots of Mr Dolling’s paperwork in the car.

Airparks later issued a statement and “apologised unreservedly” to Mr Dolling.

“A series of highly unusual system failures were compounded by Mr Dolling dropping off a different vehicle than the one he had originally booked in.”

Watchdog will be broadcast tonight on BB1, and also features the story of Andy and Nicola Halls who left their Audi A3 with Gatwick Meet and Greet before flying off to Tenerife last July.

Just hours after dropping their car off, they received a phone call from the police telling them that their car had been written off. An 18 year old employee, driving without insurance, had crashed and abandoned the car on the M23.

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