Rental Car Reviews

I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while. I rent cars at least once a week for work and it gives me a chance to drive a lot of different cars in typical conditions (traffic, distance, etc.) so I thought that I would start to review the cars I rent.

As a baseline, my wife drives a Chevy Trailblazer and at home I drive a Lincoln LS V8. My next car will be a Mini Cooper S but since my car spends more time parked at the airport than in my driveway I can’t do that to a Mini.

I’m currently refusing PT Cruisers and HHR’s. They both just suck and I’ve gotten enough Mustangs as upgrades to I know that I don’t like them. My first car was a 1973 Mustang so if you like Mustangs don’t give me any grief. Just go back to fixing yours in the driveway.

I generally rent from Avis, with Budget as a backup. I flirt with Hertz until I see their prices and got burned so badly by Alamo a few years ago that I still won’t go near them. But this isn’t about the rental car companies, it’s about the cars.

Real Frequent Traveler Perks

I travel a lot and I find that some of the perks offered by airlines, car rental companies and hotels just fall short. I’m sure things like free weekend car rentals sounded great to someone at HQ but on the weekend, I want to drive my car, the one that sits at the airport begging to be driven all week. So I thought that I would put together a list of perks I’d really like.

  • A guarantee that my rental car would be 10 spaces or less from the front. It’s not fun to walk past 50 spaces of perfectly good cars in freezing rain only to watch someone who has obviously never rented in their life get the 2nd space. I’d even pay 5 or 10 bucks for this. (not per day, per rental)
  • A truly, non-smoking rental car. Marriott has figured out how to make this happen in hotels, I think that the rental car companies could as well. Then give frequent renters priority on these cars.
  • A no-rent list. I’m currently refusing PT Cruisers and HHR’s. They are crap. A Mustang is not an upgrade except when I get a PT Cruiser or an HHR. You have PT Cruisers in your fleet because no one else will buy them. I’m renting cars almost 50 times a year and I’m really not that picky but I think that I deserve to be a little pickier!
  • Online Room selection. Hampton Inn is headed this way with their online check in but there is no hotel layout available. Let me pick my room from a diagram so I can avoid the noisy ice maker or the semi’s on the highway out back.
  • Points are nice at hotels but how about a snack credit. Rather than water and peanut butter crackers (which I hate) as a thank you gift, let me pick something from the little snack room or the vending machine. If a hotel could figure out that I want Diet Mt. Dew and M&M’s I’d be in heaven but even giving me a choice would go a long way.
  • I have very little to say about airlines. My expectations have fallen so low that I’m down to get me there (not even on time) and let me get on early enough to find room for my carry on. So how about this. Inject something into the safety presentation so we’ll pay attention. Delta’s video is the worst. how about a little bit from Weird Al’s Albuquerque? “I had my tray table up, and my seat back in the full upright position, had my tray table up…”. Anyone? Bueller? I know, it’s not a perk but it would make me smile.

Fly Clear in Atlanta

I had my chance to use the new Clear (Registered traveler) lane in Atlanta on Wednesday. It wasn’t bad but it felt like they were still ironing out the kinks.  After processing my Clear card I had to wait for my boarding pass to be examined again and  there was some confusion between the Clear Rep and the TSA Agent as to whose job that was.

After that I was just dropped into the regular,post boarding pass check,line. There wasn’t much of a line and that could be the reason but I just didn’t feel the privileged traveler feelingI get using Clear in Orlando.

I’m sure they will smooth things out over the next few months.

Carolina Ziplines!

We did the Carolina Ziplines tour today outside of Mt. Airy/Pilot Mountain, North Carolina. What a blast! Even drop ride challenged Angelina did it an loved it. The floating platforms in the trees that you land on are a blast too. Great staff, everybody was very safety conscious and a lot of fun. Make sure you do the “Big Bounce” if you get a chance. Pictures to come.

These Kinds of Airline Incidents Scare Me

These kinds of airline incidents scare me.