When you drive yourself to the terminal and pay to park, the airport is collecting revenue. This may lead you to ask, “Why would the airport ever encourage me to catch a ride instead?”
The Chattanooga Airport’s main priority is not to make money – it’s to ensure you make your flight. That’s right: the Chattanooga Airport doesn’t want you to miss your flight. We’ll get to the tips (and rewards) for arriving on time, but first, let’s look at what’s going on with parking.
If you’re one of the many business travelers who flies from Chattanooga, you may know the airport’s growth is soaring. The airport is at 458,211 enplanements so far this year – that’s an average of 1,372 passengers hopping on a flight every day in Chattanooga!
The airport has been working hard on long-range plans to provide parking for current and future passengers, but exceptional growth means parking challenges are here now. For business travelers who frequent Lovell Field, you’ve likely noticed, and you should know, the airport is doing something about it.
A new economy lot with 500-plus spaces will open in April, and the airport has plans to build a parking deck. In the meantime, on the airport’s website you’ll find real-time information on which lots are open or full. Most importantly, CHA wants you to use alternate transportation to get to the airport like ridesharing, carpooling or using taxi, bus or hotel shuttle. If you follow the airport on social media, they’ll even enter you into drawings for free roundtrip rides to the airport (a $20 value and your choice of Uber, Lyft or taxi).
The silver lining in all of this is actually green! For years, the airport has cultivated sustainability improvements. It’s about to be the first airport in the world to operate entirely on solar power! The next time you and a coworker are leaving the office on the same business trip, try riding to the airport together. You’ll contribute to more open parking at the terminal and your carpooling will boost the airport’s green efforts. It’s a win-win for you and the Scenic City.
While parking is a temporary challenge at the airport, the big picture here is. . . Chattanooga is booming! Like, sonic booming. The economic success of the Chattanooga Airport and our region go hand in hand. The airport’s nine non-stop routes open up the region to countless business opportunities, and Chattanooga’s efforts are attracting new companies, talent and visitors every day. Often, their first entrance is through the airport.
Whether you’re traveling for work or leisure, the new economy lot opening in April will meet long-term parking needs and free up spaces in short-term parking. Two free efficient shuttles will serve the economy lot every 7-10 minutes, picking you up from the lot and dropping you off at the front door of the terminal.
While the new economy lot and parking deck are being built, keep these five tips in mind when you head to the airport:
1. Arrive early
Chattanooga’s growth means you need to arrive early like you would at other airports.
2. Plan your ride like you plan your trip
Through rideshare (Lyft/Uber) apps, you can schedule a ride up to 7 days in advance.
3. Choose alternate transportation
There are endless options to get a ride to the airport: carpool, Lyft, Uber, taxi, CARTA and hotel shuttle.
4. Try carpooling
When you catch a ride with a coworker, you’re reducing your carbon footprint and contributing to the airport’s green efforts. (Did you know? The airport has a Tesla supercharger station, a solar farm and the first LEED Platinum certified aviation terminal in the world.)
5. Check parking status like you check your flight status
If you have to drive, the airport website chattairport.com shows which lots are open/closed in real time.