Holidaymakers face huge price differences for airport parking
HOLIDAYMAKERS can avoid rip-off car parking rates by shopping around for the cheapest deals long before they take off for the sun.
Those who simply turn up and park as near as possible to the terminal could be landed with a bill for up to €280 for a week's parking -- compared with just €35 if you book to park a little further away.
The Consumers' Association of Ireland has advised people to seek out the best parking deal possible before they fly.
A survey by the Irish Independent revealed huge discrepancies between the cheapest and dearest parking deals, with online offers almost always better value.
Even at Dublin Airport's hugely expensive short-term car park, consumers can cut their bill drastically by booking a week's parking in June, July or August for just €70 -- compared to €280 if you pay the full daily €40 rate. The catch is you have to book by next Tuesday. Dublin Airport Authority also offers ongoing discounts on its long-term car parking rates for advance bookings -- the nearest long-term "Red" car park costs €52.50 for a week booked online, a 21pc discount on the standard €66.50 rate.
For their more remote "Blue" long-term car park, the discount is 13pc, with a week booked online costing €45.50 compared to the standard rate of €52.50.
A DAA spokesperson said that online pre-booking had become very popular. Passengers who could not travel because of the volcanic ash crisis could get a refund, while those stranded abroad for longer than planned were not charged extra for the delay.
The cheapest deals we found were for the Carlton Hotel on the Old Airport Road, which charges €35 for a week's parking and is open to non-residents; and €38.50 with the Crowne Plaza, both sourced through www.airportparkingsite.ie.
Bewley's Airport Hotel in Clonshaugh advertises parking rates of €4.50 per day, but these are only available for stays of over 14 days. Normally, you'd pay €45.50 for a week.
At €85 a week, a service called Swiftpark will meet you at the terminal, take your car to the car park and then return it to you when you come back.
Cork and Shannon airports do not offer customers online booking facilities or discounts at their car parks, and although their short-term daily parking rates are half the price of Dublin's, the price of a week's long-term parking is more expensive, costing €47.50 at Shannon and €49 at Cork.
There are cheaper deals available, however, such as €34 for a week at Airport View parking with transfer to Cork Airport.
Belfast International Airport charges much less online than most airports in the Republic, but again there is a huge discrepancy between advance and standard rates.
A week in their long-term car park costs €64 if you arrive without booking, nearly twice the €33 charged if you pay in advance. However short-term parking at Belfast can be nearly as expensive as Dublin if you simply turn up, costing up to €39 a day.