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Friday, January 15, 2021

DFW Airport debuts pre-paid parking

Reserve lot online and save up to 50%, airport says

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport

Prepaid Parking


With Dallas-Fort Worth being a hub of businesses, innovators and creatives, its airports are familiar places for those needing to travel to and from work and opportunity.

The drawback for travelers, however, is the relatively high cost of either Ubering to and from the airport — and depending on driver availability to get where they need to be on time — or parking in terminal or express parking lot and leaving their car while they’re away.

But Dallas Fort Worth International Airport has a plan to help alleviate some worry and some cost from travelers’ minds.

On April 5, DFW Airport debuted its prepaid parking online service.

The service will let travelers choose a specific terminal, remote or express parking lot, Cynthia Vega, DFW Airport senior manager of corporate communications explained, and they can save up to 35 percent on airport parking prices.

The online system is available at onlineparking.dfwairport.com and reservations must be made at least 48 hours before the date the parking is needed. The online service guarantees space in the selected lot, though not in an assigned slot.

Currently, airport parking rates are $24 a day for terminal parking and $12 and $15 for express parking, uncovered and covered respectively. Prepaid parking will save travelers 35 percent on terminal parking costs and 20 and 15 percent on uncovered and covered parking costs respectively.

The savings will be lower in peak times such as holidays, Vega said.

While this will be a first for DFW Airport, the idea is not new. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has what Vega calls a basic online booking system and Raleigh–Durham International Airport is creating one. And two Canadian airports — Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport and Vancouver International Airport — already have online booking systems in place.

However, as people use ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft to travel to and from the airport, DFW Airport hopes to keep people parking on-site. Ride-hailing services as well as offsite parking sites have become competitive with the airport’s own parking options over the years.

To compare prices, travel from downtown Fort Worth to DFW Airport on a Monday at 8 a.m. and returning on a Wednesday at 8 p.m. on Uber could vary from $39.09-152.91 on the way there and from $30-157 on the way back, depending on the type of Uber service.

If that same booking was made on the airport’s prepaid parking online system, it would cost $46.80 for terminal parking (online savings of $25.20) or $36 or $36.60 for express uncovered or covered parking, respectively (online savings of $5.40-$9).

Further, Uber only allows for scheduling trips to the airport, not from the airport. So the ability to get back into town from the airport depends on the availability of drivers.

Also, ride-hailing drivers are not permitted to drive up to the terminals’ passenger pick-up zones and must instead wait at an allotted area for passengers to walk from their respective terminal.

Travelers can pay for the prepaid parking online using a credit card and if they have a Toll Tag the parking plaza will recognize that they have prepaid, Vega said. For those without a Toll Tags, they will have a QR code to flash at the parking plaza.

The Prepaid Parking experience

Fort Worth Business Press reporters Nealie Sanchez and Linda Kessler took Dallas Fort Worth International Airport’s new prepaid parking application for a trial run.

The booking for our trip was all handled through DFW Airport’s online website. We chose to park in Terminal E, with an arrival time and date of 9:30 a.m. Thursday, March 29, and a check-out time of 11:30 a.m. the same day. Because the car we were parking has a Toll Tag, there were minimal online steps to complete the process.

As we drove up to the parking plaza and pulled into the Toll Tag payment lane, the machine scanned our license plate and recognized that it was linked to our booking.

“Hello, Linda Kessler,” the machine read and lifted the barrier for us to drive through. Later, on our way out, the machine once again scanned our license plate and presented a smiley face asking us to “DRIVE SAFELY” as it lifted the barrier once more.

Overall, we found the experience to be simple and hassle-free, never having to enter in any kind of confirmation code, scan our cards or get tickets at the plaza.

*Disclaimer. The Fort Worth Business Press did receive a discount code to try the parking service for free.*

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