The Airport Parking Report
The highs and lows of vacation parking fees
As many of us have been unable to travel over the last year, the prospect of being able to vacation away is an exciting one. However, as things return to normal, many are worried about the costs that a vacation entails. From flights and hotels to food and souvenirs, the expenses tend to add up.
Yet there is one cost that is often overlooked and can catch many unsuspecting travelers off-guard with unexpected charges: airport parking rates. Each airport has its own way of doing things, with some being much more expensive than others. Airports also have different pricing structures and rules for the amount of time you can spend in different lots, which can cause headaches for travelers in a rush to catch their flight.
The best thing you can do to alleviate any stress and concerns is to plan ahead. Check your airport’s website for information on parking rates and rules. This way, you won’t spend too much time and money parking your car when you should be relaxed and ready to get your vacation underway.
With this in mind, we’ve compared each state’s busiest airport, to find out where you can be charged the most for a 24-hour stay. How does your local airport compare?
We looked at the largest airport in every state by the number of commercial passengers, trying to find out which has the highest and lowest fees for a full day’s parking. As parking fees can vary depending on which lot you park in, we’ve found the maximum and minimum costs to stay for a full 24 hour period at each airport.
Airports with the highest maximum daily rates
Airport parking can be both confusing and expensive, especially if you park in a zone that doesn’t suit your needs. For example, if you park in a “short term parking” area by accident, and leave your car there for several days, you’re likely going to have an unpleasant and very expensive surprise on your return.
Therefore, we wanted to find out what the maximum daily rate is at each airport so that even if you park in the wrong place, you’ll know that this is the maximum amount you’ll be liable to pay.
Denver International Airport (DEN), Colorado – $144 maximum daily rate
The airport where you can incur the highest fees is Denver International Airport (DEN) in Colorado, where leaving your car in the short-term area for a whole day will cost you $144.
However, by leaving your car in a more appropriate parking lot this figure can be drastically reduced. For example, in the garage lot, the daily rate is $28, while the economy lot costs $17 per day, dropping to $15 after your third day. Cheaper options that require transport between the airport and the lot are also available.
Jackson Hole Airport (JAC), Wyoming – $100 maximum daily rate
Again, this fee is incurred when parking in the short-term parking lot, where a $5 hourly rate is applied after the first two hours, reaching a maximum of $100 per day. By contrast, the long-term parking lot offers much more affordable rates of $17 per day, showing how important it is to park in the correct area.
O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois – $77 maximum daily rate
Another example of why you should be wary of which lot you’re parking in, the maximum daily rate of $77 at O’Hare International Airport applies if you leave your vehicle parked in the hourly parking area of the main garage. Again, cheaper options are available, with the cheapest being Economy Lot G where it costs $15 for stays between 1 and 24 hours.
Airports with the lowest minimum daily rates
Des Moines International Airport (DSM), Iowa – $4 minimum daily rate
The airport with the lowest daily parking rate is Des Moines International Airport (DSM) in Iowa, where a full day’s parking can cost as little as $4. That’s $4 very well spent, as daily parking rates can soar depending on the airport and where you park.
Three airports tied for second place:
- Will Rogers World Airport (OKC), Oklahoma – $6 minimum daily rate
- Denver International Airport (DEN), Colorado – $6 minimum daily rate
- Eppley Airfield (OMA), Nebraska – $6 minimum daily rate
Three airports tied for the second cheapest minimum daily parking rates, all charging only $6 for a full 24-hour period. Interestingly enough, Denver International Airport has some of the cheapest daily rates and some of the most expensive, so make sure you’re careful where you park next time you visit the Coloradan capital.
Airports with the most expensive average daily rates
Denver International Airport (DEN), Colorado – $75.00 average day rate
Denver International Airport has the most expensive daily parking rates on average, at $75 per day. Having scored well for minimum fees and poorly for maximum fees, this airport’s parking rates are wildly varied between lots, and you can rack up quite the bill if you park in the wrong place.
Jackson Hole Airport (JAC), Wyoming – $58.50 average day rate
Jackson Hole Airport has the second-highest average daily parking rate at $58.50 per day.
O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois – $49.50 average day rate
O’Hare International Airport came third, with a full day’s parking costing $49.50 on average.
Airports with the cheapest average daily rates
Eppley Airfield (OMA), Nebraska – $9 average day rate
Eppley Airfield in Nebraska is the airport with the cheapest average cost for a day’s parking. Having also placed second when comparing the minimum cost of a day’s parking, Eppley Airfield is a reliably good value option for airport parking.
Yeager Airport (CRW), West Virginia – $10 average day rate
Yeager Airport, West Virginia, takes second place for the cheapest average daily parking rates, with the average cost of a 24-hour stay being only $10.
Three tied for third place:
- Sioux Falls Regional Airport (FSD), South Dakota – $10.50 average rate
- Clinton National Airport (LIT), Arkansas – $10.50 average rate
- Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ), New Mexico – $10.50 average rate
These three airports all tied for having the third-best value daily parking rates on average.
Find the best lot for you
Some airports have very simple parking options, while others have multiple choices for you to make. Your best bet is to research the airport ahead of time, so you can review all of the parking options available.
Remember that some of the less expensive options will have you parking further from the terminals, so you may need to allow for extra time so as not to miss your flight.
Some of the farther away parking options also require you to catch a shuttle, a bus, or even a train to get to the airport. Make sure you find out whether these additional travel requirements are free, and if not, how much they’ll set you back.
We wanted to explore how parking rates can vary between different airports. To do this, we looked at the busiest airport in every state in terms of the number of commercial passengers that use it each year.
We then visited each airport’s website to explore the pricing options. The prices we recorded were the maximum amount you could be charged for a daily 24 hour period, and the least you could be charged for a full day’s parking. The airports were then ranked for these figures, with the top ten being presented and explored in more detail. We also used these figures to find the average cost of a day’s parking at each airport.
- Des Moines International Airport
- Denver International Airport
- Will Rogers World Airport
- Eppley Airfield
- Charlotte Douglas International Airport
- St. Louis Lambert International Airport
- Baltimore/Washington International Airport
- Sioux Falls Regional Airport
- Wilmington Airport
- Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport
- Boise Airport
- Bradley International Airport
- Clinton National Airport
- Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
- Indianapolis International Airport
- Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport
- Albuquerque International Sunport
- Salt Lake City International Airport
- Orlando International Airport
- Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport
- Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport
- Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
- Jackson–Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport
- Yeager Airport
- Charleston International Airport
- Eisenhower National Airport
- McCarran International Airport
- Portland International Airport
- Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
- Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
- Honolulu International Airport
- Burlington International Airport
- Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport
- Portland International Jetport
- Nashville International Airport
- Manchester–Boston Regional Airport
- Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
- Detroit Metropolitan Airport
- Jackson Hole Airport
- Theodore Francis Green State Airport
- Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
- Hector International Airport
- Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport
- John F. Kennedy International Airport
- Newark Liberty International Airport
- O’Hare International Airport
- Philadelphia International Airport
- Seattle–Tacoma International Airport
- Boston Logan International Airport
- Los Angeles International Airport
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