Vehicle searches continue at airport valet service

by: Greg Suskin Updated:

Loading

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Valet parking is available once again at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport after it was suspended over complaints about airport employees searching cars.

In early October, Channel 9 spoke to a woman who said she saw officers searching her car, though she never gave them permission.

At that time, airport officials said that all cars that use the service are subject to search and that program has been in place for more than a year.

However, the airport shut down valet service for about a week, and it reopened Tuesday with significant policy changes.

First, there are now additional signs letting customers know their car will be searched. Some signs are permanently mounted on poles, others are temporary signs placed in the valet lane at curbside check in.

Most significantly, there's now a disclaimer form all valet customers must read and sign consenting to a search of their car. Finally, airport staff has had additional training with the Transportation Security Administration to address concerns.

Traveler Jill Runnion doesn't use valet parking, but told us those car inspections wouldn't bother her, if it's for safety.

"I'm all for it. Check me. Check everywhere, I don't care. If I get patted down, I don't care. I just want to be safe," she said.

Other travelers told us they would feel violated by the searches, but were pleased that the airport was working to better alert travelers to them.

Channel 9 tried to speak to employees with Park Inc., the private firm that contracts with the city to provide valet parking service. Company representatives declined comment, and referred our questions to airport officials.