We can Park your Car – But we can’t make it Fly

At Airparks we offer great value airport parking with transfer options and meet and greet services, airport hotel deals at airports across the UK. In fact – along with our preferred partner Holiday Extras, we can pretty much cover everything you need to make getting to your holiday destination as smooth and comfortable as you would ever wish it to be.

However, we know that in the middle you might have to deal with the stress and strain of getting through security and onboard the actual flight – if we could make your car fly, we would. But we can’t.

Did you know that in the 1960’s it was possible to take yourself AND your car by air across to the continent from some airports. For about £25 you could literally drive aboard a DC4 Carvair cargo plane and off you went! Here’s one at Bristol Airport!

Nowadays – things are a little more conventional. But in case your interest is piqued….here are a few famous flying cars that you might also have heard of – although most of these are purely fiction!

Harry Potter and Ron Weasley’s Ford Anglia
This 1969 model appeared in the 1992 ‘Chamber of Secrets’; ‘7990TD’ was built by Henry Ford but magically transformed by George Weasley to flying condition in order to rescue Harry.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Not everyone realises that James Bond’s creator Ian Fleming was also the writer of ‘Chitty’, but actually the gadget-laden motor fits well with 007’s stable of cars!

Copyright 2005 – 2015 diseno-art.com

Flying Jeep
Properly titled the Hafner Rotabuggy after it’s inventor, this was a WW2 British idea for delivering vehicles to battlefields by air. An autogyro design, it relied on being towed through the air causing it’s rotor to rotate. Amazingly it really did work – but was not entirely a practical proposition. A version using a light tank was quietly shelved…

Scaramanga’s AMC Matador
This could actually fit the categories of both fact and fiction! Built for the Bond movie Man with the Golden Gun, this was the car in which Christopher Lee as villain Scaramanga eluded 007 but adding a wings/tail/power unit to the roof of the car and flying away with his minion NickNack. The car COULD actually fly – but only for about 500 metres – a scale flying model being used for further sequences.

Getting to Grips with Travel Gripes

The Airparks Guide to being a Traveller, not a Holidaymaker

There’s nothing like a holiday to look forward to – and there’s nothing like packing up and making those final preparations to go. Releasing your car into our care is the final piece in the jigsaw before your adventure truly begins. You enter the transfer bus and head off……it’s just such a pain that there’s an airport between you and the freedom of your time away!

What is it about an airport that sends people into a spin? Despite being the gateway to adventure it’s impossible to pass through like a summer breeze – there are a whole host of seemingly unnecessary obstacles. These are called holidaymakers. You of course are not one of them. You are a traveller – an adventurer. Holidaymakers are different; they’re the ones with the annoying habits that are spoiling your fun. You could of course avoid them as much as possible by opting for the tranquility of an airport lounge, but if not, then here’s a list of top gripes. Take note of them – be a traveller not a holidaymaker!

1. Water is a Liquid!
Why is it, that despite the signs, despite the many years that this has been the case, there are still people that don’t realise that liquids must go in a re-sealable see-through plastic bag? Every bottle of water, nail varnish and tube of hand sanitizer in the bulging bin by security represents 3 or 4 minutes of frustrating delay in the queuing process. Bag it before you leave, people!

2. Holding up Security
As you are stuck in the inevitable line through the security checks there are several signs to remind you to remove your belt, your shoes, your coins, your mobile phone, your laptop…..these signs are not just to keep folks in the queue entertained – they mean you have to do it. In the queue. Not beside the irritated security officer. That goes for the other members of the family too.

3. Duty Free for all
Airport shops. You can buy a tube of toothpaste or a multi-thousand pound outfit, a diamond bracelet or a Paddington Bear. Whatever you buy, you need your boarding card to verify your purchase. It’s not because of the tax, it’s because they want your marketing information – but have it ready instead of holding up the line of slightly anxious passengers because you have to locate your other-half who’s patiently guarding the bags.

4. Walking Slowly or Standing Still on Airport Walkways
Walking the moving sidewalks make it easier to get from point A to point B. However, they aren’t a ride and you are not in Disney World yet. Meandering along or stopping to browse your mobile can hold up other travellers and put you in an embarrassing and ungainly position when you reach the end. Keep walking, stay to the right and avoid stopping or blocking the way for others. Oh – and nobody thinks it’s funny when you try to walk on it backwards, or forwards whilst going backwards. Old joke.

