The Age recently published an article drawing attention to an innovation being introduced at US airports: the mobile phone waiting lot. Since 2004, an increasing number of US airports have incorporated a free of charge area where family and friends picking up arriving passengers can wait in the relative safety and comfort of their cars.
These free car park areas are located near the terminals and provide free wireless internet, as well as screens displaying flight time information, and numbers to call to check estimated arrival times of all flights.
The Age, with typical journalistic glee, compares this service to Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne, which, like the airports in other capital cities do not provide designated short term free parking (although some airports do offer a limited free “grace” period). Australian meeters and greeters tend to park illegally along access roads to the terminals or use nearby sites such as fast food outlets and service stations in order to avoid the payment of any parking fee at all.
There may be an interesting lesson to learn from this trend in the US as long as the necessary controls are implemented to ensure such facilities are not abused.