Sixt Rent A Car Opens New Seattle Airport Office

Hi all,

As I posted last year, in my opinion the next big USA car rental company couldseattle_tacoma_airport well be Sixt Rent A Car the German based car hire supplier is already well known within Europe and announced recently its plans to build a franchise network within the U.S. to help it build quickly.

Today I received an email confirming that the latest location to be opened by Sixt Rent A Car will service Seattle Airport and be managed by Monique Kennedy. As per most of Sixt’s locations their office will be located off airport and served by shuttle bus,  the bus drops you by the 5th floor, customer service lobby used by all the car rental companies.

The office will be a 24 hour location and can be found here;

SIXT station Seattle-Tacoma Int. Airport SEA

3150 South 160th Street
98188
SeaTac
WA
More information on finding SIXT at Seattle

Your way to Sixt:The Sixt branch is located in the Rental Car Facility, a 5 story building. From the airport the common bus drops you on the 5th floor to the customer service lobby of all the car rental companies.

From Downtown Seattle (via Interstate 5):

Take I-5 south to exit 154B/SR 518 west. Take the Sea-Tac Airport exit and follow the signs for Rental Car Return to International Blvd / SR 99 south. Follow the Rental Car Return signs to the right hand entrance into the rental car facility.

From Seattle / Burien (via State Route 509/State Route 518):

From Seattle, take SR 99 south to the First Avenue South Bridge (which becomes SR 509). Follow SR 509 south to the SR 518 exit (Burien/Sea-Tac Airport). Take the Sea-Tac Airport exit and follow the signs for Air Cargo Rd. Take the Air Cargo Rd exit. Turn right on S 170th St, then right on Air Cargo Rd, then right on S 160th St. Follow the Rental Car Return signs to the left hand entrance into the rental car facility.

From Downtown Tacoma (via Interstate 5):

Take I-5 north to exit 154A/SR 518 west. Take the Sea-Tac Airport exit and follow the signs for Rental Car Return to International Blvd / SR 99 south. Follow the Rental Car Return signs to the right hand entrance into the rental car facility.

From Downtown Bellevue (via Interstate 405):

Take I-405 south. Merge with SR 518 west toward Burien. Take the Sea-Tac Airport exit and follow the signs for Rental Car Return to International Blvd / SR 99 south. Follow the Rental Car Return signs to the right hand entrance into the rental car facility.

SIXT state they will house a number of vehicle makes and models including Ford E-350 Clubwagon, Ford Expedition, Ford Explorer, Ford Flex, Ford Mustang, Hyundai Accent, Hyundai Elantra, Hyundai Genesis, Jeep Liberty, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Mercedes-Benz E-class, Mercedes-Benz GLK, Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Mercedes-Benz SLK, Nissan Versa, Toyota Camry, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Sienna, VW Eos and the Volvo XC90.

Sixt Rent A Car from Seattle Airport are available to book via usrentacar.co.uk

 

Regards,

James

 car hire USA

Sometimes Less Is More…

Hi all,

A pretty enticing title for something that perhaps isn’t as exciting as it sounds :-) but hey if I’d have written “we’ve amended our filter button” would you really have clicked through to read? No I didn’t think so… well you’re here anyway so you may as well read on…

At the beginning of the year we redesigned our website, I think I may have mentioned it once or twice. Anyway part of the redesign was the introduction of a new results page and new filter options including filter by price, filter by supplier, filter by insurance type and filter by car category.

The idea behind this was to allow our customers to manipulate our results to leave them with the vehicles they were truly interested in, however it never really took off mainly for two reasons.

Firstly it was quite complicated, a lot of options in columns which perhaps was a little too much to take in.

Secondly it was slow to use, with all these options the site was constantly searching for different combinations which ultimately slowed the whole process down instead of speeding it up, as was intended.

So with this in mind we asked a few customers their opinion on what they wanted in our USA car hire filter bar…. and it wasn’t the all dancing filter bar we’d been offering, it was a basic filter option where they could compare different types of car hire category.

