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Big Changes To Pick Up Lanes at Tampa Airport

Coming later this month, if you're picking someone up at Tampa International Airport, you won't be able to park and wait for them at baggage claim.

When officials at Tampa International Airport designed the cell-phone waiting lot, they hoped it would cut down on traffic congestion at the pick up area near baggage claim on the arrivals side of the airport. Even though the lot is complete with a giant board for flight information, wireless Internet access and restrooms, the congestion returned only a few weeks after the new waiting area was introduced.

The days of sitting in your car for 20 minutes while your friends get their luggage are over. Starting Dec. 20, expect a new crackdown on that congestion near baggage claim. Officials say that if your passengers aren't already outside waiting for you, you will be asked to leave the area.

Dr. Joseph Diaco, an airport board member, told Tampabay.com that rules are enforced too subjectively.

"Right now it's at the whim of a police officer," he said. "People pull around and see someone else sitting there, and (the officer) waves them along saying 'Don't stop.'

"That's wrong. It has to be consistent for everybody."

According to TBO.com, "The curbside plan to allow drivers to park only long enough to pick up waiting passengers and their luggage is part of a broader effort to extend the capacity and life expectancy of the main terminal complex in lieu of spending billions for a new terminal."

What do you think? Is this a good rule? Will having it start during the holidays make it easier or harder for you to pick up friends and family? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

David Farrar December 08, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Tampa continues to be one of the most efficient airports I have ever used and I have been to many world wide. They have big growth plans for the future and I am sure that they will stay the best airport to leave from and arrive at.
John Pearce December 08, 2012 at 07:24 PM
The pickup lanes at TPA have been a zoo for as long as I can remember. This step wouldn't have been necessary if people had taken the hint about the cell-phone lot, but they haven't so it seems something like this is the logical next step.
Lynn Grow December 08, 2012 at 08:21 PM
I agree, but it's a terrible time to implement the change.
Don D December 08, 2012 at 11:51 PM
If only people had common sense they would not have to enforce. I have used cell phone lot plenty of times and it orks beautifully except for the inconsiderate ones who feel they are special and sit and wait in baggage area.
Peter Boutell December 09, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Peter B. The cell-phone is one of the best in the nation, there is no need to have any congestion at the bagge claim area, just wait for your party to call you, (it is a cell phone waiting area) and pick them up. No waiting should apply to all.
Jim C December 09, 2012 at 03:49 AM
Use SRQ and avoid the hassle!
Christie Musick December 09, 2012 at 06:46 AM
Not everybody has a cell phone. I can't afford one. I also can't afford to waste gas driving around and around and around waiting for my party to hit the bathroom and find their luggage and haul it outside.
JaaaaaaayBeeeeeeeeee December 09, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Christie, That is a pretty good point ... not everyone has a cell phone. In that case, your best plan of attack is likely to park in short-term parking and meet your party as they get off the shuttle from the airside. This is what I do frequently anyway,even though I do have a cell phone. Then it is a simple matter of taking an elevator from luggage pickup to the car, or if they are hauling a lot of luggage, one person gets the car and meets them curbside. If you time it well, I believe your first 1/2 hour in short term is free. I like parking on the roof level ... nice view of the area from there.
Peter Boutell December 09, 2012 at 12:58 PM
For those few people that do not own cell phones, Tampa International Airport has gone one step further to assist the visiting public by offering one free hour of parking in one of its garage's. No excuses to cruise outside the baggage area causing congestion to the rest of the people playing by the rules.
Karl Shrock December 09, 2012 at 01:04 PM
kmselec Christie.....call Obama he will get you a phone. You are not entitled to block traffic Have you even been to the cell lot? It tells you when the flight has arrived to wait 20min then drive by & check if your peeps have arrived. It's not that hard.
Robert Saltzman December 09, 2012 at 01:36 PM
"call Obama he will get you a phone"? You mean the George W Bush phone!! That was nasty little barb but the e-mail circulating has already been debunked. You may want to Snopes it.... not wanting to turn this political..I will not answer any further comments...
Jimmy Sylakowski December 09, 2012 at 02:36 PM
It's a good plan.
Anne Onomous December 09, 2012 at 05:07 PM
The SIMPLEST solution was already posted on this thread. There is FREE one-hour parking in the short-term parking garage. Park nearest the elevator closest to the terminal the flight you are waiting for is flying into. (Look it up beforehand, it's not rocket science!) Take the elevator down to the 3rd floor and await the person(s) you are to greet. If they have carry-on luggage, go back to the floor your car is parked on via the same elevator you to took to the 3rd floor OR if they have checked baggage, take the escalator down to the 1st floor baggage area, retrieve their luggage then go back to the original elevator you took down back up to the floor your car is parked on. I have done this countless times and it's no big deal, people are happy to be met inside the airport, you don't have to drive in circles....and it's free. Just keep a handle on when you arrived at the short term garage so you don't get hit with a fee for being over 1 hour. Also, park on the 9th floor (roof) if you have time to spare and you can watch planes land with the kids.
JD December 09, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Edith, your post sounds fine. In fact, I appreciated hearing another perspective and I don't think it came across as you thinking you're the only one with problems.
JD December 09, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Anne, I had never thought to park on the roof to watch the planes! That's a great idea!
Edith December 09, 2012 at 06:00 PM
JD, I was finally able to get my post deleted, but thanks a million for making me feel better. I appreciated your reply.
Anne Onomous December 09, 2012 at 06:54 PM
@ JD - and bring a camera. That's how I got the shot added to this article's photo gallery of a family member heading out on a flight last week..... right there off the roof.
Sandi December 14, 2012 at 02:22 PM
I agree. And thank you for the 'heads up' New port richey Patch!

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