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  #1  
Old 04-11-2010, 03:29 PM
Neptunian Slug Neptunian Slug is offline
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Picking people up at the airport: Do you park or sit in your car at the terminal?

Philly now has a cell phone lot so that people picking someone up at the airport can wait for a the call and drive right over. I am not sure that it helps. Whenever my parking shuttle arrives at the airport, the driver still has a hell of a time getting in with all the people just sitting in their cars waiting. When I got back from LA on Wednesday, the number of cars piled up at the terminal was unreal.

When I have had to pick people up at the airport, I park and go inside. I can sit down and relax. If the flight is late, maybe I grab a soda or buy a newspaper and wait. I can check the boards inside to see if the flight is on the ground.

I cannot imagine wanting to sit in my car for an hour in the cell phone lot or sitting at the terminal and hoping that the airport cops don't ticket me. But that's just me. Is it really that hard to pull into short term parking? Its $3.00 for a half hour and $5.00 for an hour at PHL. Could be more other places, some are less.
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  #2  
Old 04-11-2010, 03:36 PM
ShibbOleth ShibbOleth is offline
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Most airports don't let you just sit there in your car. Either your picking someone up or circling around again. So, outside of Philly, the cell lots work.

Last edited by ShibbOleth; 04-11-2010 at 03:37 PM..
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Old 04-11-2010, 03:46 PM
suranyi suranyi is offline
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As ShibbOleth said, most airports don't allow you to park right in front of the terminal. In fact, I'd be surprised if Philly does.

Like the OP, I usually park the car and wait inside the terminal when I'm picking someone up. But many people like to circle around until their party appears at the curb. That creates lots of congestion. In recent years airports all over the country have set up cell phone lots to relieve this congestion. The driver waits there until he is called to the terminal. It works very well, from what I hear.
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Old 04-11-2010, 03:48 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is online now
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I try to time my arrival so I can drive up to the arrivals loading area, pop the person's suitcase in my trunk and leave. Orlando International Airport isn't particularly busy, even considering how many visitors we have, because most tourists arrive via Orlando Sanford International.
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Old 04-11-2010, 04:25 PM
mnemosyne mnemosyne is offline
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If I'm picking someone up at the airport there is (based on data from this past year) a 100% probability that they are coming in from Newark and their flight will only be declared as being 2 hours late about 15 minutes after the estimated arrival time. So I arrive at the last minute on the off chance the person is on time, and pay for parking. I bring a book/ipod and settle in at a café to wait. We can take the shuttle back to my car together.
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Old 04-11-2010, 04:34 PM
Neptunian Slug Neptunian Slug is offline
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Originally Posted by suranyi View Post
As ShibbOleth said, most airports don't allow you to park right in front of the terminal. In fact, I'd be surprised if Philly does.

Like the OP, I usually park the car and wait inside the terminal when I'm picking someone up. But many people like to circle around until their party appears at the curb. That creates lots of congestion. In recent years airports all over the country have set up cell phone lots to relieve this congestion. The driver waits there until he is called to the terminal. It works very well, from what I hear.
I am pretty certain its illegal here. in fact before they set up the cell phone lot, people parked on I-95. They got $I50 tickets for that. But I have never seen a Philly airport cop enforce the rules at the terminal, therefore it is de facto legal. Usually its takes about 10 minutes for the shuttle arrive so I will see people at the terminal with engines off the entire time.

Other airports may do a better job of shooing people away. Vegas is lousy as well.
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Old 04-11-2010, 04:38 PM
Khadaji Khadaji is offline
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I just picked up a friend coming in from London. I parked the car, went and sat outside of baggage claims and waited for him. I wasn't there even a full hour, but paid 8 bucks for the parking. Next time I may have him call on a cel phone - but connection for his UK phone is not always reliable here in the states.
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  #8  
Old 04-11-2010, 04:57 PM
Picard Kills Kirk Picard Kills Kirk is offline
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At the Atlanta airport, I circle around until I see my people waiting. Usually I tell them to go to the end of the strip where fewer cars are trying to pick people up. If the people I'm picking up are familiar with the airport, I tell them to meet me on that underground part that you make a left turn into right before you get up to the main loading and unloading place.
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  #9  
Old 04-11-2010, 05:23 PM
Vihaga Vihaga is offline
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I live near the Philadelphia airport, and I use the cell phone lot. Of course, we only live about 20 minutes from the airport, so I just compulsively check online to see if my husband's plane is delayed, leave when it's landed, wait a few minutes in the cell phone lot for him to get his luggage, and pick him up. I find the cell phone lot to be incredibly convenient.
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Old 04-11-2010, 05:57 PM
mhendo mhendo is offline
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We live a 10-15 drive from San Diego airport.

