When the Wright Amendment expired last October, I don’t think Southwest or Dallas Love Field realized how much demand there was going to be for flights to these new non-stop destinations. Traffic is up by nearly 40% for Southwest alone. With the addition of Virgin America, demand is even higher. As a result, the parking facilities at Love Field are struggling to keep up. The current A and B parking garages feature Tolltag-enabled parking to 7000 available spaces. For mid-week travelers though this often means arriving to find both the A and B garages nearly at capacity if not sold out all together. Luckily, they have already started on a new parking garage bringing an additional 4000 spaces to the airport. That’s good new in the long term but it doesn’t help you now.
What can you do now?
- First, give yourself extra time – I used to be able to park in the same spot in Parking Garage A and make it to my gate in a matter of minutes. Not any more. Plan ahead and give yourself more time to find a spot.
- Use Valet Parking – Valet parking, provided by Sewell, can be found on the right as you are approaching the terminal. I used this last week and it worked great. The price is a little higher at $24 per day, but well worth the trouble. They even can fill your car up on gas or wash your car while you are gone for an extra charge. Just know that sometimes the valet lot fills up as well, so this may not be an option.
- Reserve a spot at a third party garage – Garages like the Parking Spot are only $10.50 per day and you can guarantee yourself a spot for $4.95. You can also try, the Parking Spot 2 and Best Parking.
- Get dropped off – for the business traveler, this is rarely practical. If it’s an option though, have someone drop you off so you don’t have to worry about it.
- Follow @DallasLoveField on twitter and check before you go. When the parking garages are nearing capacity, the Dallas Love Field twitter account will post details about it. It’s always a good idea to check this on your way out.
Southwest also recommended using public transportation such as DART, a taxi, or a car service. While this may work for some of us. For the vast majority of us in the metroplex, we’re simply too far away for this to be feasible or economical.
The expiration of the Wright Amendment has transformed Love Field. It’s great for travelers and the local business that occupy it. After speaking to a few of the merchants, business is up by 30% – 40% already. Love Field is busier now, so be sure and plan for that the next time you go.