Parking at the airport is a pain. And an expensive pain at that! How would you like to avoid it, and maybe even make a little money instead of spending it during the peak summer travel season?
If your car is less than 13 years old and has fewer than 150,000 miles, here’s what you can do:
Two years ago, three college kids created FlightCar, which now operates at 14 airports across the US– up from just three when we wrote about it last year. The company now has more than 70,000 members and employs 120.
The basic idea behind FlightCar is this: Instead of driving to an airport parking lot and paying to park your car, you drop it off at the nearby FlightCar lot instead.
While you are away, FlightCar will try to rent your car to an inbound traveler. If it does, you’ll get paid. If it does not, you’ll get free parking and a free car wash! How does that sound?
Here’s how it works.
First, you’ll make a parking reservation online by filling in some basic information about your departure/return dates and your car.
On the day of your trip, you’ll drive your car to the FlightCar parking lot near the airport. There they’ll make copies of your proof of insurance and title, and a black car will drive you to the airport.
Back at the lot, FlightCar posts your car for rent on its website. You’ll receive an email advising you whenever your car is rented.
When you fly back, you call for for an airport pickup back to the lot.
If your car was rented while you were away, you are notified that you will receive a check in the mail based on the number of miles your car was driven, in addition to your car’s age, make and model. Since most rented cars are driven less than 40 miles, the bulk of the money you’ll make doesn’t come from rental fees, it comes from not having to pay for airport parking. If your car was not rented, well, then as always–Parking is absolutely free, as is the mandatory car wash.
Here’s a video that describes how it all works.
For this post we are only highlighting the parking side of the program, but if you’re on a tight budget, you might also look into the rental side of things— FlightCar rentals can cost half as much as you’d pay for a standard rental car.
Another company called Relay Rides offers a similar rental service, as well as airport parking at LAX and SFO.
Certainly, if you have a new or expensive car that you don’t want a stranger driving, FlightCar is not for you. But for some others, it can be a viable option.
Have you tried FlightCar? Would you?
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