So that’s what we’ve given you…Behold…

Now at the top of our results page (where the cars are shown) you will note the filter button, if you click on this you will come face to face with the above image, pick the cars you want a quote on and click the filter button and hey presto, you’ve got your results.

See sometimes less is more…

regards,

James,

 Florida car hire

usrentacar.co.uk Just Got Faster

Hi all,

Back in April we launched the new look usrentacar website and with it came a whole load of new features including reviews, wait times and our platinum rate

The new look has mainly been well received and has recently helped us to our third nominations at the prestigious British Travel Awards (hooray). The one thing that has slightly disappointed us was the speed in which our results were being returned.

If you take for example Orlando International Airport, we are returning 234 separate rental rates (the most in the UK) yesterday this would have taken our site 1 min’s 6 seconds…

More Dwain Chambers than Usain Bolt…

Happily today we’ve bought some new trainers… and the same 234 results are now being returned in just 22 seconds… 

Now all we need is our Olympic medal!?

regards,

James

 Florida car hire

Boston International Airport The Next Airport To Get A Consolidated Car Rental Facility

Hi all,

From a press release dated the 16/02/12 the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) approved a rolling five-year program costing more than $1 billion to fund 340 projects as part of the Authority’s  improvements.

$300 Million of this cash (the largest amount to be invested) will be used to build a brand new consolidated car rental facility at Boston International Airport.

The $300 million project will enhance customer service, ease airport roadway and terminal curbside congestion and replace rental car diesel buses with alternative fuel buses and improve air quality.

Reports state that the funding for these projects will come from Massport, customer and passenger facility charges and federal grants.

We haven’t received confirmation of how the customer facility charges will be collected however historically its been via car rental companies but I will keep you posted on any announcement.

regards,

James

 car hire USA

Launch of Florida Car Hire USA mini sites

Hi all,

This weekend we finally launched the final site in our series of specialist mini-sites for car hire in America.

We have now added to our portfolio

www.usacarhiredirect.com

www.usa-car-hire.net

www.floridacarhires.com

www.florida-carhire.net

www.carrentalusa.net

www.car-hire-usa.net

www.carhireus.co.uk

www.carhireorlando.net

www.car-hire-florida.net

We are hoping these mini sites will allow more customers to benefit from our low cost car hire.

Is there anything we are missing. I’d love to hear any ideas.

Regards,

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Gavin

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3 ways for USA Car Hire Suppliers to improve in 2009

Hi all,

Everybody knows that 2009 is set to be one of the toughest years financially since Margaret Thatcher was in charge (for our under 25 drivers, she was prime minister ;-) ,? a simple search on Google points towards the lack of money in the U.S. car industry, which in turn has had various knock on effects to the rental market including increased operational costs and an extension to car leasing options meaning that last year the maximum age of a vehicle was approximately 6 months old they are not more likely to average 12 months.

I believe now is the perfect time for the car rental suppliers to go back to basics with the UK car renter. I truly believe that even though the price increases this year are obviously necessary, I still believe the customer should be able to expect a better level of service for their pound

Below I have written 3 things I believe car rental suppliers can do to improve the service they offer to our customers. I would love to hear your experiences and also if you agree with me or if I’ve left anything off.

Hard Sell

Our customers have every insurance they require to hire in the U.S., they have been on a flight/travelling (barring delays) for up to 8 hours, they are tired, they are hungry and mostly they just want to get to their hotel or villa and begin to enjoy the holiday they have been looking forward to.

I appreciate that the suppliers workforce has the right to earn additional commissions and the majority of staff are not pushy however to increase customers experience the minority need to be trained and monitored in offering the additional services without coming across as hard sell merchants.

Perhaps if we (the brokers) were offered the opportunity through our customers to rate the operative who serviced them we could begin to alter some of the customer service culture inbred in to our suppliers. What do you think? Should we set this up?

Dirty Cars

I was surprised to note how many complaints we had last year regarding the cleanliness of our suppliers vehicles. From my point of view I could see no reason why any customer should ever pick up a vehicle dirty. The suppliers are well aware of when the vehicle is booked for and when the customer will be arriving.