5. Boarding Traumas
Now there are several different types of people in an airport boarding lounge. Those that get there as soon as the gate number is called, those that arrive at the last minute in a red-faced flurry, those that queue up before their group number is called, those that edge around the outside of the queue and those that remain nonchalantly in their seats with arrogant confidence that ‘the plane won’t leave without us’. Give it too much thought and any of those types can provide fuel for annoyance.

6. Baggage Offences
In one of our previous posts we gave you the rules and guidelines around the size allowed for carry-on luggage. Obviously the holidaymakers didn’t read it. Why do they have more than one bag? A suitcase that doesn’t seem to fit down the isle despite their insistence on trying? A bag that will not fit in the locker without someone revealing their bare tummy as they agitate the carefully stowed luggage around it (squashing your neatly folded coat) to make it fit. Then later, just before take off, they remember something in that luggage that they desperately need. And the process begins again.

7. Seat Etiquette
Never has a sanctioned action made so many so irate. The seat recline button is there for a reason and when it’s our turn to press the button it feels reasonable and right to do so. When it’s you that is pinned by your own tray table in an already restricted environment, it is absolutely the rudest thing that has ever happened and it seems only right that you should ‘tut’ and shove the seat and jiggle the table in disgust. Or does it? What about the armrest? Shared space or a rule of first come first rest? Invasion of territory is a real blood boiler on an aeroplane.

8. All about Timing
Why is it that some people hover their finger over the seatbelt release as if their life depends on it? When that release seatbelt light pings – are there prizes for the first to the draw? No! These are the people who decide that it’s ok to walk around while the flight attendants are heading towards us with the food and drinks trolley, the ones that need to get their book from the overhead locker just as you find a comfortable position for your tiny cushion to support your sleepy head.

9. Overstepping the Carousel
Ok – so this might not be so bad in the excitement of reaching your holiday destination, but you can bet your last piece of foreign currency that it’ll be the straw that breaks the camel’s back when you’re on your way home. Why oh why do they find it necessary to crowd around the baggage carousel desperate to be the first to retrieve their luggage? Not only does it mean that you have no view of yours, but it also means that when you do see it, it’s a scrabble to reach, an effort to pull it off and you are likely to injure yourself in the process.

Mind Your Ps and Avoid the Queues!

Your holiday is all booked. You’ve worked for it, waited for it – and paid for it! Finally the day is nigh.

Most of us will be travelling to the airport by car, and it will often involve a few hundred miles of motoring – more than our everyday commute or school run.

The last thing we would want is to hit the buffers with a car-snag before we even get to the Airparks car park (or indeed on the way home afterwards) so what tips are there to reduce the stress and the risk to a minimum?

Let’s break it down into three sections – Mind your Ps!

  • Planning the Journey
  • Preparing the Vehicle
  • Providing for the Passengers

Planning the Journey really does matter!

Start from the point of making sure what time you MUST be at the Terminal by (and monitor any security issues that might mean an earlier arrival) and calculate back from there, working in your route to the Airparks location and transfer-to-terminal time. You can keep an eye on our Airparks Newsfeed to make sure you know if there are any snags en route. We will also keep updating our social media feeds with traffic reports too.

Add an hour for unexpected traffic chaos, dial in some coffee time, and never ever leave yourself tight for time – you simply don’t need the stress of a rushed journey.

Airport hotels offer the chance to start or end your holiday with a touch luxury. They are also a practical and convenient solution to the problem of arriving back to the airport late at night or having to depart early in the morning. Rather than endure a tiring drive home late at night after a draining flight, book a hotel near the airport. You can be in a warm, comfortable bed within minutes of stepping of the plane, and awake the next morning refreshed for the last part of your journey home.

Research the route and get it programmed into your magical electronic gadgets; you might even make some old-fashioned paper/pen/map provisions in case you forget to charge your device!

Time spent planning is rarely wasted.

Preparing the Vehicle is perhaps the most frequently overlooked part of our travel plans. We take it for granted that our modern cars will do what we want, without letting us down. But a few simple checks can go a long way to alleviating the risk of a breakdown.

