What is Short-Term Parking at the Airport?

  • May 27, 2024

  • William Cartwright

What is Short-Term Parking at the Airport?

Navigating airport parking can be one of the most daunting aspects of air travel.

Understanding the options available can help ease some of the stress associated with finding a convenient spot for your vehicle.

One popular choice among travelers is short-term parking. But what exactly is short-term parking at an airport, and how does it work?

Let’s dive into the details.

The Basics of Short-Term Parking

Short-term parking is designed for travelers who need to park their cars for a few hours or less.

This type of parking is typically used for dropping off or picking up passengers, or for travelers who need quick and convenient access to the terminal.

Key Features of Short-Term Parking:

  • Proximity to Terminals: Short-term parking lots are usually located close to the airport terminals, often within walking distance. This makes it easy and quick to get to and from the terminal.
  • Hourly Rates: Unlike long-term parking, which charges daily rates, short-term parking is billed by the hour. This makes it a cost-effective option for brief stays.
  • Ideal for Short Visits: If you’re just dropping off or picking up someone, attending a meeting at the airport, or staying for a few hours, short-term parking is the most convenient choice.

Advantages of Short-Term Parking

Convenience and Accessibility: The primary advantage of short-term parking is its convenience.

These lots are strategically placed to offer the shortest walking distance to the terminals, which is particularly beneficial when you’re in a hurry.

Flexibility: Short-term parking offers great flexibility.

Whether you’re planning a quick trip inside the terminal or need to stay a bit longer, you can pay for only the time you use.

This is especially useful for those unexpected delays or last-minute changes in travel plans.

Safety: Being located closer to the airport terminals often means enhanced security measures. Short-term parking areas are usually well-lit and monitored, providing an added layer of safety for both you and your vehicle.

Cost of Short-Term Parking

Hourly Rates: The cost of short-term parking varies by airport, but it’s generally billed at an hourly rate.

While this can add up quickly if you’re staying longer, it’s perfect for short visits.

For instance, hourly rates might range from $2 to $6 per hour depending on the airport.

Maximum Daily Rates: Some airports cap the maximum daily rate for short-term parking, which can range from $24 to $40.

Although this is higher than long-term parking rates, the convenience it offers can justify the cost for shorter stays.

Examples of Short-Term Parking Rates at Major Airports

At Philadelphia International Airport (PHL):

  • The hourly rate for short-term parking is $4 for the first half hour.
  • Each additional half hour costs $4.
  • The maximum daily rate is $44.

Comparing Short-Term to Long-Term Parking

Purpose and Use: While short-term parking is ideal for brief visits, long-term parking is meant for travelers who need to leave their vehicle at the airport for several days or weeks.

Long-term parking lots are typically farther from the terminals and offer daily or weekly rates.

Cost-Effectiveness: For longer trips, long-term parking is the more economical choice. However, for short durations, the hourly rates of short-term parking provide a more practical solution without the need for shuttle transfers.

Tips for Using Short-Term Parking

Plan Ahead: Before heading to the airport, check the airport’s website for the most current parking rates and availability. This can help you avoid surprises and choose the best option for your needs.

Use Online Tools: Many airports now offer real-time parking availability updates and even allow you to reserve a spot in advance. Using these tools can save you time and reduce stress.

Consider Alternatives: If you find short-term parking to be too expensive, consider using ride-sharing services or public transportation, especially if your stay at the airport is brief.


Short-term parking at the airport is a convenient and flexible option for travelers who need quick access to the terminal.

Whether you’re dropping off a loved one, picking someone up, or making a short visit, short-term parking provides the proximity and ease of access that can make your airport experience smoother and less stressful.

By understanding the features, costs, and benefits of short-term parking, you can make informed decisions and ensure a hassle-free start or end to your journey.

Safe travels!