OK, call me slow (no, go ahead, I’ve gotten worse comments on this site). I only get to an airport every week or so, but I’d wondered what the signs saying “CELL PHONE LOT” meant. These are signs placed way out near the long-term parking lots, far from the airport and usually with an arrow directing traffic off somewhere.
Maybe my confusion has been signs like this one on the right. Maybe because it’s that I always go limo to the airport (just kidding).
Well, I reached the end of my curiosity rope and found out that many airports have set up short term “waiting” parking zones for those picking up travelers. They’re called anything from a “cell phone waiting area” to “cell phone lot” to “stage and go lot.”
The idea is that people (not commercial drivers) wait in these parking lots until called for a pick-up from inside the airport, rather than doing endless circles round the “arrival” pick-up area. They’re usually free for between a half-hour and one hour.
Great idea for those who are prevented from driving and talking at the same time, or those who haven’t discovered the possibility of checking on flight time arrivals using the one-billion or so websites out there.
The strange thing? Most airports have fifty or so temporary parking slots for those waiting for the call, while Houston’s airport has 1,000 spaces.