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Dont get caught out by cowboy meet & greet operators. We show you what to look for and what to do.

Meet & Greet Parking – Avoiding the Parking Cowboys

UKACP - Meet and Greet Airport ParkingNaturally when you’re jetting off on holiday, you want to make sure that everything relating to your trip runs smoothly. This is why many people look to book a Meet & Greet service for their airport parking that provides convenience and peace of mind that your car is safe and secure during your vacation.

In theory, a ‘Meet & Greet’ should mean that you drop your car off outside the airport where it will be collected and driven by the company to a secure compound that is monitored 24/7. Then on your return they will greet you at arrivals with your car, allowing you to get straight on to your next destination.

However, there have been numerous horror stories in the news over the past few years, where unsuspecting customers have paid for a premium ’Meet & Greet’ service at a number of UK airports to keep their car safe, only to discover that it has been far from secure and run by ‘parking cowboys’.

In some cases, where ‘parking cowboys’ have claimed secure compounds with 24 hour CCTV surveillance, cars have been dumped in completely unsecure and un-attended locations including muddy fields, outside strip-clubs and crime ridden residential streets, as well as being driven around – far from what you expect from this type of service.  

Criminals Exposed

Just last summer, the Daily Mail uncovered shocking practices being carried out by a company who provided valet airport parking for Heathrow and Gatwick. Undercover reporters, booked three cars fitted GPS tracking devices in for airport parking services with this company. The GPS trackers revealed that in each case the cars were parked in various unsecure locations in the surrounding areas, which included residential streets and industrial estates.

Another high profile case reported back in September 2014, was a holiday maker who left his beloved £34,000 Mercedes with a parking company near Gatwick Airport who promised security and peace of mind. On his return he found 800 extra miles on the clock. Through Police investigation it later transpired the car had been used in four different counties on seven different days during his two week vacation, despite the company saying their CCTV showed the car had consistently remained in the secure compound.

View our blog post relating to a typical story about an unscrupulous parking operator from Gatwick

But despite these types of stories making the headlines, there are still un-reputable parking companies who think they can get away with flouting the laws and scamming customers. This makes it even more important to know exactly who is keeping your car secure and where.

When you book with UK Airport Car Parks you can have peace of mind that as a customer, all our providers have been fully vetted to ensure they provide the exact service they advertise with all their services, including Meet & Greet.

Look for the ‘Park Mark’ Award

The first thing to do is check the airport parking provider’s credentials. Whilst it may say on their website that they provide a fully-secure compound for vehicles and have pictures to prove it, this doesn’t necessarily mean they do. The above mentioned company had all this, but the actual service was far from what they portrayed on their website.

Before you book, do some research and always look out for the Park Mark Award that demonstrates they operate high standards of security and the premises have been approved by a trained Police officer. This will ensure you avoid the cowboys and have confidence that your vehicle is being kept as stated in the agreement – in a safe and secure facility.

You can view our blog post about what does the Park Mark award actually mean?

Maple Manor Meet and Greet Parking at Gatwick Airport

Go with a Reputable, Well-established Provider

Whoever you entrust your vehicle to, it’s always good practice to go with a well-established and reputable firm. One of the family run providers we work with for parking at Gatwick Airport is Maple Manor Parking.

Established since 1992 as a small Meet & Greet operation running from their family home, they are now the largest independent provider of combined Airport Meet & Greet and Park and Ride services in the UK; offering secure Meet & Greet parking services at seven UK airports, including Gatwick, always delivering on customers service and high levels of security.

They operate with fully insured drivers who are CRB checked and the latest technology with date and photographic damage reports and bespoke parking software that records every movement of the vehicle.

Ace Meet and Greet Parking at Gatwick AirportAnother key provider at Gatwick Airport, where some of the headline scandals have been reported, is ACE Parking Meet & Greet. They work in association with the British Parking Association ‘Park Mark’ initiative and West Sussex ‘Buy With Confidence’ scheme to ensure they provide high levels of security and professionalism at every level.

They also provide the same levels of service at Heathrow, Southampton, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Southend and Stansted Airport too. They use uniformed and fully insured drivers to pick up and drop off your cars; along with car parking facilities that operate secure lighting, security patrols and 24 hour surveillance. Plus they are Gatwick Airport Approved, so you can have complete confidence in the service you’re paying for.

Check the Customer Feedback

Of course, there are plenty of other reputable companies that operate outside of Gatwick and Heathrow, such as APH Airport Parking and Hotels at Manchester Airport. They offer a full range of airport parking services that includes a premium Meet & Greet, and have won the Best Airport Parking Company Award four years running. In addition from over 74,000 customers who took part in a customer survey, 91% cited they would be likely to use their services again.

Plane Meet and Greet Parking at Edinburgh AirportIf you’re travelling from Edinburgh Airport, then Plane Parking offer great deals and high quality Meet & Greet Services. All their car parking locations are Park Mark accredited with regular security patrols and 24 hour CCTV in operation. With outstanding feedback, they stand out as one of our leading Meet & Greet providers at Edinburgh Airport for price, peace of mind and security.

Get the VIP Treatment You Deserve

Skypark Secure also offer excellent Meet & Greet Services for Birmingham International Airport suitable for business customers, families or disabled passengers. Whatever your circumstances you can conveniently arrive at the airport terminal drop off, where you’ll be met by a fully insured driver who will transfer your vehicle to a secure compound, plus they’ll be waiting with your car in the same location on your return home.

All their car park facilities have been inspected and approved by a trained Police Officer, are fully equipped with modern security surveillance equipment in operation 24/7 and are continually assessed to maintain the Park Mark certification.

Drivefly Meet and Greet Parking at Luton AirportFor those jetting off for some summer sun from Luton Airport, using companies like Drivefly for your Meet & Greet will ensure you get quality service and that your car is being left in capable hands.

Established in 2009 they have become one of the UK’s fastest growing Valet Parking companies with bases at Luton, Heathrow and Gatwick. They provide their Meet & Greet Services 7 days a week, including school holidays and bank holidays to ensure they’re always there when you need them.
With any Meet & Greet service the key is to do your research and always go with a reputable company, like those recommended by UK Airport Car Parks. Keep your eyes peeled for the ‘Park Mark’ or other approved statuses that will give you the assurance that your Meet & Greet service will be exactly what it should be - simple, convenient, great value for money and hassle free. 

Click here to view our other page about Safer Parking at UK Airports.

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