Most of the responses from the supplier have agreed that the provision of dirty cars is not acceptable and blame busy periods for this. Interestingly we also got a few responses in house that suggested late returns were to blame… I doubt this though.

The obvious response from us is, put on more staff in busy periods. As users of the product have you come across this? What do you think could be done to improve this?

Long Queue’s

Again, you’ve been on a 8 hour flight, you’ve queued to get through customs, you’ve queued to get your luggage and now you have to queue to get your car hire….. OK you expect to queue a little but some lengths we’ve had reported are truly unacceptable.

The same rule applies here, they know your coming, they know the person in front of you and behind you are both coming… so staff accordingly.

The other obvious thing to me is…. we are in 2009, surely all the paper work could be done before you even leave your house? If the suppliers were a bit more tech savvy, you the customer could fill in, read the terms and have a car parking space (so you know which vehicle is yours) assigned to you within minutes. The car hire industry is by far the runt of the travel litter when it comes to technology.

How else could the supplier improve on queue time?

Summary

I’m a firm believer that 2009 is about customer satisfaction. Please feel free to comment on what I have written here, the collective usrentacar customers will hire more vehicles then I possibly ever could, so your experiences are vital.

Regards,

Gavin Boswell,

U.S. Rent A Car.co.uk

Car Hire USA – Driving Tips

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Thank you to Mr. Kevin Saunders from?Stoke for this driving tips guide. Kevin told me he wrote these over five years ago, so they may need slightly updating, What has changed since Kevin wrote these?

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Adjustable Steering Wheels

Many cars in America and Canada have the facility to adjust the angle of their steering wheels. There is usually a release lever on the underside of the steering column which has to be pulled or pushed before the angle of the steering wheel can be adjusted. This lever is often close to the emergency flash control and could perhaps be confused with it.

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Air Bags

Many cars have driver and front passenger air bags which will inflate violently if the car experiences a collision. Due to a number of very serious injuries caused by air bags there is now a call fromCar hire florida usa safety organisations for car manufacturers to install a switch enabling them to be disabled but I’m not sure how far this move has progressed. Air bags are said to be especially dangerous for children and short people, who are advised to sit in rear seats if an air bag is fitted.

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Air Conditioning

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Almost all rental cars in the USA and Canada have air conditioning, which you’re very likely to need in summer. As in buildings, you will need to close all the windows in order to make the air conditioning effective. The air conditioning control will often be marked “AC” or “A/C”. In many cases two levels of air conditioning are available, labelled “Normal” and “Max”. It is quite normal for the air conditioning unit to drip some water onto the road after being used.

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Automatic Transmission (Automatic Gearbox)

All normal rental cars in America and Canada have automatic transmission, which is very easy to get used to provided you remember that when in gear, forward or reverse, the car will creep unless you keep your foot on the footbrake.

Most automatic transmission “gear levers” are floor mounted, while in a few cars they are on the steering column although this is very rare nowadays.

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For those not familiar with automatic transmissions, the positions of the “gear lever” are:

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P – Park – engages a pinion which acts as a brake. Never push or tow a car with the automatic transmission control in Park.

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R – Reverse – the car will creep backwards unless you have your foot on the footbrake.

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N - Neutral – use this position if the car has to be pushed or towed.

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O – Overdrive – for driving on fast roads. This position is not present in most cars.

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D – Drive – the normal position for driving; the car will creep forwards unless you have your foot on the footbrake.

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2 – Hold in second gear – occasionally useful should you ever need to use the engine as a brake when descending a steep hill. This position is not present in some cars.

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1 – Hold in first gear – same as 2 but for even steeper hills and/or slower descents. Sometimes marked as “F” for First.

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A button at the side of the level must be pressed by the thumb in order to move it.

In order to avoid damage, the automatic transmission mechanism will often not allow you to shift from “D” to “2″ or “1″ when you are travelling above a certain speed.

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Other possible safety interlocks, which may or may not be present, include not being able to shift out of “P” unless the ignition key is inserted and turned to “On”, not being able to shift out of “P” unless the footbrake is being pressed, and not being able to remove the ignition key unless the lever is in the “P” position.

