The Pros and Cons of Using Airport Parking Apps for Reservations and Payments

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Whether you prefer to park with a ticket and cash, or handle your reservations entirely online, one thing is for sure – airport parking applications open a brand new world of possibilities. With the rise of apps such as SpotHero, Way and ParkMobile, much debate has arisen if it’s even worth the move to applications. If you’re unsure, or on the fence about this new technology, read on for our guide to the pros and cons of using airport parking apps so you can park comfortably.


Paperless Technology

Using an airport parking application for reservations and payments comes with a major benefit: it’s entirely paperless! Going digital is highly convenient, as this reduces clutter in your car, wallet, bag, and backpack. This means no rummaging around for parking information while in traffic, at the lot, or in the frantic last minutes leaving home to make your flight. Paperless options mean one less thing to keep track of – and an important one, amid all of the other physical documents you may be handling during a trip like passports, boarding passes, itineraries and coupons. The possibility of technical issues and printer issues is also much lower with these streamlined application experiences. Sidestep printer errors, running out of ink or not even owning a printer. In recent years, the sophistication of mobile apps have given them a large advantage in ensuring your information is secure in comparison to paper format. Calendars can auto-sync to your parking reservation, making it easy for you to see your reservation number and related dates. Cloud technology can hold the information for you, so you don’t have to have anything in-hand other than your device. Finally, digital tools to find coupons can also sync to the applications, making it easy for you to find cheaper parking if it’s available.. This helps make for a more smooth, seamless, and organized trip. Working with paperless technology also allows for a smaller margin of error in comparison to physical formats, which can easily be misprinted or mislabeled. The last benefit? Paperless has a huge ecological benefit, reducing the carbon footprint you leave behind.

Ease of use

Travelers who are new to using third party parking services will also appreciate the amount of support and the intuitive designs available from many airport parking mobile apps, along with the developers’ focus on ease of use. Using websites come with a list of possible design issues and don’t always allow for mobility – important to consider for those who might need to make a last-minute change of plans. The real-time, live updates nature of mobile parking applications also allows for more convenience at every part of your parking experience. Many have integration for common map services such as Google Maps or Apple Maps, guiding you from your first step out the door all the way to your lot or garage! Some even have live tracking for parking availability and provide a guide inside the lot and garage itself, going the extra mile from your home to your reserved parking spot. This is definitely a faster approach than being personally directed by airport staff to a specified lot, or being directed to a free spot, perfect for those operating on tighter schedules. Applications also generally support a wider variety of payment methods, which works out well if you prefer to use a certain mobile wallet or card for your travels, whether for extra reward points or just convenience. They also provide a great way to look at parking history and transaction information all in one place, as opposed to having to browse through your emails or worse, physically file and store all your papers from trips! 

Many mobile parking applications also like to reward their loyal customers in many ways – a great advantage to consider if you are a frequent flier, whether for work, leisure, family or all of the above. These rewards can come in the form of exclusive access to promotional discounts, special offers, coupons or limited time specials only available through the app! This can make a huge difference in savings against competitors in web format or physical kiosks. Parking spots, garages, addresses and payment information can also be saved on mobile devices to make parking even faster – no more reading off your credit card digits and fumbling with your wallet to make a payment! Not to mention, the use is just faster overall, with many applications focused on maximizing efficiency. 


Airport parking providers that have branched out to applications typically also have more comprehensive support in the form of longer hours of availability and more mediums for contact, like phone, text, email, and live chat as opposed to just one or two of these options. On Air Parking, for example, has a text-friendly number, a number for phone calls, and an email address for customers to reach them at. Information is usually relayed a lot faster to the customer on a more efficient scale: consider the difference between a notification on your phone simply reading ‘Level Four parking full’ as opposed to your email with an entirely irrelevant headline and introduction text before filling you in on the actual update. Mobile applications frequently have translation integration and multilingual support, especially useful for those traveling abroad who might be dealing with a language barrier, or if you’re recommending a parking experience for someone visiting the United States who doesn’t know English. 


Technology reliant 

However, no one parking option is devoid of disadvantages – there will always be a trade off for any option you choose with traveling. One of the most immediate and obvious is that your parking, if done through the phone, will be very reliant on your device. This means if your phone is damaged to the point of being unable to function, runs out of battery or is low on signal, which is a rare, but possible event in some areas near airports, you may have difficulties parking. Many airports have designated Cell Lots you can take advantage of, but they can be difficult to navigate to, especially if your lot is on the opposite side from the Cell Lot. Granted, with the importance of mobile phones in this age being used for more than just communication, this may be an unlikely event, but it’s still a valid concern and a disadvantage compared to the permanence and infinite ‘battery life’ of a printed document. 

Regarding data, if you are traveling internationally and do not have a carrier that provides free international data, texting, and calling via their partners, you may spend additional money incurring roaming charges. These applications need connection to the internet to function, predominantly making use of mobile data. If you have a mobile phone carrier that doesn’t provide international coverage for travel, not even at reduced speeds, this may be an important point to consider. 

The range of phone models, particularly those phones running Android software, is so large that the application may have difficulties running on your device. Whether it’s displaying incorrectly, missing a feature, or not integrating well with another part of the phone, this is another big disadvantage. Typically, Apple users will have less of a risk due to the relatively smaller range of models and their consistency in design, but not every application is designed to work optimally with every phone model and software. 

Not to mention that technological errors can occur for whatever other reason – which could jeopardize parking and cause extra stress, and isn’t a concern when it comes to paper records and stubs.

Finally, being via application, you may not have the ability to pay with cash! This might be another point to consider if you are wanting to break a note for further use during your trip, or just prefer to have your transaction be handled in paper money in order to keep your bank accounts secure. 

Not as accessible for the non – tech savvy 

Especially for elderly travelers or those hard of vision, the same layout and experience that comes naturally to many travelers may be too difficult of a transition. The difference in layout, use, and smaller text sizes could prove to be too much of a hassle for an older traveler to learn, making the experience inconvenient and a cause for frustration in comparison to simply paying online or at a kiosk. For these travelers, it may be a much better option to remain with the parking method they are familiar with. 

Variety of layouts 

Related to our last point, the sheer variety of layouts is another learning curve that could be more challenging than it’s worth – and frankly speaking, some applications are not as well-designed as others. This may cause someone to choose the wrong feature by accident, be unable to find an important piece of information, or just be the cause of too much stress in a situation where there are already so many other moving parts to account for.  

Regardless of your choice for online reservations, or ones handled over the phone with a customer service agent, On Air Parking has got you covered. Customer service is available 10am-7pm EST, Monday through Friday, available by text at 424-532-8940, and available for calls at 888-487-2754. You can also email at if you prefer to have a paper trail behind your customer service experiences. Don’t miss out on using the OAP app, either, available on both Android and Apple devices now.

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