How do I leave a car for someone to pickup at JFK airport?
June 7, 2007 8:37 AM   Subscribe

How do I leave a car for someone to pick up at JFK airport?

I am keeping someone's car and supposed to pick them up at JFK this Monday night, but have another committment in the City. I don't want them to have to take a taxi to my place just to pick up their car. Is it possible to park it in one of JFK's lots and leave the key with the customer service of their airline? Would it be better to find a valet parking service offsite and if so which one do you recommend? Thanks.
posted by DreamRider to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total)
This may not be the kind of answer you want, but you should certainly contact the customer service reps of their airline to ask your question.
posted by thejoshu at 8:51 AM on June 7, 2007

Could you pick up one of those magnetic hide-a-key's for $5 at a gas station?
posted by JeremiahBritt at 8:52 AM on June 7, 2007

Low-tech solution, which I have done numerous times (at airports other than JFK):

- Park car in an easy-to-describe location (e.g., extreme end of a row). Make careful note of where it is parked.

- Leave parking ticket inside car.

- Leave key in a mutually agreed-upon location (on top of left front tire, under rear bumper, etc.).

- Take cab/shuttle home from airport.

- Email/call friend with details regarding location of car and key.
posted by googly at 8:55 AM on June 7, 2007

O'Hare in Chicago has a number of private parking places that do valet parking, such that you leave the keys there. Someone else could easily pick the car up — it's easiest if they have the right ticket, but I suspect you could tell them someone else would pick it up and give them a name, and they could check ID or something. It looks like JFK has similar providers — I've used Avistar many times with no problems in Chicago, and they also have a location at JFK.
posted by raf at 9:05 AM on June 7, 2007

I didn't notice if JFK has them, but many airports have modern coin lockers that you use a PIN to lock/unlock rather than a physical key. Would be easy enough to leave they key in one of those and tell your Friend the locker number and pin.

But I'd just Fed-Ed them the other set of keys or the valet key.
posted by Ookseer at 10:05 AM on June 7, 2007

I've done googly's top-of-the-tire trick at the San Francisco airport with no ill effects. I would think the odds of anyone searching for cars where someone left the key to be pretty negligible, so I'd not worry about the safety.

The key, of course, is to do a very good job of describing the location and also making sure to leave the ticket in an obvious place within the car.

Also, if you're borrowing the car, you might want to leave money to pay for the parking.
posted by JMOZ at 10:57 AM on June 7, 2007

Do you know if they have a copy of their keys with them? I know it seems really basic, but I know that I also always take an extra set of keys with me when I'm traveling and I've loaned my car to a car-less friend. If this is the case, just park in long-term parking, with assured records of what row and lot number and then meet up with them the next day to return their original key fob.
posted by banannafish at 11:15 AM on June 7, 2007

Park the car the day before and fedex the keys and ticket to your friend.
posted by kdern at 11:22 AM on June 7, 2007

I always find that the more complex the arrangement, the more opportunities there are for a misunderstanding or a screwup. If I was your friend, I'd much prefer the simplicity of getting a cab over a scavenger hunt at the airport for their keys and the car, especially after a tiring flight.

What do you value your time at? It seems to me that all the futzing you'd have to do to leave the car at the airport, including the parking cost, and to get yourself home would be waaay more than the cost of a cab from JFK to your home. So, offer to reimburse your friend for the cab ride, and you'll both come out ahead

Plus, I HATE airport parking garages. I always take a cab,and leave the car at home.
posted by Artful Codger at 12:28 PM on June 7, 2007

I second kdern, or whoever suggested just sending them the keys. I think that's probably easier than any other method (unless you have a good indoor parking garage nearby, one where they keep your keys and have a manned customer-service desk).

Depending on the age of the car, you might be able to take the ignition key and get a few copies made for a couple dollars a piece -- in recent cars, purely mechanical copies won't actually start the car (because there's also an electronic part to the key) but will still open the door. You send a copy to your friend, and when you park the car, you leave the real ignition key above the visor, and then your friend uses the copy to unlock the door and retrieve the ignition key.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:38 PM on June 7, 2007

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