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In a car with automatic transmission there is no clutch pedal. The right foot should still be used for both the accelerator and brake pedals.

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Central Locking And Remote Locking

Central locking is common on cars in the USA and Canada, although this is usually operated by pressing a button on the inside of the driver’s door rather than by turning the key in the door lock. Remote locking is now fairly common on larger cars. Look for the remote “clickers” in the glove box or in a brand new car in the boot, perhaps in the spare tyre compartment.

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Cruise Control

Cruise control is commonly found on larger cars. When the cruise control is switched on the car will automatically maintain any desired steady speed, although car hire Florida USAthis will usually decrease or increase to some extent as you ascend or descend hills. The slightest touch on the footbrake will cancel the cruise control; there is also a button on the cruise control itself to do this. If you accelerate, for example to overtake another vehicle, then the car will automatically return to the cruise control speed afterwards. On the wide open straight roads of America and Canada, with very low traffic levels, cruise control is a viable and useful facility. If you don’t feel confident using the cruise control then you can just ignore it.

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Daytime Running Lights

I have seen an unofficial mention that all new cars sold in Canada since 1989 have daytime running lights – in other words their headlights are switched on whenever the engine is running, as is the case in some Scandinavian countries.

Very occasionally one comes across road signs suggesting that headlights be switched on even in daylight over a certain stretch of highway. I presume that in most cases these signs are in areas where fog or dust is a common problem.

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Drink Holders

Many cars have devices for holding soft drink cans or cups. Large plastic cups of soft drinks often have a narrow section at the bottom designed to fit these holders. Drink holders are often found inside the armrest between the front seats. You may need to experiment to discover how they unfold. In new cars the drink holder may still be packed inside the glove box, the armrest or maybe the boot (possibly next to spare wheel). You may also discover some other useful accessories such as a spare key or remote door lock “clickers”.

The law says that you must never, ever, have an open alcohol container inside the car. All alcohol containers are best kept in the boot.

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Driver’s Position and Pedal Positions

Since the rule of the road throughout the USA and Canada is to drive on the right (except in the US Virgin Islands), the driver sits on the lefthand side of the vehicle. However, the accelerator is still on the right and the foot brake in the middle. Since all normal rental cars in the USA and Canada have automatic transmission there is no clutch pedal and the different position of the driver doesn’t take long to get used to. The right foot should be used for both the accelerator and brake pedals.

Becoming familiar with a left hand drive manual gearbox car might take some time though – there might be a tendency to attempt to change gear with the windscreen winder on the door (not that there would be one – most rental cars have electric windows).

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Electric Mirrors

Electric external mirrors are common. Controls vary, but sometimes you need to rotate the control clockwise or anti-clockwise to select which mirror to move, then use the control as a joystick to actually move the desired mirror.

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Electric Windows

Electric windows are common on rental cars. Finding the controls and figuring out how they work can sometimes be a bit tricky, especially as you often need to lower the driver’s window in order to show your rental agreement when exiting from the rental car depot immediately after picking up the car.

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Handbrakes

Most cars have a pull up handbrake lever (called a “parking brake” in the USA and Canada) located between the front seats, as is found in the majority of UK, European and Japanese cars. However, in a few rental cars you may find the parking brake operated by pushing a foot pedal located under the dashboard, high up on the extreme left hand side, and released by pulling a handle also located under the dashboard. These parking brakes are only meant to be used when the car is parked on a steep slope – normally the pinion engaged when the “Park” position of the automatic transmission “gear lever” is selected is sufficient to act as a brake. By the way, using the automatic transmission Park pinion instead of the handbrake is the reason why you often see American and Canadian cars “lurch” a little after stopping, when the driver takes his or her foot off the footbrake.

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Hatchbacks

Hatchbacks are relatively rare in the USA and Canada, especially amongst rental cars. Nearly all US and Canadian rental cars are saloons (sedans) with a separate boot compartment.

