Pickup line: Now there's no need to queue up at the airport

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The first hour of parking at Pittsburgh International Airport costs just $1, but even that small price hasn't been low enough to dissuade some drivers from clogging lanes in the passenger pickup area, parking on the berm approaching the airport or circling the property while waiting for travelers to arrive.

The Allegheny County Airport Authority has provided a solution, and it comes just in time for the Thanksgiving travel rush.

Drivers now may park free for up to an hour in the airport's extended term lot. If they stay as long as two hours, the cost will be $1. After that, the extended lot's normal flat daily rate of $8 kicks in.

The designated area for short periods was made in response to demands from drivers for a so-called cell phone lot, a waiting area that some other airports around the country provide. The extended term lot fits the same bill.

Although it is the lot farthest from the terminal, drivers can reach pickup lanes outside the baggage claim area in a few short minutes once they get a call from friends or relatives who have landed.

Now there's no reason to risk a run-in with county police who must keep the curb free of idling vehicles or an accident while stopping in an unsafe spot.

Air travel now comes with plenty of aggravations, particularly during the holidays. Thanks to the airport authority, one petty annoyance has just been eliminated.

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