How to save time when collecting a rental car?
Quick car rental service for a lot of clients is as important as a comfortable, good car and attractive price. The holiday mood of many people will already have been challenged by standing in a long line at the car rental desk surrounded by irritated travelers and tired children.
It’s hard to avoid queues for collecting a rental car in big international airports like Lisbon Airport during high touristic season, especially at peak season in Southern Europe countries.
However, with a little bit of planning, it’s possible to minimize the probability of getting stuck for hours in front of the car rental desk.
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Please find below advice about how to reduce time for collecting your car.
1. Avoid the cheapest offers – save time in queues
Low-cost tourism is available with plenty of cheap offers for hotels, flights as well as for cheap car hire. When looking at prices displayed by offers on search engines and advertising by cheap rental car services, some deals are just unbeatable. However, don’t forget that the final rental price depends on more factors than the basic rate.
As they say: “not all that glitter is gold”, and it is worth having a close look at seemingly irresistible offers. The devil is, often, in the detail.
In order to compensate a cheap price, low-cost car rental companies often use higher than average fees for all kinds of optional services, like for example, child seat rental, additional driver’s fee, or late collection of the car. It may also happen that a young driver will have to pay an additional (high) fee per day because of age under 25 or even under 30 years for some vehicles. Check the prices for those extras before booking.
A thorough reading of the rental conditions prior to booking is recommended in case of cheap car hire offers.
If none of the above causes concern, have a good look at refueling rules (fuel policy). It can easily happen that low-cost renting could not be cheaper adding up the fee for ‘fuel administration’ at for instance Goldcar.
Always bear in mind that when collecting the car, you are unlikely to be the only customer who were attracted by a good and very low price.
If quick and efficient car collection procedure is a matter of priority (especially after a long, tiring flight, and/or travelling with small kids), it’s better to avoid the cheapest car rental services – and the longest queues.
2. Choose the meet & greet option – great for saving time collecting a rental car
Car rental offices located directly next to the airport arrival terminal is a luxury, which not all low-cost car rental services can afford.
Because of a high price of office rental space in the prestigious area, which international airports are, the majority of cheap car rental companies have offices outside the airport terminals, but in close proximity to them.
Access to them is provided by free buses (shuttle service) to and from car the rental companies. Of course, it makes total travel time longer, and is rather a nuisance if you have a lot of luggage with you and travel with children.
Travelers, who care about the most efficient way of picking up the car, but decide to use low-cost car renting services, may use an option of picking up the car through the car rental company’s worker from the airport. Known as ‘meet & greet service’ of collecting the car means that the car rental company’s employee waits for the client in the arrival zone.
The representative then accompanies the customer to the car, usually parked on the short term airport parking close by. All formalities, connected with signing the contract are dealt with at the airport, and the payment is made by a portable terminal.
As long as the car rental company’s employee arrives on time, it’s probably the most time-effective form of collecting, allowing you to avoid queues.
It happens, however, that the client must call the phone number, included in the voucher. A good solution is to contact the car rental company by phone just after landing at the airport, before picking up your luggage. In this way, the representative can better anticipate the arrival of the customer.
3. Send the driver ahead – not everybody needs to queue
In the case of travelling in a group, the easy solution for reducing the time in the airport is to send the driver ahead directly to the car rental office.
While other members of group are waiting for luggage, the driver has time for collecting the rental vehicle; making the process of luggage and car collecting much quicker.