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Keys

Most rental cars are supplied with only one key. Check in the glove box, armrest and boot to see if there is a spare. If not, you can usually get a duplicate key cut at any Wal-Mart or K-Mart for less than a Dollar, except perhaps for very new cars for which they don’t have a blank, in which case you will need to visit a locksmith and pay slightly more. Keeping a duplicate car key on your person can avoid a major incident should you accidentally lock the key inside the car.

Modern cars with immobilisers have sophisticated keys whose electronic functions cannot be easily duplicated. However, a simple duplicate key mechanical key might enable you to gain access to a locked car with the original key still in the ignition.

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Petrol

All normal rental cars in the USA and Canada take the least expensive grade of unleaded petrol which is universally available.

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Petrol Filler Cap and Boot Release

On a few cars the petrol (gas) filler cap is hidden behind the rear number plate, which hinges down to reveal it.

The controls for releasing the petrol filler cap and the boot from inside the car can be in the form of mechanical levers situated beside the driver’s seat, or alternatively in the form of electrical push buttons located inside the glove box.

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Power Assisted Steering

Power assisted steering is common on all but the smallest cars. If the car should stall, then the power to the power assisted steering will be lost. This can be very unnerving as the wheels become much harder to turn and you may easily be fooled into thinking that something catastrophic has happened to the steering mechanism.

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Radio/Cassette Player/CD Player

Almost all rental cars have a radio, and most medium and large rental cars have a radio/cassette player. Audio cassettes are completely compatible throughout the world.

In the summer of 1998 we had a rental car with a radio/CD player for the first time, but this had no cassette player. Original audio CD’s are compatible throughout the world. Most modern car CD players will play CD-R disks, and possibly CD-RW’s, but probably not CD’s with music in MP3 format.

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Rear Window Wipers, Washers and Heaters

Since most rental cars are saloons with a separate boot, their rear windows are normally too shallow to have wipers or washers. However, the rear window is normally heated. If you are used to driving a European or Japanese hatchback with a rear window wiper and washer, the lack of these features will probably strike you as an extremely serious safety deficiency.

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Safety and Warning Interlocks

Due to the very considerable car safety lobby in North America and the equally considerable risk of car manufacturers incurring heavy damages through class actions from people injured while driving their products, many American and Canadian cars have various safety and warning interlock systems, for example:

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  • You may not be able to start the engine unless the automatic transmission is in “Park”. If nothing happens when you turn the ignition key, or the key won’t turn in the lock, then this is the first thing to check for.

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  • You may need to press or pull a button on the steering column next to the ignition switch before you can turn the ignition key. However, don’t confuse this button with the alarm flasher button or the steering wheel tilt adjustment release lever.

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  • The starter may not operate until you press the footbrake.

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  • The starter may not operate until the driver’s seatbelt is fastened.

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  • The starter may not operate if any door is not fully closed.

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  • You may not be able to shift the automatic transmission out of “Park” until you press the footbrake pedal and/or the engine is running.

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  • You may not be able to shift from Drive into 2 or 1 (hold in second or first gear, to use the engine as a brake when descending a steep hill) when travelling above a certain speed.

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  • You may not be able to open a door or the boot if the engine is running.

Seat Belts

By law the driver and all passengers, in both the front seats and all back seats, must wear seat belts at all times everywhere in the USA and Canada.

On some cars the shoulder straps of the front seat belts automatically move out of the way when you open the doors and then move back to their normal position when the doors are closed. Do not attempt to move the mechanism of these seatbelts yourself as you may damage it.

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Sun Shade

This is one accessory which won’t come with the car but which you might consider purchasing. Sun shades are “concertina” folding cardboard devices which you put up inside the windscreen when the car is parked, so as to keep the internal temperature of the car down in summer. The other major advantage of such a shade is to keep the temperature of the steering wheel down to a level where you can bear to touch it after the car has been parked in the sun during the summer. These shades are widely available at a very low cost at shops such as Wal-Mart and K-Mart.

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Sunroofs

Sunroofs are surprisingly rare on rental cars in the USA and Canada, probably due to the very genuine need for an opaque roof in order to shade a car’s occupants from the intense rays of the sun during the summer.