When my wife is flying in, she calls me once she's off the plane. Usually, by the time i get myself organized, jump in the car, and drive to the airport, she has picked up her checked luggage and is standing on the concourse waiting for me. Works perfectly.
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Old 04-11-2010, 06:08 PM
kenner116 kenner116 is offline
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I've waited for 20-30 minutes at the Philly airport terminal. I wasn't aware of a cell phone lot, so I'll probably use that next time if I think it could be a long wait. In Atlantic City, I just wait at the terminal or on the side of the road that goes to the airport and wait for a call.
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Old 04-11-2010, 06:44 PM
Queen Tonya Queen Tonya is offline
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I live ten minutes from Detroit Metro, and those guys are fierce about not letting people park for pickup. They will bust on you if you're slow hustling grandma's bag into the trunk even. AFAIK, everyone mostly uses the nearby Big Boys and gas stations and hotels as default cell phone lots while waiting.

One time, however, I literally abandoned my vehicle in the pickup lane, fully aware I'd be ticketed to all hell and back and it'd be towed away to Og knows where. I needed to get my minor child to a relative he was flying out of state with, and had overslept. Since they hadn't bothered to call me, I figured that meant they weren't going to wait for him either, so I drove hellbent to the airport and ran carrying him and his bag right to the gate and got there *just* as they were boarding. Amazingly, my truck was still there, untowed and unticketed, so I just drove back home guiltily.

So if I'm picking up I wait for the "I've landed" phone call, and hop in the car and hit the pickup lane just as my party hits the pickup lane. If my husband is picking up, he watches the airport's webpage and leaves when it indicates the plane has landed.
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  #13  
Old 04-11-2010, 06:44 PM
NinjaChick NinjaChick is offline
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Originally Posted by kenner116 View Post
I've waited for 20-30 minutes at the Philly airport terminal. I wasn't aware of a cell phone lot, so I'll probably use that next time if I think it could be a long wait. In Atlantic City, I just wait at the terminal or on the side of the road that goes to the airport and wait for a call.
God, PHL is such a horrid airport. I honest to god don't know if there was an actual lot, but for years there's been a tiny little sign, just as you get off 95 going to the airport, which I think had an arrow or something like "cell phone lot, keep left". And then there was absolutely no further indication of where this alleged lot was. My parents, making at least a couple trips every year to pick up my sister or myself, tried occasionally to find it. Never did. (Google tells me it's just on the far side of 291 from the airport - tellingly, there's all of a dozen cars parked there in satellite view).

Anyway, since I never pick people up from the airport, I know that my parents would just circle the airport in Philly - if someone was hung up waiting for a bag, they'd just re-enter the airport and do another loop.

When I've had people pick me up out here at the Albuquerque airport, they've generally parked, because A) it's a crazy long drive from Santa Fe and B) parking is ridiculously cheap at the Albuquerque airport - a dollar for half an hour.
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  #14  
Old 04-11-2010, 08:00 PM
Manda JO Manda JO is online now
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It depends on the airport, day of the week, and time of day--what would be terribly rude behavior at DFW at 5:00 on a Friday is perfectly ok when picking someone up from tiny Love Field at 2:00 in the afternoon on a Saturday.
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  #15  
Old 04-11-2010, 08:05 PM
Clothahump Clothahump is offline
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Love the cell phone lot. It makes life sooooo much easier!
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  #16  
Old 04-11-2010, 08:56 PM
Least Original User Name Ever Least Original User Name Ever is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhendo View Post
We live a 10-15 drive from San Diego airport.

When my wife is flying in, she calls me once she's off the plane. Usually, by the time i get myself organized, jump in the car, and drive to the airport, she has picked up her checked luggage and is standing on the concourse waiting for me. Works perfectly.

Ditto. I also pick your wife up at the airport because I live 10 or 15 minutes from it.
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  #17  
Old 04-11-2010, 09:45 PM
suranyi suranyi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhendo View Post
We live a 10-15 drive from San Diego airport.

When my wife is flying in, she calls me once she's off the plane. Usually, by the time i get myself organized, jump in the car, and drive to the airport, she has picked up her checked luggage and is standing on the concourse waiting for me. Works perfectly.
Similarly when I visit my parents, they live 15 minutes from Burbank airport. I call as we're taxiing to the gate (allowed by Southwest Airlines), and my dad is at the curb just as we've retrieved our bags.
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  #18  
Old 04-11-2010, 10:14 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Originally Posted by Clothahump View Post
Love the cell phone lot. It makes life sooooo much easier!
Agreed.

