Wellington airport’s a pain. It’s free and easy to drop someone off: drive up to the door, let the passenger out of the car, give them their bags and drive away.
Picking people up is a whole different matter, though, so it’s interesting to hear today that Air NZ is getting stuck into the airport:
Air New Zealand blame[s] the airports for making travel expensive.
It says they have a monopoly and can make scandalous levels of profit through departure taxes and excessive car parking charges.
[Via Radio New Zealand News: Air NZ launches campaign over airport fees.]
I know nothing of departure taxes, but the parking fees at Wellington Airport have been outrageous for a very long time now.
For starters, you have to park in order to pick someone up, even when it’s not a whole ‘meet and greet’ deal.
My partner and I now often use a system where she texts me when she’s ready to be collected. I wait nearby (maybe at the Lyall Bay beach) and then pick her up from beside the road just past the parking area. That’s a huge pain, of course, so more often we just grit our teeth and pay the ridiculous fees for parking for 5 minutes. And resent the airport mightily.
Once upon a time, before the airport upgrade, you could have something like 20 minutes free. That was long enough to stop, pick up an arrival, and head out again.
Once it started to cost, people used to just cruise through the drop-off area to quickly pick up arriving passengers, but the signs forbidding that practice got bigger and bigger and more prominent, and now they have parking wardens watching with eagle eyes for offenders.
The whole airport carpark is a disaster. They have several different parks: Premium, Uncovered and Value, although it’s entirely unclear what the difference is — though part is undercover, and I guess that would be the premium park. But walking from the terminal (with baggage) to the car involves various sections where you have to stroll along the road because the footpath just doesn’t exist. It’s a carpark for cars, not an area where travellers can move from one mode of transport to another.