Here is a simple aide memoir – POWDER

P – Petrol (And this includes Diesel!) So many motorists ‘break down’ for lack of fuel; will you have enough for the mileage (there AND back?) and where can you refuel if you need to? Fill up before you travel – one less job to do on the day.
O – Oil. When DID you last check yours?
W – Water. Coolant and screenwash. A clean screen makes driving – and especially night driving – so much easier and safer.
D – Damage. Does anything need rectifying before you leave?
E – Electrics. Does everything work? ALL the lights checked?
R – Rubber. Tyres and Wipers! Check your pressures, and make sure you have plenty of tread; get any dubious tyres examined or changed.

Providing for Passengers can go a long way to giving you a stress-free journey – especially if you will be travelling with children.

Food and drink, games, books, movies, stops for a leg-stretch or loo – have them all ready. Make sure you will have enough charge or chargers for all the devices in the car!

Most of all – enjoy the trip, and enjoy the Airparks service!

Strike a Pose! Your Car is on Camera 24/7

We take security very seriously – that’s why our car parks have been awarded the Park Mark by the police for meeting a stringent set of criteria for crime-prevention and security measures. One of these measures is our high quality CCTV camera systems that are monitored 24/7. That’s not an optional extra – it comes as standard and you don’t have to do anything to get your car especially noticed…unlike these cars! Here’s a small gallery of photographs of some ‘pimped-up rides’ that we have found. Strike a pose…

Surely this is taking ‘smart’ to a whole new level!

Is there such a thing as too much pink?

This car could give you wings….or maybe not.

Of course when you mix ‘flying’ and ‘car’ this might be what you have in mind! This one actually has wings…

Not sure which of these three crazy cop cars you might prefer to see in your mirror!

Always a favourite for some cool conversions, VW Campers are inspirational – big, small or long! And we can accommodate whichever size of car you need.

This Diamond Swarovski crystal covered Mercedes might need more than a CCTV camera to keep an eye on it!

Hmmmm we might need a bigger parking space…

…or a ladder!

Park, Lock and Walk Away

I know, sounds like a firm of solicitors.

But it’s no joke! At Airparks we are serious about security and are proud of the high level that we offer our customers when they trust their vehicle to our care and head for their flight.

That’s why all the car parks featured on airparks.co.uk have excellent security facilities and procedures.

In fact – the car parks are so safe that the Police, who consider them to be at the top-end in terms of security, have awarded us the Park Mark. This is only given to responsible parking operators whose facilities meet a stringent set of criteria set out by the police for crime-prevention and security measures. So when you leave your car in an Airparks car park, you can travel with peace of mind that it is in good hands.

Because we are so passionate about keeping cars secured, we have gathered together some tips from the Police that will take the risk as close to zero as possible whenever you have to leave it in any other car park or public location.

  • Simplest of all – make sure you lock the car. Travel, a day out shopping, or a school run can be a stressful business and it is surprisingly easy to forget to lock and check the vehicle
  • Similarly make sure all windows, doors and sunroof are secured
  • Use any alarm or immobiliser fitted in the car whenever possible
  • Do not leave any Car Parking tickets in the vehicle if they are ‘pay at end of stay’. Should a thief wish to remove your vehicle it will be that much easier for them if they have the ticket
  • Remove temptation; if a potential thief can see something valuable just on the other side of the window, he will be tempted to smash and grab. Lock away or otherwise put out of sight anything that you DO leave behind in your car.  Handbags, rucksacks, a few pounds in car park change, CD’s, and even device leads that might suggest the presence of valuable electronics. All are tempting targets
  • SatNavs – take it off the screen, hide it away – also remove the suction clamp AND the ring-marks on the glass. Don’t leave clues!
  • If you have a car with an exposed loadspace, take a dark blanket with you to throw over any small items left behind; this reduces the risk of things being noticed in the first place. But be aware that lumps under a coat or blanket invite suspicion if observed!
  • Make sure there is nothing on view bearing your address; if a thief knows that you are out then your house a) becomes a target for burglary and b) any car keys found there may well be brought to your car to steal it
  • Leave no vehicle documentation in the car
  • Consider fitting theft-resistant number plates to reduce the risk of the car or its identity be used elsewhere

Grindstone Getaway – 8 Tips to Switch off and Re-Charge

There’s nothing like the feeling of pressing the ‘book it now’ button when you’ve found the holiday you like, well – until the glorious moment that you fill in your annual leave form at work, that is.

