Recently I took a trip to Varadero, Cuba and needed to get to the airport really early. In true “Cheap Dude” fashion, I started to think about the cheapest ways to get to the airport. I ended up deciding on driving to Pearson and using one of the overnight lots and felt that Park’N Fly would be the best choice as they are the most well known and I don’t like to leave my baby with just anyone! I also decided that I wanted to start reviewing more products and services on this blog (not just restaurants) and thought this would be a great way to kick it off as it would fit in well to my travel section. I had originally planned to stay in the economy or self-park lots (because I am cheap) but after reaching out to Park’N Fly on Twitter they offered me a free week in their valet lot as well as something for one of the reader’s of this blog post so I decided to give it a go.

My History With Park’N Fly / Before I Left

Before I get started with my review I want to give you a bit of a background about my history of using Park’N Fly. I have booked at Park’N Fly at least 5 or 6 times over the years and I have always used their self park and economy lots due the pricing. I have always been very curious about their valet “drop ‘n go” service and wanted to see if it is really worth the increase in price.

When I mentioned to my girlfriend that Park’N Fly had offered me a chance to try out the valet service she immediately advised that I use one of their other lots. She told me that many years ago she had heard a story where some Park’N Fly employee had taken a customer’s car for what was considered to be longer than normal usage and I had to admit that I didn’t really like leaving my keys behind. I also did my own investigations and came across some reviews that mentioned there had been some thefts from cars. My first reaction was to skip trying the valet service altogether, but in the end I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and give it a try.

Departure Day

3:45 AM: Crap! My alarm failed to go off and I had overslept. Our flight was at 6:20 so we needed to get to the airport ASAP. After quickly hurrying to get ready we were on our way to the airport for 7 days of fun in the sun.

4:20 AM: We arrive at the Park’N Fly Valet lot and I pull in behind another vehicle that had recently been dropped off.

Park'N Fly Entrance

Park’N Fly Entrance – Probably shouldn’t be taking pictures while driving… oops!

4:22 AM: After a super-quick check-in process (no-lineup) I hand the keys over to my car in hopes that she gets the attention she deserves while I am gone. We head outside and there are already 3 shuttle buses waiting to go. Already loving this! Unfortunately we are so tired we hardly notice any of the cool stuff that Park’N Fly Valet has to offer (fortunately we see it all on the way back).

Park'N Fly Lounge

Park’N Fly Lounge / Waiting Area

 

4:28 AM: I am guessing the time on this one, but the driver doesn’t wait for the bus to fill up and takes just the 2 of us to the terminal immediately. This is awesome because I hate waiting (especially when I am running late)! The driver is surprisingly upbeat and looks to be having a great time even considering the time in the morning. He even helps with the loading and unloading of our baggage.

Park'N Fly Buses Waiting

Line-up of Park’N Fly Buses

So far this experience is off to a great start but in my rush I realize I don’t remember to hide any valuables in the car as suggested so fingers crossed everything is okay when we get back.

How does the check-in process compare to the other lots?

The major difference with the valet lot and the other lots are the little frills and added customer service. For example, you can print your boarding passes at the valet drop off location, which is something not offered at any of the other lots. At the valet you can get a copy of any major newspaper for free and actually have a person available to handle any of your questions. At the other lots you basically just drive in and wait for the shuttle bus, which has never taken more than 10 minutes to arrive from my experiences (they say it comes every 15 to 20 minutes but I think it is actually much more frequent). The valet lot has an 8 minute guarantee also stating that if you wait more than 8 minutes for a shuttle you will get 1 free day of parking. Here are some pictures that I took of the various services that I spotted:

Park'N Fly Flight Check-In

Park’N Fly Flight Check-In Terminals

Park'N Fly FREE Newspapers

Park’N Fly FREE Newspapers

Coming Home

On the way back from Cuba, our flight ended up getting delayed over 10 hours (thanks Sunwing!). This meant that instead of seeing the Park’N Fly area in the day, I would get to see it in the late hours of the morning again.

4:10 While waiting for our baggage I called the 1-800 number that Park’N Fly gave me before I left to let them know that I had arrived. It was a very easy to use automated system that lets them know when they should bring my car to the front of the lot.

4:15 After collecting our bags we head outside and immediately notice there is a Park’N Fly bus waiting that says ECONOMY LOT on the side. We ask him when the VALET LOT bus will be coming and he tells us to hop on and he will take us there first.

4:20 We arrive back at the valet lot and I see my car waiting in the parking lot.

4:22 After a super-fast (no lines again), friendly checkout process we are on our way back home. I also noticed that they have a quick self-checkout machine in the event that there is a lineup:

Park'N Self Checkout

Park’N Fly Self Checkout Machine

So, How Was The Car?

Before I left for Cuba I took a picture of the odometer to ensure that no extra driving was done on my car. The readings were exactly the same when I got back meaning that the car was driven no more than 1km. The car was a little dirty but this was because it had rained that week in Toronto and I didn’t go for the detailing service that they offer (no fault of Park’N Fly).  If you are interested, they offer several detailing options that start at just $35 so you can have a clean car when you get back. Everything was still in the car as it was when I left so I had not been the victim of any theft whatsoever; though I think common sense applies here to not leave anything valuable in the open.

The Verdict

Overall, I was VERY happy with the valet service and will definitely consider using it again in the future. My only complaint is the price is quite a bit more than the other lots so I think I would be more likely to use the valet service for shorter trips and the other lots for longer ones. Everything was super fast and I really loved that I never had to wait for anything!

I also decided to ask my Park’N Fly contacts what really separates them and the valet service apart from their competition and heard some very cool stories. In the winter Park’N Fly Valet will clean the snow off of your car as well as start it so it is warm by the time you get over from the terminal. By far the coolest story they told me was that they once flew an employee out with a customer’s briefcase that they had forgotten as they needed to make an important presentation the next day. I think this is very impressive and good to know that they are willing to go that extra mile!

 

Win 2 Free Days of Park’N Fly Valet Parking for FREE Contest

As mentioned above I have worked out a giveaway for readers or my blog to get 2 free days of the Park’N Fly valet service reviewed above. This could be great if you are planning a weekend getaway and want to give their service a try for yourself! Here is what you have to do to be entered:

1) You must be following @ParkNFlyCA and @beachrockinc on Twitter.
2) Tweet EXACTLY: “I want to win 2 days of FREE valet service from @ParkNFlyCA & @beachrockinc! Details: http://www.cheapdude.com/cheap-dude/parkn-fly-review/ #parknflyfree”

Winner will be picked on June 28th at 5pm EST. One entry per person.

ALSO, Park’N Fly is running many contests of their own this month on both Twitter and Facebook so be sure to follow and LIKE them on both.

Every person who likes Park’N Fly Canada on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/ParkNFlyCA) and shares their travel plans for the summer is entered into a draw to win a free long-term stay at their preferred Park’N Fly location.

 

Park’N Fly Deals/Prices

The best way to get a deal at Park’N Fly is to either google a coupon or use their rate calculator on their website. They are currently offering many long term specials throughout the summer and when you use the calculator it will generate your own discount code.