Do meet and greet services at airports really save you time? Julian Gregory compares two services.
Do meet and greet services at airports really save you time? I compared two at Heathrow to find out, booking them via BCP (www.bcponline.co.uk), which gave the added benefit of earning BA Miles. Both bookings were done by phone and an email confirmation followed immediately with instructions.
However, on one booking, when I asked to be credited with BA Miles, I was surprised to be told that I had been offered the discounted price, and that the BA Miles price would be higher.
Heathrow Q-Park Flyaway
This service was one of the cheapest on offer. The email contained all the instructions I needed, and I made plans to drop off my car at 8.25am at terminal one, two days later.
London traffic was light, which meant I arrived early at the terminal, but at 8.25 there was no sign of the driver to pick up my car. I waited a few more minutes and then decided to phone the company to chase my errant driver. I was assured that he was at the airport and on his way to me, and was even given his name for reassurance, but he was nowhere to be seen. Eventually, my passenger went in search of him and eventually found him at the terminal, saying he had waited for a while at the drop-off area and had just popped into the terminal for a drink and to go to the toilet. It was frustrating that he was either late or had been waiting in the wrong place, which meant the service hadn't saved me any time. Fortunately, the return was much smoother. I was instructed to call when I had gone through customs and I only had to wait for about five minutes for the car to arrive where I had dropped it off.
Heathrow Purple Parking Meet & Greet
Arriving a few minutes ahead of schedule, I was pleased to see the driver waiting at the top of the departures ramp. He offered to get me a trolley, and after a swift exchange of keys and collection card I was in the terminal a few minutes later.
The return was just as easy. Arriving in the baggage hall, I called the parking service and within a minute of leaving the terminal the car pulled in. My only disappointment was that it was filthy, even though it had been cleaned just before I left. As I drove off I found a leaflet telling me I could ?Fly back to a clean car!' for £19.50 and wondered whether the dirty car was part of the marketing exercise or just bad luck!
Flyaway£80.40; Purple Parking£89.95; BA Express Parking £114.95; Park & Go £75.49 (all rates for five days)