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Warning Sounds

A buzzer or chime may sound if the car’s computer thinks that you need to take some action, for example:

  • If you forget to switch off the lights before taking the ignition key out.
  • If you forget to remove the ignition key before opening the driver’s door.
  • If you forget to fasten the seat belts.
  • If you hear a buzzer or chime, always be sure to investigate the reason for it.

Car Hire USA – Things to remember

Hi all,

Today I was looking through our database of questions asked by customers and of course there was plenty of repetition. So I thought I’d list some pointers for people to remember regarding car hire.

  1. Our suppliers will never guarantee make or model for any car hire type. Please bear in mind you are booking a category of vehicles and not a specific make or model, for example, You book a convertible and not a Ford Mustang.
  2. With this in mind, we also cannot confirm individual specifications for vehicles, the number of suitcases and MPG for instance are only for example purposes.
  3. You must present your full driving licence. If you hold the “new” style UK licence then a full licence represents both parts, plastic and paper.

    Things to remember about car hire in the USA

    Things to remember about car hire in the USA

  4. The lead driver generally (a few occasions when not) must be the holder of a major credit card.
  5. Drivers must be 21 years or older?to drive, additional charges can be charged for drivers aged 21-24. Visit Car Hire USA for under 25′s?for more info.
  6. You must take your car hire voucher with you, without it you maybe refused your rental. Vouchers are printed from our website. Click here to log in.
  7. Always read your rental agreement before you sign it. When you collect your vehicle locally?you will be asked to sign a rental agreement, this agreement acts as a contract between yourselves and the car rental supplier. We urge all customers to fully read this document and query anything they don’t understand.

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When it was your first time hiring in the U.S. what do you wish you’d known? Have a forgotten to add anything else?

Regards,

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Gavin

Welcome to the new look usrentacar.co.uk

Welcome to the new look www.usrentacar.co.uk website. We have launched some new features which we hope will help improve your visit, including this blog.
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About the blog
This is our second attempt at introducing blogs to U.S. Rent A Car, the first time I believe?I was?slightly to ambitious with what?I wanted and expected. I had a dream of U.S. Rent A Car customers blogging away on our site, offering hints and tips to each other and developing a community feel. I realise now that this dream, is just that….a dream. I’m not sure its totally possible for a niche website like ours to build up that sort of following. So I basically put this on the back burner.

However when XL went bust and we needed to communicate changes that were forced upon us I realised that?the blog would have been an ideal way of communicating these alterations. So instead of building a community, the www.usrentacar.co.uk/blog will be used as a tool to communicate with you (the customer) about what is happening at us rentacar. I will try my best to also post items I find interesting and possibly beneficial.

New stuff

Apart from this blog, we are also introducing some new features that we hope will increase your enjoyment of the site.

U.S. Rent A Car New Site

U.S. Rent A Car New Site

Ask Arnie

Arnie is the latest member of the usrentacar team. Arnie the Eagle (ask arnie) is here to help you with any questions you may have concerning your us car rental. Simply begin to type in your question, Arnie with the use of predictive?question software?will try to guess your question and with one click will provide you with the answer. Hopefully saving you the cost of a phone call.

Most popular locations

This offers a glimpse in to real time bookings. It shows the most popular locations that our customers are searching for at any one time.

Search reviews

Since we launched the customer review service we have received over 10,000 personal reviews of our suppliers and the service they produce at each location. We have now made the review section more relative to the individual location, you, the customer is searching for. Not only do we now show the percentage score for the overall supplier service, but we also offer the score per location. We are still the only car rental company to offer this.

Advanced filtering

Offering up to 6 suppliers per location does mean that the amount of content can become cluttered, we have added an advance filtering service that should make your car hire search much easier.

Compare

To increase our search engine further we have introduced a “compare” facility that will allow customers to tick vehicles they are interested in and then display them all on one screen.

Look and feel

Of course the most striking thing is almost the total change of look and feel for the site. We were going for modern, fresh and above all fast. Failures of the last website were definitely the speed of loading, we hope we’ve put this right now.? Do you like the new look?

If we’ve missed something please let me know.

Regards,

Gavin Boswell,
U.S. Rent A Car.co.uk

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