Los Angeles Union Station car rental experience

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Chris I

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Jan 8, 2019
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Portland, OR
But if you can't count on a car actually being available at that price and discount, what exactly have you "locked in"?
I've learned that car rental companies function differently from restaurants, hotels, etc. For example, booking a hotel reservation only to show up and have them tell you "sorry, we have no rooms." would never fly.

The fact that the staff both at Union Station and on the phone weren't willing to do anything for me was eye-opening. Either one of them could have called Burbank and found me a car, but they just don't care, apparently.

In the future, I think I will aim to pick up at airport locations.
 
Joined
Aug 26, 2002
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I think Brightline is leading the way here, with their first/last mile service which they claim is integrated into their reservation system. I believe it's a mixture of shuttles, enclosed golf carts, and rideshare.
I'll believe that when I see it happen consistently, and over a considerable period of time. Until then, it's just spin and hype from a new player in the field.
 

joelkfla

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I've learned that car rental companies function differently from restaurants, hotels, etc. For example, booking a hotel reservation only to show up and have them tell you "sorry, we have no rooms." would never fly.
Actually, reading some of the online reviews, that also seems to happen fairly often.
 
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Lubec, ME
I've learned that car rental companies function differently from restaurants, hotels, etc. For example, booking a hotel reservation only to show up and have them tell you "sorry, we have no rooms." would never fly
The situation for car rentals may because bit more fluid as you have one way rentals so your inventory of cars is going to fluctuate from day to day. I don't know what percentage of rentals are one way or how often renters don't return cars when they are scheduled to which might affect things. Not trying to excuse this bad situation but it seems it would be a harder environment to manage than a hotel where you have a fixed number of rooms.
 

JRR

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But if you can't count on a car actually being available at that price and discount, what exactly have you "locked in"?
It’s a Seinfeld episode: You are good making reservations but not keeping reservations!
 
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Baltimore. MD
I've learned that car rental companies function differently from restaurants, hotels, etc. For example, booking a hotel reservation only to show up and have them tell you "sorry, we have no rooms." would never fly.

When you book a hotel, and you want to have a guaranteed reservation, you have to prepay or give them a credit card number. They don't actually charge your account until after your stay (though they might put a hold on the account for one night's stay), but if you don't show up, they'll charge you for the room anyway. Rental car companies, unless you prepay, don't ask for your credit card number, and thus, I suppose, if the renter hasn't made a commitment, why should the rental car company make a commitment?
 

Alice

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Mar 6, 2007
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California
As to pre-paying for car reservations ...

I always pre-pay and usually get the car I want. But once in New Orleans Hertz did not have any cars I could use until the next day. I got a significant discount and very apologetic staff. This was quite a few years ago and I doubt I'd get the same treatment now. Whoever had my car didn't bring it back when they were refused an extension, which may or may not be the truth.
 

jis

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For example, booking a hotel reservation only to show up and have them tell you "sorry, we have no rooms." would never fly.
Funny thing is precisely that has happened to me at least half a dozen times. Each time the hotel paid for my accommodation in another hotel.
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2020
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Funny thing is precisely that has happened to me at least half a dozen times. Each time the hotel paid for my accommodation in another hotel.
That happened once to me at the Motel 6 in Clarksville, TN. My prepaid reservation was given to someone else so the semi-habitable Motel 6 paid for my one night stay in a much nicer Holiday Inn which was the only facility that had rooms. I was shocked to say the least. Turned out there was some sort of event happening at Fort Campbell that weekend and lodging was at a premium.
 

JRR

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That happened once to me at the Motel 6 in Clarksville, TN. My prepaid reservation was given to someone else so the semi-habitable Motel 6 paid for my one night stay in a much nicer Holiday Inn which was the only facility that had rooms. I was shocked to say the least. Turned out there was some sort of event happening at Fort Campbell that weekend and lodging was at a premium.
That happened to me once in Aspen. I had a reservation at the Four Seasons but had no rooms when I got there. They got me a suite at the “Little Nell” just down the street at $99 a night! Quite a deal at a really upscale boutique hotel with a view of the slopes.
 

caravanman

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Mar 22, 2004
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Nottingham, England.
I was always super impressed by the number of car hire shuttle bus services at airports in America, and loved the cheap rental rates, and the low fuel costs. (Compared to Europe).
Looked online for a rental there recently, and could not believe the price increases!
Glad to have done a few road trips stateside in the "before times"!
 
Joined
Oct 6, 2021
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California
I had been a loyal Hertz customer (always at least 5-star, sometimes Presidents Circle), for about a decade prior to the pandemic.

It even shaped, to some extent, "how" I travel, as I'd tend to rent cars, and pay for parking, even in cities where that perhaps wasn't the most logical choice.

Very early in the pandemic, Hertz began to almost literally fall apart. I'm not speaking in official terms - their bankruptcy, mass selloff of cars, hemorrage of employees - but simply in terms of the customer experience.

Airports large and small weren't able to honor reservations, a few times I arrived to find *no employees at all* (during the height of pandemic travel freezes), and finding lots with lots of cars with dead batteries from disuse.

To some extent, I switched to Avis. They've done *marginally* better. I typically make reservations with both, hope Avis has something, and if not, briefly check Hertz before just Ubering or searching for off-airport cars.

If you *need* a particular type of car (like something with 4wd, or that seats 7), I'd have at least two backup reservations.

Non airport locations (like LAUS) are consistently worse.

And if *anything* goes wrong, if you need any phone support at all, from Hertz.. well... I wish you luck. Even with PC, I often couldn't get through at all.

I also now use Uber more, even for longer trips. I've though about Turo, but something about it turned me off.
 
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