It sort-of depends on who I'm picking up. If it's somebody I haven't seen in years arriving from overseas, I'll generally park and pop in and meet them at the gate. If it's just another friend on a domestic trip, I'll sit in the lot and wait for a phone call.
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Old 04-11-2010, 10:33 PM
atomicbadgerrace atomicbadgerrace is offline
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
I try to time my arrival so I can drive up to the arrivals loading area, pop the person's suitcase in my trunk and leave. Orlando International Airport isn't particularly busy, even considering how many visitors we have, because most tourists arrive via Orlando Sanford International.
<hijack> Err... what? AFAIK, the only scheduled domestic service into Sanford is on Allegiant, which is even in the process of moving most of its operations into MCO. I'm not sure what tourists you're thinking of, but last year, Sanford had something around 1.7 million in traffic vs. the ~31 million using MCO. </hijack>

As to parking or sitting, I prefer neither. I'll track the flight of whoever I'm picking up online, and try to time my arrival accordingly. I may have to circle around if I'm early, but I try to adjust my arrival as best as I can.
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  #20  
Old 04-11-2010, 10:49 PM
Voyager Voyager is offline
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Originally Posted by suranyi View Post
Similarly when I visit my parents, they live 15 minutes from Burbank airport. I call as we're taxiing to the gate (allowed by Southwest Airlines), and my dad is at the curb just as we've retrieved our bags.
My wife grew up that close to the Philadelphia Airport, and that's what they did also. Now cell phone lots are great. SFO has a nice big one, Oakland has a good one (which was full the last time I picked up my wife) and in San Jose, there are some spots on a nearby street reserved as a cellphone lot.

I hate San Jose Airport.
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  #21  
Old 04-11-2010, 10:52 PM
Anaamika Anaamika is online now
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Originally Posted by mhendo View Post
We live a 10-15 drive from San Diego airport.

When my wife is flying in, she calls me once she's off the plane. Usually, by the time i get myself organized, jump in the car, and drive to the airport, she has picked up her checked luggage and is standing on the concourse waiting for me. Works perfectly.
Ditto, except for me it's Albany.
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Old 04-11-2010, 10:55 PM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is offline
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The cell phone lot at Reagan National (DC) is often full, I find. The one at Dulles is far away and poorly signed, so I'm reluctant to use it. Overshooting it would mean going miles out of my way down the access road.
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  #23  
Old 04-12-2010, 02:40 AM
Shalmanese Shalmanese is offline
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I always tell people I'll pick them up/want to be picked up from the departure area of an airport. Departure areas are always set up so you're allowed a little more time to dawdle and there's less pressure to get in and get going.
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  #24  
Old 04-12-2010, 09:00 AM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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Why on earth would you pay for the privilege of picking somebody up from the airport? Go sit in the Waffle House down the road, for pity's sake. (Unless it's your 90 year old grandma, and then they may allow you to go through security and meet her at the gate, even now.) Unless you're proposing, why on earth would you park and walk from short term parking and pay to do it, just so you don't have to circle at all? Wait for the call, drive up outside baggage claim, stop just long enough for them to throw their shit in the trunk and get out of there.
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Old 04-12-2010, 09:04 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is offline
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I park. Nothing I love more than seeing someone as they come through the gate, especially if it's my wife, which would be 90% of the time.
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Old 04-12-2010, 09:11 AM
Rafe Hollister Rafe Hollister is offline
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I frequently pick up a friend at Kansas City International (MCI). He lets me know when he's boarding at LaGuardia what time he will arrive. I time it just right and usually just drive the circle at the terminal where he will be. He steps out, jumps in, and we go on our way. I've also taken him to Springfield, MO, Tulsa, OK, and NW Arkansas. None of those 4 airports are a challenge at all. One of the benefits of living where I do.
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Old 04-12-2010, 09:41 AM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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In the Albany airport, there's free parking for the first half hour in the short-term lot. So we park there (you can follow the flight online, so you can time your arrive to match the plane) and go inside the airport.
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  #28  
Old 04-12-2010, 10:21 AM
Swallowed My Cellphone Swallowed My Cellphone is offline
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Originally Posted by Neptunian Slug View Post
But I have never seen a Philly airport cop enforce the rules at the terminal, therefore it is de facto legal.
Wow, during most of my travels, they'll chase you away within seconds as if they think you have a bomb in your trunk.

