For the recent trip to the Pacific Northwest (see post), I rented a car with Avis. Once we had our suitcase, we headed to the rental car shuttle. Wow. The line was just endless. Not wanting to wait, I hailed an Uber and headed up to the pick-up point for ride-sharing vehicles. Another wait in line, not to mention $16 — probably some sort of minimum charge as a detraction (obviously the drivers want longer fares). We needn’t have bothered, for the line at Avis was stunning. About 30 people waiting to get cars, with three Avis people doing the check-out. Anyone who prepaid in full (with avis.com) went to an expedited line and got priority — and that line was mostly empty until someone showed up and was immediately served.
A manager (in charge of both Avis and Budget) told us this problem is symptomatic of summer travel, where it is simply not possible to gauge how many cars are needed. Every car was booked. This location is ghost-like in the winter, so gearing up for summer is challenging. Of course, that didn’t satisfy me so I started tweeting (including this photo):
“Wow, @Avis, your service sucks. Never again.” Which didn’t do any good, but made me a bit calmer. Some 90 minutes later, we got our car and headed off. A few days later, I received their survey to rate my experience. “On a scale of 1 to 10 …” That got a 1. “How likely are you to recommend Avis to a friend?” Not. Survey completed and submitted.
The upshot? I got a very nice email from an Avis manager apologizing for the delays and asking that I let him know prior to any future rentals so we would get priority treatment, etc. The bigger surprise was, even though the rental shuttles are managed by SeaTac Airport and the car rental companies have no control, he took $30 off my bill to cover the Uber. 1) Fill out those surveys. They do get read. 2) Share positive reviews as well. Always nice to provide feedback to those that are doing a great job.