Drive your car to the curb in front of Charleston International Airport, dart inside for your flight and have someone else park your car.

If you can afford the $15 a day, it's a no-hassle perk.

Apparently, a lot of people can.

The price is the same as the rate to park in the parking deck. With the phenomenal growth in passengers at the airport, it was just a matter of time before more people started figuring out it was easier to use the privately operated valet parking service than deck parking, leading to overcrowding in the valet lot's limited 195 spaces.

For comparison, the number of cars parked overnight in the valet lot for the 12 months ending June 2012 was 31,302. That number swelled 44 percent to 45,174 for the same period through June this year.

The airport isn't complaining too much. It took in about $375,000 last year, about $100,000 more than the year before, from valet parking fees. Still, the service has the potential to cut into parking deck income, 100 percent of which goes back to the airport.

Because of that, the Charleston County Aviation Authority is considering changing the valet rate, which has been the same as the parking deck daily price since 2005, when the multilevel garage was completed. Prior to that, the valet rate was $18 per day.

If the airport board approves the valet rate increase Thursday, the service cost will rise to $17 a day on Jan. 1.

It could rise another $1 over the next 12 months if automobile volume in the valet lot stays at 85 percent of the current amount. It will rise $1 automatically Jan. 1, 2015, regardless of volume.

"A two-step increase is the way to do it," Airports Director Paul Campbell said. "We think this is the direction to go at this point."

And how does Charleston compare with nearby airports? Savannah charges $20 a day for valet parking. Columbia charges $14 per day. The airports in Myrtle Beach and Greenville-Spartanburg don't offer the service.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or