I just park my car in the lot, wait for my party to arrive, then we go back to my car and drive off.
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  #29  
Old 04-12-2010, 10:45 AM
hogarth hogarth is offline
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If I care enough about a person to pick them up at the airport, I care enough to pay for parking and meet them at the gate. Otherwise, they can take the bus+subway and I'll meet them somewhere more convenient, IMO. (This is Toronto's Pearson airport I'm talking about.)
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Old 04-12-2010, 10:46 AM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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Originally Posted by hogarth View Post
If I care enough about a person to pick them up at the airport, I care enough to pay for parking and meet them at the gate. Otherwise, they can take the bus+subway and I'll meet them somewhere more convenient, IMO. (This is Toronto's Pearson airport I'm talking about.)
The... the gate? Have you been to the airport in the last, say, ten years?
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Old 04-12-2010, 11:04 AM
Swallowed My Cellphone Swallowed My Cellphone is offline
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Why on earth would you pay for the privilege of picking somebody up from the airport?
Most of my friends are worth the $6 to meet them and help them with their luggage. I suppose if I was areal tight-wad I cold ask them to reimburse me. It's not like I'm picking up sacks of mulch from the side of the road.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zsofia
The... the gate? Have you been to the airport in the last, say, ten years?
I'm assuming that was referring to the final arrival gate that people come through after they've pciked up their luggage, gone through customs etc. That is also where I meet loved ones at the final "arrival gate".

Last edited by Swallowed My Cellphone; 04-12-2010 at 11:07 AM..
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  #32  
Old 04-12-2010, 11:34 AM
ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is online now
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I live about 20-30 minutes from the Cleveland and Akron airports.

For Akron, I check their Web site before I leave and time it to arrive around the same time the plane arrives. They have a "wait lot" but the airport is so small that it only takes a few minutes for my friend to get his bag and meet me. They are also pretty lax about letting you sit and wait in front of the arrivals area.

Cleveland is a little harrier, as it's a bigger airport. I usually just check the Web site for arrivals and leave right when the plane is to be touching down. This gives the traveler ample time to get their bags, and I am able to pull right up to the door for their carrier and whisk them away.

The first time I flew on my own I had my dad park and come meet me. I think it made him feel more at ease. I paid for his parking on the way out.
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  #33  
Old 04-12-2010, 12:49 PM
maladroit maladroit is offline
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I go inside. Maybe they'll need help with luggage or with the children or something. Plus the people watching is way better than it is in the parking lot and there's coffee and restrooms, and those flight info boards. Unless I had a really good book I can't imagine waiting in the car.
The last time I was at an airport to drop off a rental car I was waiting in our car while DH went inside to the rental office. The security wouldn't let me idle, I had to do laps.
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Old 04-12-2010, 01:02 PM
otternell otternell is offline
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My husband would wait outside in the car, doing laps. But he also had our dogs with him, so they would all be in the car. I'd step outside the terminal, look around, and he'd pull up with a car load of barking-ass dogs. Getting the luggage in the Jeep was a challenge, since the three dogs were trying to get as close as possible to me. That was the absolute best part of my trip - watching the jeep pull up to the curb, with three heads hanging out the window jumping, barking and yipping.
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Old 04-12-2010, 01:35 PM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is offline
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Cleveland is a little harrier, as it's a bigger airport.
I don't think little harriers land at Cleveland. Aren't those military jets?

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Old 04-12-2010, 02:07 PM
Swallowed My Cellphone Swallowed My Cellphone is offline
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My husband would wait outside in the car, doing laps. But he also had our dogs with him, so they would all be in the car. I'd step outside the terminal, look around, and he'd pull up with a car load of barking-ass dogs. Getting the luggage in the Jeep was a challenge, since the three dogs were trying to get as close as possible to me. That was the absolute best part of my trip - watching the jeep pull up to the curb, with three heads hanging out the window jumping, barking and yipping.
Why does "Barking Ass Dogs" sound to me like another name for a "Shit Zoo"?
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  #37  
Old 04-12-2010, 02:07 PM
jsgoddess jsgoddess is online now
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I prefer to park and go in to greet, especially if it's someone I haven't seen for a while.

But if it's, say, my mom who I see a lot, I'll just wait in the car. We have a routine.
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Old 04-12-2010, 02:13 PM
Snowboarder Bo Snowboarder Bo is offline
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Originally Posted by Neptunian Slug View Post
I am pretty certain its illegal here. in fact before they set up the cell phone lot, people parked on I-95. They got $I50 tickets for that. But I have never seen a Philly airport cop enforce the rules at the terminal, therefore it is de facto legal. Usually its takes about 10 minutes for the shuttle arrive so I will see people at the terminal with engines off the entire time.

Other airports may do a better job of shooing people away. Vegas is lousy as well.
Not sure what you mean about Vegas. Our airport rocks.

