Skip to content

Paul Paradise

Adventures in rental cars

This past weekend I made a very short trip to York, PA for a wedding. Thanks to the wonders of schedules and airfares, the cheapest method of getting there and back on a reasonable schedule involved flying in to Harrisburg, PA and out of Baltimore, MD on separate airlines (two one-way flights).

This complicated the process of getting a rental car, since I needed to do a one-way rental. I usually rent from Avis (a holdover from when I was under 25 years old and being a Microsoft employee let me rent there without paying the Youth Tax), but Avis said they were all out of cars for that schedule, even 2 months in advance. So was Budget, Alamo, Enterprise, and Hertz. In fact, the only rental company I could find that would rent to me was Thrifty, so I used them.

Fast forward 2 weeks. Thrifty calls me to inform me that they’re closing their rental counter in Harrisburg, but Budget will honor my reservation. Um, okay – not that I really have reason to believe either company is motivated to getting this right. A week later, I get another call from Thrifty – this time it’s not Budget, it’s Avis. At this point I’m motivated to try calling Avis and getting a confirmation from them that they’ll honor the reservation. Remember, at least online, I can’t make this particular rental; I think my skepticism is warranted. I called Avis’ national number, was provided the number for the local rental counter, and talked with a woman there. I told her my case, and she told me that:

No, they couldn’t make the rental for the schedule I want. Yes, they’re planning on honoring my reservation. Yeah, a bit contradictory. In the end I had to just bring my Thrifty papers to the rental counter and cross my fingers.

The good news is it all worked out. I was a bit sleep deprived from the red-eye, but Avis was incredibly helpful getting everything sorted out, and even accepted an Avis coupon I had as part of my Thrifty rental. All told it was about an extra 3-5 minutes to deal with the complication, which is far better than I expected.

Thanks Avis for making it all work out.