With the summer travel season well underway, leisure travelers are taking to the skies once again. Always looking to save money and especially with today’s economic uncertainties, individuals, couples and families need to be aware that they have a multitude of parking options when flying from the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport. Not only are there enormous multi-level parking ramps directly across from both Terminal 1/Lindbergh and Terminal 2/Humphrey, there are several off-airport companies that can save you time and money. They also offer a much greater degree of convenience that the on-site parking garages don’t.
As you would expect, the most expensive parking is located adjacent to the terminals. But when I’m going on vacation I want to spend my money, which is generally quite limited, on things like airfare, a nice hotel, perhaps a rental car, good food and entertainment. Where I park my car ranks pretty low on the list of travel priorities, just as long as its secure and within a reasonable distance of the airport.
While on-airport parking may seem to be your best bet, in reality the only benefit it gives you is a spot close to the terminal. However, at both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 the multi-level ramps require several things that off-airport parking facilities don’t. First and foremost, you have to look for your own space. At Terminal 1 that parking spot can be located so far from the check-in counters that you may need to take the underground tram just to get to the terminal. Of course, that is also after you’ve parked your car, unloaded it yourself and walked to the elevator bank which will take you down to the tram. Convenient? No. Expensive? Yes. And don’t forget to make note of where your car is located or you may be searching at length for it when you return home. The Terminal 1 parking ramp is massive.
Over at Terminal 2/Humphrey the walks are shorter but you still have to find your space and ride the elevator downstairs. After that the terminal is directly across the skyway. Sun Country, Southwest, AirTran and Icelandair fly from Terminal 2. When the parking ramp at Terminal 1/Lindbergh fills up, and it does, if you aren’t familiar with the off-airport options you could be relegated to parking at Terminal 2 and riding the free light-rail train one stop back to Terminal 1 for your flight. While the airport touts this as a great ‘money-saving’ option, the $4 per day lower rate at Terminal 2 isn’t worth the hassle of riding not one, but two trains just to get to the check-in counter. Parking at Terminal 2 but flying from Terminal 1 means parking your car, unloading it yourself, walking to the light-rail station attached to the parking garage, taking the train one stop, two escalator rides upstairs to the tram that will transport you to the terminal. Not a lot of fun and definitely very stressful, especially if you’re traveling with kids. And, to top it all, the lower rate at Terminal 2 is still more expensive than parking your car off-airport.
Over the next several days I will detail your parking options at MSP. Your on-airport choices include valet parking or one of the large ramps adjacent to each terminal; or off-airport parking services such as Park ‘N Fly, Park ‘N Go, E-Z Air Park or Team Parking. There are good reasons to consider them all and you’ll learn about each one in upcoming articles. COMING NEXT: On-Airport Parking Options at MSP.