We have a whole half-floor of the parking garage that is just for people to park short term when then are picking people up. It's got a walkway right to the baggage claim area. I think the parking meters will accept coins for up to 2 hours, then you have to go back and put more coins in.

Most of the time when I pick people up, I'm at the airport for under 30 minutes. SO it costs me a quarter to park, go in, wait for them to get to baggage claim, then get back to the car. It's easy, my truck is parked in the shade, and it only costs 25 cents.
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Old 04-12-2010, 02:17 PM
Snowboarder Bo Snowboarder Bo is offline
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Originally Posted by Zsofia View Post
Why on earth would you pay for the privilege of picking somebody up from the airport?
Because $.25 won't break my budget.

Quote:
Go sit in the Waffle House down the road, for pity's sake. (Unless it's your 90 year old grandma, and then they may allow you to go through security and meet her at the gate, even now.) Unless you're proposing, why on earth would you park and walk from short term parking and pay to do it, just so you don't have to circle at all?
Because it's cheaper to pay a quarter to park rather than burn gas in my 1978 Chevy Blazer driving around in circles. Because I like to walk; I find the activity pleasurable.

Quote:
Wait for the call, drive up outside baggage claim, stop just long enough for them to throw their shit in the trunk and get out of there.
Nothing starts a visit off better than a relaxed, joyous greeting. Tires screeching and a call of "hurry up and get in; we're blocking traffic" isn't quite the same, IMO.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 04-12-2010 at 02:17 PM..
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  #40  
Old 04-12-2010, 02:30 PM
hogarth hogarth is offline
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Originally Posted by Swallowed My Cellphone View Post
I'm assuming that was referring to the final arrival gate that people come through after they've pciked up their luggage, gone through customs etc. That is also where I meet loved ones at the final "arrival gate".
Yes, that's what I meant.
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  #41  
Old 04-12-2010, 03:43 PM
Baracus Baracus is offline
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At RDU, I circle around until my party emerges. They got rid of the short term parking close to the airport apparently to prevent lazy, non-suicidal truck bombers. Parking in the deck is rather inconvenient especially to get to the Southwest terminal, which I swear seems like it is a good 15 minute walk with bags. I think you do get the first half an hour free though.
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  #42  
Old 04-12-2010, 03:55 PM
Disheavel Disheavel is offline
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Originally Posted by Shalmanese View Post
I always tell people I'll pick them up/want to be picked up from the departure area of an airport. Departure areas are always set up so you're allowed a little more time to dawdle and there's less pressure to get in and get going.
I think that departure areas are calmer simply because people aren't waiting/circling the airport to get there like the arrivals area. But we do similarly in using the departure/ticketing area for picking up incoming people, it cuts off 5 minutes for the entire experience due to faster traffic, etc.
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  #43  
Old 04-12-2010, 04:10 PM
kittenblue kittenblue is offline
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I live 12 minutes from the Cleveland airport, and even when you COULD meet people at the gate, we just waited for a phone call (in the pre-cell phone days they would stop at the first payphone on the concourse) and then, by the time we drove there, they had walked to the baggage claim exit and were either getting their bag or waiting on the curb, and we'd do the swoop and scoop. You might have to circle the airport a few times if they had baggage and it was slow coming, but now with the cell phone lot, I can park if I don't see them on the first pass. Since it costs a lot more than a quarter to park in the short-term lot, and the parking lot is a lot farther to walk to, and we are all older and creaky, this is the easiest and most efficient way.
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Old 04-12-2010, 05:07 PM
Tastes of Chocolate Tastes of Chocolate is offline
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There really isn't a comfortable place to wait inside the Minneapolis airport. Or at least not one that is anywhere close to where the passengers leave the security area.

So, since I live about 15 minutes away, the person I'm picking up usually calls me as they are taxiing to the gate, and I meet them outside the terminal. If for some reason I've got time to spare, I hang out in the cell lot with a book, and watch the planes land (the cell lot faces the runway).
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  #45  
Old 04-12-2010, 05:54 PM
MaddyStrut MaddyStrut is offline
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I park and go inside. I can't see using the cell phone lot for picking up anyone in my disorganized family. Inevitably, the phone would be left on the plane, the battery would be dead, they'd lose my number (despite having called it thousands of times before and having it in memory)... If there's a way to mess it up, my family will find that way. Besides, if the flight is delayed, I'd rather wait in the airport than in my car.

When BWI (my nearest airport) is busy, they're real sticklers about keeping the pick up/drop off lanes moving. I've been told to move along when I've done no more than pop out to get a bag out of the trunk. I think they expect me to slow down while my passenger leaps from my still moving car. So I'm not waiting there. Those lane police scare me!
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