A Guide to Airport Parking for Guests with Disabilities
Traveling can be quite a stressful experience. It involves plenty of hassles, responsibilities, and if you’re doing it solo, it can quickly turn you into an anxious mess. There are some very crucial things you need to take care of, like your passport, ID, the cash you’re carrying, and figuring out where to park your car at the airport.
Reaching the parking lot on time and securing a good spot and then rushing to your terminal to get your documents checked can be a nerve-racking experience—even for those who travel frequently. Time is extremely precious at the airport. Everyone is rushing for one flight or the other.
For couples traveling with little children, the importance of time management and airport precautions are even greater. In such circumstances, no-one can afford to take any risks; otherwise, they would miss their flight. But what about those who are differently abled? A trip to the airport can be even more tiresome, exhausting, and in most cases, a real challenge for those traveling with a disabled badge.
Although airports do have a range of special assistance services and easy parking for guests with disabilities, doing it alone can be difficult and time-consuming. Most guests are accompanied by their relatives and friends during the airport, but it is still incredibly important to know how to navigate the airport if you’re alone.
Disabled guests who are traveling by plane should realize that a good part of their trip is spent at a humongous airport. Whether it’s a transit trip, a hotel stay-in, or a simple check-in, knowing the airport inside out will always help you in an emergency. In fact, the key to making it successfully through the airport and boarding your flight on time is preparing for your journey beforehand.
Disability shouldn’t stop you from traveling alone. As long as you’re aware of how to board the plane – which includes all the pre-requisites at the airport— like airport parking, security check-in, locating your gate at the terminal, deplaning, and knowing where to find your luggage, you can successfully make the trip.
You can choose to back out of airport parking, but it will only add to the stress of traveling. If you think you can safely drive to the airport on your own, then it’s wise to leave your vehicle in the disabled parking lot. Almost every airport has convenient and nearby parking options for disabled guests.
What Special Needs Travelers Should Know About Airport Parking
The Ultimate Benefits
The benefits of long-term airport parking are unquestioned. However, for special needs travelers, the convenience is multi-fold for the following reasons:
1. Helpful Airport Escorts
When you inform the airport staff about your disability, you will quickly have access to helpful airport escorts. If you’re traveling alone, they can assist you in airport parking or offer valet services. Airport escorts also help in boarding luggage and getting you through the security without any problems.
As long as you have a special license plate, there are many airports like Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport that offers special needs parking options.
2. Discounted Parking
For most airports in the USA, the only fee for airport parking is the license plate itself. As long as you have a proper permit and a certified license plate, you can gain access to free or discounted parking. For this reason, check your airport’s website before booking a flight and avail the service.
3. Near the Terminal
The best thing about disabled airport parking options is that they are always located near the main terminals. This eliminates any time-consuming inconvenience in case you’re traveling alone or can’t find an escort.
Denver International Airport has accessible parking in the West and East garages, which are located near the Jeppesen Terminal entrance. If you’ll be using an economy lot or a shuttle service, you can benefit from Economy East and Economy West garages, Mt. Elbert shuttle service, and Pikes Peak as they are equipped with wheelchairs, lifts, and electric carts.
4. Satellite Security
Another great thing about disabled airport parking is high satellite security. You can use apps like iParkomat or Parking Mobility to locate the nearest spot at the airport and quickly reach your terminal. You can also find out about rush hours and the quickest way to get to the airport. By simply inserting the address, you can sync your parking location with the app and gain access to satellite surveillance.
Covered parking lots and Denver airport parking services usually have satellite security and high-quality maintenance. Knowing your car is in a well lit, safe, and nearby airport parking lot is much better than leaving it at home or with a friend.
Rules and Regulations
If you’d like to avail airport parking, here are some rules and regulations that apply to almost every airport.
1. High Security
Usually airports are fortified with high-profile security, which is why disabled services may not apply on the roads around the airport. If you’re using a disabled parking lot, always follow the rules, to avoid being towed away or getting a heavy fine.
2. Using Disabled Permit Abroad
Most countries, especially those part of the European Union, use the Blue Badge system to identify disabled travelers and facilitate them with the services needed. In North America, travelers usually use a disabled permit that allows them to use the parking lot.
If you want to use your disabled permit abroad, you have to contact the airport personnel first so that they can see your badge before you leave the car at the airport. Only after the airport operators document your disabled permit, can you take it with you abroad.
If you can’t reach the ticket machine during the payment procedure of your airport parking,, always press the “assistance button” to get immediate help.
4. Parking Charges
Most airports like Newark Liberty airport and Denver International Airport usually charge the standard amount for airport parking. Always speak to an operator before paying.
5. Misusing a Disabled Parking Permit
Stay wary of misusing the disabled placard or the license plate as it can incur heavy fines. Even if the blue permit is temporarily given to a friend or family, it can cost the owner a fine and cancellation of the permit entirely. Hence, always keep your parking tickets with you and use them responsibly.
