TODAY | January 29, 2013
>>> how about this? free wi-fi, clean restrooms and a comfortable place to wait for a friend. if it sounds like your local coffee shop , think again. we're actually talking about a parking lot . nbc's janet shamlian now at the airport in austin , texas, to explain that. good morning to you, janet.
>> reporter: hi, matt. we are in this cell phone lot . this is really very convenient if you're picking somebody up at the airport. you don't have to keep circling the terminal endlessly or pay for short-term parking. with all the amenities they've put in here, it's no longer just a parking lot . a lot of people coming here aren't even picking anyone up. picking someone up from the airport should probably fall under an act of love simply because it's such a hassle. there's no stopping at baggage claim for more than a minute or two and circling the terminal can be maddening. that's why cell phone lots are such a hit. free and close parking where drivers like shirley fisher wait until she gets the call. her sister has arrived.
>> i'll be over at baggage claim . i'm going to drive slow. you jump on, okay?
>> reporter: but what started as just a place to wait has what some airports turned into, shall we say, a place to be?
>> no brainer. yes.
>> reporter: in austin , you can even have dinner in the cell phone lot . everything from a spinach salad to beef fajitas, all under seven bucks.
>> thank you.
>> it's fantastic. green chile pork taco and it's very well done.
>> reporter: in tampa, it's the dude and his food. and free wi-fi. for multi-taskers like lori foley can work while she waits.
>> it takes the pressure off of oh, no, i'm going to be up till midnight doing this.
>> reporter: airports doing what they can to make customers happy. they're not stopping at food, restrooms and free wi-fi. there's more to come. down the road you'll be able to go shopping here as well. so this is just a start?
>> this is a start. you can pull up, maybe buy some flowers, pick up your love off the curbside of the airport and, boom, you're on your way.
>> reporter: what else could they possibly come up with? well there are bigger plans.
>> a gas station out there, convenience store, car cleaning facilities. there's all kinds of options that you can offer out at cell phone lots when you think about it.
>> reporter: flight information boards make it easy to track arrivals and delays, which everyone here dreads, except for the food dude.
>> i'm from up north. when it snows it's better. it delays the flights and they have to wait here and it makes my life a little better.
>> reporter: a florist, mini mart, it all could be here soon. at the end of the day this is not unlike the airlines and their baggage fees. airports trying to squeeze out every dollar they can. dinner in the parking lot . matt, back to you.
>> janet shamlian in austin , texas, this morning. thank you very much. i hope they do that for the parking lots where the taxis have to