Approved or non-approved? That is the Gatwick Parking question
As the holidays approach, many of you will be checking out the Gatwick parking companies in a bid to secure a last-minute bargain.
Deal direct or use an airport parking comparison site, the choice is yours, but do you know exactly what you’re booking?
It’s not easy to tell a good parking company from a bad one when faced with good-looking websites, so you need to delve a bit deeper.
While many parking companies claimed to be ‘The Best’, ‘Trusted’, Safe’, ‘Secure’, ‘Cheapest’, ‘Low cost’, ‘Professional’, ‘Most Efficient’, the list goes on, how can you be sure what they claim is true?
At Gatwick, the easiest way to find a reliable, safe, meet and greet parking company is to use a Gatwick Approved Operator.
After all, Gatwick Airport says on its website (http://www.gatwickairport.com/parking/other-parking-options/operator-scheme) that it:
“strongly advise[s] against using any parking supplier who is not an Approved Off-Airport Parking supplier as these other companies may not have any industry accreditation.”
So what is the difference between an Approved operator and one that hasn’t been approved?
GATWICK APPROVED OPERATORS
In order to become a Gatwick Approved Operator, meet and greet parking companies have to hold
- Safer Parking ParkMark award
The Safer Parking ParkMark award is only issued after a car park has been inspected by the police to ensure that there is appropriate lighting and security measures, in place with effective surveillance to ensure a safe and secure environment for parked cars.
All parking companies that are Gatwick Approved must use only ParkMark awarded car parks used for Gatwick meet and greet parking. Gatwick Airport is aware of how many cars these ParkMark awarded car parks can accommodate and can monitor how many cars each company parks per month to ensure that these numbers are not exceeded.
ParkMark certificates only last one year and car parks are inspected annually to ensure that safety standards are maintained.
- Buy With Confidence
In order to gain Buy With Confidence accreditation, companies must be inspected by Trading Standards Buy, their websites are examined to ensure that they don’t make unsubstantiated claims; that they adhere to online trading laws and regulations; that they CRB check all their staff; staffing policies and management practices are checked too, as are their customer complaints history and policy.
At the time of writing, only the following companies are Gatwick Approved Operators:
- Airport Parking & Hotels (APH)
- Cophall Parking
- Help Me Park
- I Love Meet & Greet
- Maple Manor
- Meteor Meet & Greet
- Ace Meet & Greet
- Tudor Rose
The parking for ABC Gatwick, Eco parking, Just Valet Parking and AirParks is all carried out by Approved Operators.
Logos to look out for
You should be able to spot the Approved Operators by looking for the Gatwick Approved Operator logo. The ParkMark and Buy With Confidence logos will also be displayed, so keep an eye out for these.
Not sure what they look like? You'll find the logos here: Gatwick Approved Operator
Benefits of an Approved Operator
One of the obvious benefits of choosing a Gatwick Approved Operator is that you know you’re dealing with a reputable company, that has proper procedures in place to run their parking business. You also know that your car will be parking in a safe, secure car park and that the driver who collected your car has been CRB checked and is insured.
Another benefit is that only Gatwick Approved Operators are permitted to operate on the airport’s forecourts or in the signposted, approved area of the short stay multi-storey car park, so you can’t get closer.
Any Gatwick meet and greet parking company that does not achieve the requirements to become a Gatwick Approved Operator, is not permitted to use the terminal forecourts and has to collect and return vehicles in any other, non-approved areas within the multi-storey car parks, very often the top floor.
A minimum charge of £3 is made every time a car exits these car parks – some companies will pass this charge onto their customers, either at the time of booking or when they collet their car. When booking, always check the small print so that you know what to expect – your parking could be more expensive that you first thought – maybe more than the Approved Operator!
As the car parks at Gatwick are multi-storey, confusion could arise over which floor your driver will be on, so always check which floor of the car park you will be met on.
While some of the non-approved companies are reputable, you have no way of knowing who is who. After all, no one has investigated their operations to make any kind of judgment.
If you insist on using a non-approved valet parking company, make sure it has both a landline telephone number and a mobile number. If you can only find a mobile number on their website, it could indicate that they do not have proper premises, which means they are unlikely to have a registered car park, or a car park at all.
The choice is yours:
Approved or non-approved, you decide, but before you book your Gatwick meet and greet parking, ask yourself whether you’re prepared to take a chance with your car to save a few pounds.
After all, do you really know who’s parking your car and where they will be parking it?
Don't take a chance with your car, book Help Me Park's Gatwick meet and greet parking today!