The sparkle of that approaching holiday is something that can get you through the days at your desk gazing out of the window at someone enjoying a coffee with friends (why aren’t they at work?) or the photos of your Facebook friends at happy-hour somewhere tropical, or even moments in a grey boardroom.

It’s all wonderful….until the holiday is actually upon you. Suddenly the work ramps up, emails flood in, meetings you HAVE to attend coincide with your last day in the office. Swiftly the thought crosses your mind that you cannot possibly go on holiday.

It’s important to remember that you should be able to take time off without being or feeling compromised.

A holiday allows the mind and body to recover from the mental and physical pressures of your job. But the concept of ‘switching off’ is stressful. The lack of control means that a mobile device is often a way of ‘touching base’.

During the holiday, the thought of getting back to the daily grind can have you weighed down with dread, knowing that the second you cross the office threshold you’ll be hit with 100 ‘urgent’ tasks and an inbox full of emails.

German vehicle-maker Daimler has an innovative approach to staff taking holidays and being bothered by their technology. Email their staff while on leave and you’ll get a message that says; “I am on vacation. I cannot read your email. Your email is being deleted. Please contact Hans or Monika if it’s really important, or resend the email after I’m back in the office.”

The auto-delete policy – which is optional – follows a piece of government-funded research on work-life balance, which Daimler carried out in 2010 and 2011 with psychologists from the University of Heidelberg. The company now trains managers to set a good work-life example. Daimler’s move follows Volkswagen’s decision to turn email off after office hours and new guidelines in France ordering workers in some sectors to ignore work emails when they go home.

Andy Dallas, Associate Director of Robert Half UK works with leading companies to locate highly skilled professionals in the areas of finance & accounting. He says; “With global technology these days it doesn’t matter whether you are on the other side of the world or not. Many professionals feel chained to their desks, mentally and virtually. But if you are willing to work on holiday does that automatically make you a good employee? Not always. Working while you are away contradicts the idea of annual leave – to re-motivate and re-energise.”

With this in mind, here are some top tips to prepare, switch off and enjoy a stress-free holiday:

  • Provide plenty of notice of your leave and remind everyone regularly of the date you go.
  • Block out your time and prioritise what needs to be done before you go. Stop making giant to-do lists or flagging “urgent” emails. Instead look at your days left and figure out where you have blocks of time to really focus and engage on what needs to be done before you go. Tie up those loose ends – don’t create new ones!
  • Reduce meeting time lengths in the week before you go. Announce that you are going on holiday and that only things that need to be done before you leave take priority.
  • Learn to delegate. Identify exactly what needs to be done and by when and provide a thorough handover! You’ll be less stressed knowing that somebody capable is covering your work. Supplying a thorough and complete handover will also help to display leadership potential to your employers. Make sure you leave yourself a note of what you have given to whom – it’s amazing how time away can erase some of that detail.
  • Set up an ‘Out of Office’ alert in your email inbox, informing people you are away and when you will return. But make sure that you have given polite warning to clients that this will be the case. It helps to develop and maintain relationships.
  • If emails that came through at the start of holiday haven’t been dealt with by the time you return and no-one has ‘kicked off’ and is waiting at your office door when you do, then they probably weren’t that important anyway. Start with the most recent and work backwards. The email replies to correspondence 2-weeks old can be amusing – in future, they’ll think twice before emailing when you’re on holiday again.
  • The first few days back will be busy, so with this in mind, don’t overcommit to meetings or new projects. Trying to cram too much could have consequences impact negatively upon your work.
  • Book yourself a special treat or two to look forward to when you return, such as a Valet Service and Greet Service from Airparks.

Forget those guilty pleasures – here’s some really sexy tips

With the VAT going back up to 17.5% in January 2010, it has left a lot of people wondering whether a holiday abroad is affordable again this year. With the rise of inflation, particularly in fuel, it means the cost of living has become more expensive. In short, it means holidays and travelling to the airport will become an even pricier affair.

