It has been a daily scene at the Quad-City International Airport — drivers circling the perimeter of the parking lot over and over again as they wait for a plane to land and a passenger to walk out the doors.
They may still have to wait, but the airport’s new cell phone lot now provides a place to park and wait until the call comes from the arriving traveler.
“What’s the first thing you do when you get off the plane? Call whoever is picking you up,” said Bruce Carter, the airport’s aviation director.
“Although we offer the first 60 minutes (parking) for free, this will save people from circling the area,” he said. “It happens every day.”
The lot — marked by new signage on the entrance road — consists of 12 designated parking spaces near Bud’s Skyline Inn, the restaurant on the airport property. Parking is free, but drivers must stay with their vehicles.
Carter said the cell phone lot is an idea that is gaining ground at airports across the nation. “Seasoned travelers will know what the lot is for,” said Carter, who picked up on the idea from his own travels as well as others in the airport industry.
“At some airports I’ve seen cell phone waiting areas that are sometimes a mile or so from the airport.” But the Quad-City airport’s lot is located right across from the terminal.
“This is just another customer convenience we’re introducing,” he said.
The airport struck an agreement with Bud Canfield, the restaurant’s owner, to create the lot.
“He’s letting us have part of his parking lot and in exchange we’re letting him have free advertising,” Carter said, referring to an existing kiosk in the terminal that advertises the restaurant.
Carter also believes the restaurant could pick up some business from those using the lot, “especially if they find out there is a flight delay.” Skyline Inn already provides customers with access to the airport’s online Flight Tracker, which offers up-to-date information on flight’s arrivals and departures.
“The people are enthused by the lot,” Carter said. “We’re real pleased at how it’s turned out.”