6. Checking with Your Airline
Additionally, always check with your airline for any electric carts, wheelchairs, or any other services or discounts for disabled parking. They can save you a lot of time and money.
Now that you know the most important benefits and rules of disabled airport parking, here is how you can successfully plan a trip to breeze through your time at the airport.
Planning Your Trip
Knowing what to expect at the airport and preparing for it beforehand can help you successfully board a flight. The airport staff doesn’t usually inquire about your disability, but you can always inform them to be safe.
Knowing the important planning steps and special needs services at the airport can help you in many ways. Here are some tips that can help you while you are traveling.
· Booking with a Special Needs Travel Agency
Although traveling with disabilities can be a restricted experience in many ways, if you have helpful escorts and a special needs travel agency, you can easily navigate the airport and access a convenient parking slot.
Nowadays, some travel agencies are committed to improving special needs travel. People with physical disabilities like diminishing eyesight, muscular dystrophy, and even reading problems will definitely require a travel agent to escort you through the airport.
Parents who are traveling with special needs children like autism, down syndrome, or emotional disturbances would require added assistance. Hammer Travel is a famous travel agency that offers discounted packages, including convenient airport parking and an airport tour.
Flying Wheels Travel, currently operative in California, USA, is specifically for people with chronic illnesses and physical disabilities. It includes hostel travel, independent travel, and hosted travel to suit your needs. If you’re traveling with a special needs family member or friend, you can seek help from a travel agent to secure an airport parking space for a hassle-free airport tour. You can connect with the travel agencies in your area in the USA and find out about how they can assist you in airport parking.
· Special Assistance Facilities
Every single airport, has special needs facilities that cover your entire journey – from the time you reach the parking lot to safely boarding the plane, and conveniently making through the airport tour. Knowing your rights and the different special needs facilities can maximize your experience at the airport.
Here are some major services you should know about:
· Wheelchairs and Elevators
All the airports in the USA are equipped with wheel-chair friendly routes and elevators on each floor. The Denver International Airport has an elevator and wheelchair facilities on every floor of Garage East and Garage West and the Pikes Peak Shuttle Lot.
· Medical Facilities
If you’re carrying any syringes, important meds, or an asthma inhaler that could alert the security staff, then you should communicate this to your airline and the airport beforehand. Airport parking lots scan through the vehicle for any questionable items, so you should always let them know what special needs valuables you’re carrying.
It could even be an automated metal wheelchair, which you will have to disclose before parking your car near the terminal.
Almost every airport restroom is handicap accessible. You can always find a restroom near every airport parking lot once you reach the airport.
· Ground Transportation
The American with Disabilities Act requires every airport to have wheelchairs present at the parking lots, and the subsequent floors. All the ground transportation facilities need to have wheel-chair accessible vehicles to pick up disabled passengers from the parking lot and drop them to the terminal.
· Passenger Security
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) located at every airport in the USA is responsible for safely transferring disabled passengers from each airport checkpoint. Under the FAA, diabetic passengers are allowed to keep insulin and syringes with them.
You can easily contact the nearest assistant or airport escort to help you with any issue.
· Airport WebPages
Each airport has an “accessibility webpage” that you can check before catching your flight. It enlists all the facilities, services, and amenities that you can benefit from during your airport tour. Briefing through the airport web-pages can give you a better idea of local services for disabled peoples like medical facilities, paging monitors, and discounted airport parking lots.
· Recommended Airport Parking Options
Always make sure to reserve a parking space beforehand to allow a smooth airport experience. Here are some recommended parking options that are ideal for disabled passengers.
1. Short-term parking
Disabled parking lots are usually near the terminal and the main gates, like the Jeppesen Terminal. Hence, they are often located within premium short-term parking lots. They usually have a standard fee, but you can always get discounts through parking apps like ParkingPanda, ParkWhiz, and SpotHero.
2. Meet and Greet
The parking option for ‘meet and greet’ is the most convenient for guests with disabilities because it’s quite near the terminal and doesn’t cost as much. You will have a greater chance of finding an escort, a wheelchair, and an elevator when you’re near the airport.
With friendly parking attendants, valet services, and easy bus transfers, you can easily get the best of meet and greet parking services at a very low cost.
3. Daily parking
If you think short-term lots are too expensive, you can park at a daily parking lot. There are normally shuttles available, like AirTrain, which are wheel-chair equipped and can quickly take you to the terminal.
Long-term airport parking is not a suitable option, especially if you have restricted mobility. Nonetheless, making the best out of airport parking as a disabled passenger can greatly help you spend a hassle-free time at the airport.
You get to secure discounts and many amenities during the airport tour. It truly is a win-win situation for you. With this guide, you’ll realize that disabled airport parking will actually enhance your experience as an independent traveler.