a VirtualTourist member
Flying into LAX and staying at Anaheim. Need to rent a car for 5 days to drive around LA area. Returning to LAX for departure. I hear the car rental lines at LAX are a nightmare, any advice?
I never had a problem with car rental at LAX. Maybe some peeps went outside the airport to get a cheaper rental, but my experience was pretty quick, and quick return with Hertz.
Cheers tommy x
might depend on when you arrive, I had a horrible experience once when I went through hotwire, can't remember who it was though. Thrifty wasn't horrible but it also wasn't speedy
I'm a member of several loyalty programs so tend to stick with the big names only (Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, Budget). Out of them all, I probably prefer Hertz for LAX pick up but they all have shuttles from baggage claim.
Make your reservation in advance (at their site or a 3rd party like Kayak.com), have all your confirmation, ID, and credit card info at hand when you check in (some have preferred cards that let you skip the line) and you shouldn't have a problem.
"Yadams" above is correct. Rental car business if very good in LA and even better at LAX. Maybe your "source" came on a particularly bad day. I've rented cars at LAX, though, maybe two dozen times. My longest waits were maybe 20 minutes and that was because I had reserved a "sub-compact" and they had none left. But the worst case there was they simply, quickly and apologetically upgraded me to a mid-size for no extra charge. - For some reason, RETURNING the car does seem to take longer. I've waited a couple times as much as 30 minutes - but that's because they had to "inspect" it or refuel it. -- In fact, I once read that as a "travel trick:" always reserve a "sub-compact" because those rent out first and fastest and the bigger agencies will inevitably give you a free upgrade if they're out of stock. But if they do have the smaller car when you arrive - and you really don't want the smaller vehicle - then you can on-the-spot say you've changed your mind and with no hassle rent any other. - Good luck and enjoy your stay.
All of them have shuttles by the way, you have to stand and wait for your shuttle to come by to take you off sight.
Budget was the one where we waited forever but it seemed like it was because people were getting a really good rate on Hotwire and they simply ran out of cars in the classes people needed.
That's the real problem I seem to have in LA, I always reserve the smallest car possible since gas is so expensive (more so in LA than back home in Chicago) and they almost always "upgrade" me but then I end up with a gas guzzler or something I can't drive because it's too big.
The last time with Thrifty I rented a subcompact, the guy there said the subcompacts weren't safe to drive in LA so I moved up a class, I suspect that was just a line but I was tired and traveling by myself....
As mentioned before, I would echo the sentiments... if time is of essence, you may consider pre-booking using one of the major car rentals pre-registry. Avis Wizard, National Emerald Club, and Hertz Gold are the three I use frequently, and all of them make my experience from arrival to departure as fast as possible.
I think it's around $60 to become a Hertz Gold member, but if your time is valuable and you travel often, it's worth it! Your car will be waiting for you when you arrive, you don't even have to walk up to the counter. I love it!