Two weeks ago, we witnessed air travel exceeding pre-pandemic levels thanks to a busy Fourth of July weekend. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has revealed that it screened over 10.1 million travelers during the holiday weekend from July 1 to July 5. Now, figures from last week (July 5-11) suggest that air travel has truly made a comeback and is here to stay. And with many people planning to go on vacation before the end of summer, expect the numbers to remain steady for the next couple of weeks.
Unfortunately, the spurt in passenger traffic has led to a shortage of parking spots at onsite airport parking garages, and it is likely to worsen in a few weeks. But before we take a deep dive into the issue of finding parking at the airport, let’s take a look at the other trends from last week.
Last week, TSA screened over 2 million passengers a day on four occasions. Not surprisingly, July 5th was one of the busiest days for TSA as holiday-goers returned home after a long Fourth of July weekend. July 11th was by far the busiest day for airport security personnel this month, beating the record set on July 2nd when TSA screened over 2.196 million passengers. This could be the result of many travelers deciding to extend their holiday by a week and fly home on Sunday to get to work on Monday.
The surge in the number of people traveling for leisure is overall a good sign for airlines. The pandemic had forced many airlines to pare down their operations and reduce staff wherever possible, and many were on the brink of bankruptcy. However, the reduced number of business travelers means the overall number of passengers is still down by 20% compared to 2019. Airlines such as Southwest offered to double the pay for flight attendants and ground staff willing to work through the busy weekend until Wednesday, July 8th. Meanwhile, American Airlines has trimmed its mid-July schedule because it doesn’t have enough pilots. So brace yourself for more flight delays and cancellations in the next few weeks.
If flight schedule disruptions and long TSA queues weren’t enough, travelers continued to spend hours looking for parking last week. Although most airports scrambled to open up more parking lots to reduce overcrowding, many continue to keep a few lots closed, citing Covid-19 regulations and/or construction activity.
However, passengers flying out of Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) could heave a sigh of relief as SJC airport parking opened the gates to its much-anticipated Economy Parking Garage on July 1. The new multi-level garage offers parking spaces for hundreds of cars and even free shuttle rides to the terminals. Priced at $15 for a day, it is by far the most affordable option to park your vehicle at SJC parking.
Meanwhile, Charlotte airport parking (CLT) has raised the rates for all its lots and decks to help pay for recent enhancements at the airport. The revised rates have led to the daily charge for long-term lots going up from $7 to $10. However, Charlotte airport parking’s curbside valet rate of $35 has been left untouched.
As air travel shows steady signs of recovery and millions planning to go on holiday this summer, expect onsite airport parking to get scarcer or more expensive in the next few weeks. However, you can circumvent the issue of finding parking by using a parking website or parking app like way.com to book cheaper and safer parking at hundreds of offsite garages that surround major airports across the country. A parking app like way.com lets you compare rates and read reviews before choosing the ideal spot for your vehicle.
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