I don’t know about you, but for me, getting away at some point during the year is essential. There’s only so much I can take of dear old Blighty and the grind of daily life, so an escape is mandatory. The only problem it poses is that unescapable issue… money.

Capitalism is the dominant culture, meaning that money is pretty much the deciding factor when it comes to taking a trip or holiday. And as unfortunate as it sounds, that’s the way it is. So, what can we do and what do we do?
We’ve heard it all, credit-crunching offers, biggest ever sales, special offers to beat the recession – it’s our only way of taking away the guilty pleasure of consumption. If we know we’re getting that good deal, it doesn’t make getting what we want quite so bad.

Putting those guilty pleasures aside, what about a less sexy topic – airport parking. Yes, it isn’t the most riveting subject. But it’s something that everyone needs if they’re driving to the airport, so I guess you could call it an essential. So, how can we help you save cash on your essentials?
We have over eighteen years’ experience in airport parking and it is our forte, so I guess it’s fair to say we probably have a good idea of the best money saving tips and pointers.

So, without further ado, cutting all of the credit-crunching jargon, here’s our top five tips to saving money on airport parking…

1) Tattoo it on your forehead and sticky note your house – always pre-book as early as possible, never turn up on the day and pay the gate prices

2) Search the mountain tops for a best price guarantee – actually, just click here, it’s a lot easier

3) Pre-book and sign-up for email newsletters – you’ll get sent discounts and offers to your inbox to help you save even more next time

4) Don’t park your car on the runway – off-airport parking is close to the airport, up to 60% cheaper than the gate prices and offers FREE transfers

5) Compare airport parking – don’t just turn up, shop around. Airparks compare rates continually and with 24 hour pricing, it means we’re always up-to-date

So, the motto of this blog is pre-book and save – it makes sense.

Published by Ross Barnard on March 11, 2010

pre-book and save - used under creative commons licence from joeshlabotnik

Airport parking is boring – Just how we like it

Airport parking is one of those things that isn’t particularly interesting or exciting – in fact, it’s actually quite boring. It isn’t a product we desire to buy, it’s just one of those things that we need when going away.

So, airport parking isn’t interesting, neither is it fun or compelling – but would you really want it to be? We already know it’s boring and maybe that’s for a pretty good reason. We want our car to be safe and secure, we wouldn’t want to leave it in a car park in the hands of international flame-throwing artistes’ or motorbike stunt fanatics in action.
We want to leave our car in good faith, knowing it will be there as we left it on our return.

Airparks Gatwick

Is there anything we can extract from the pretty much dull world of airport parking that remotely holds something to raise a smile? Well, there’s a couple of things that are at least enough to show you an insight into saving money and making the right choice. That could be enough to raise a smile, or enough to save you time, hassle and cash when making that uninspiring choice.

Well, without making this sound too exciting, let’s cut to the chase and grab airport parking by the horns. Off-airport, on-airport, valet or meet and greet parking – a varied choice of parking options to tickle your fancy.
Let’s look at it this way, you’re probably going to be looking for the best price, or for a service that is completely hassle-free and time efficient.
At Airparks – we aim to provide airport parking at budgets to suit all pockets. Whether you’re looking for a great price on eight days’ Park and Ride, or you’re looking to be met at the airport – our prices guarantee great value for everyone.

Our car parks may be pretty unexciting and uneventful – which isn’t a bad thing, but our staff aren’t. Giving service with a smile and going that extra mile, it’s just another thing that makes us stand out from the rest. If your car battery is flat or you need a jump start, our staff will be there to assist in any way possible.
But what really makes good airport parking? What do you expect when you go to an airport car park? Well, this is how we think good airport parking should be. You want your car to be in safe hands, with quick transfers to-and-from the airport. You want a friendly and helpful service, hassle-free from start to finish and free from gripes and mishaps. More importantly including all these qualities, you’ll also want a price that makes you feel like you aren’t being ripped off.

If you think that’s how airport parking should be – think Airparks.

We’re the UK’s largest off-airport parking operator and have car parks at eight major airports. Check out the links to Airparks Birmingham, Airparks Cardiff, Airparks East Midlands, Airparks Gatwick, Airparks Glasgow, Airparks Luton, Airparks Manchester Handforth Dean, Airparks Newcastle.

Published by Ross Barnard on January 19, 2010