For all non-Virgin travel topics, with subforums for popular common themes.
#961537 by Fuzzy14
01 Aug 2021, 22:50
Despite 3 cancelled holidays in 2020/21, I'm going to be positive and looking at booking up for next year.
And, surprisingly, flight prices aren't as crazy as I expected. They're actually quite normal for school holidays.
But what's going on with car hire? Usually get a group W car (SUV, like Hyundia Santa Fe) for around £800, coming out £1500+
Tried a variety of sources like Virgin Holidays, BA, Netflights. All way more than usual.
Is this just a covid thing or is there some other reason?
#961538 by ScoobySu
01 Aug 2021, 23:10
Fuzzy14 wrote:All way more than usual. Is this just a covid thing or is there some other reason?


I saw this when I made a booking in May for September. We booked an Intermediate SUV for £ 220 for 5 days, three weeks later it was £ 449.

I believe it's a knock on from Covid unfortunately - a lot of the hire car firms - particularly in the USA - had to sell off their fleets in 2020 to stay afloat, and haven't been able to restock quickly enough to meet the burgeoning demand. There are reports on FT of high mileage low specification models only being available too :-( Hopefully prices will return to "normal" from 2022 but time will tell ....
#961552 by Hev60
02 Aug 2021, 23:06
Having read your post, I did some research on Netflights.

In March 2020 we had booked an SUV with them for MCO pickup for 2weeks and it was £274 (we actually only used 6days before having to return home).
I’ve just done a dummy booking for March 2022 … omg an eye watering £1044. However this was actually cheaper than a basic economy car with Dollar or Alamo which was around £1265 for 2weeks.

Scoobysu is right that the major car hire firms across the whole US off loaded their fleet in 2020 and then didn’t renew the 2021 lease contracts. Then when people started to move around again, there were no cars to meet demand.

Hopefully it will get sorted but they are not going to increase their fleets just yet due to the uncertainty of tourist travel. I just hope it won’t be one of those many scenarios where once a price increases, it never goes back down to ‘normal’ . Paying that kind of money for car hire is something we have never considered and it will significantly impact on a family holiday to the US in the future.
#961923 by cjrp
06 Sep 2021, 10:11
I've had good results using Autoslash (and then booking on Priceline). For example a 4-day full size rental at JFK was £550+ everywhere I looked, but Autoslash/Priceline got it for £275. However I've just been stung for £150 because I had to call Avis when the car battery died repeatedly (probably because the car's been sat around for 2+ years!), and they charged me for the mechanic callout/car swap >-(
#962278 by mallin
08 Oct 2021, 11:42
Like everyone else after several cancelled flights have booked two for next year with BA as using the companion vouchers is the best way for us before they run out again.

On looking at car hire and going to every site and comparison possible virgin Holidays is coming out the cheapest for a 10 day in March/April next year to Vegas, for £450 r a small Suv. The only thing is I cannot see anywhere in the T & C 's is an upper age limit as hubby will be 70 scary enough. Does anyone know of an upper age limit can only find a minimum ones.

Thanks in advance Linda
#962279 by moodyblue
08 Oct 2021, 15:06
I'm 75 and apart from the last 2 years have rented a car every year in Florida. Usually use VH as they tend to come up the cheapest and never an issue with age. If you use VH don't forget to check in with Alamo and skip the car rental desk!
#962287 by mallin
09 Oct 2021, 12:08
Thanks moodyblue,

So hopefully we will be ok, still a bit wary of travelling as hate wearing face coverings any longer than a quick visit to the shops so if its still in force don't know how we are going to do 10 hours plus.

Have done the Alamo skip the desk before it was really good and very efficient, as once we waited over 2 hours to be seen in Seattle with Avis that was a nightmare after a long flight.
Linda
#962290 by plane340
09 Oct 2021, 19:16
Another vote for Alamo.
So good being able to check in on line and just turn up at the Alamo parking lot and choose any car from your category
Saves so much time and even better that most of the time it's cheaper booking it through Virgin.
#962315 by slinky09
13 Oct 2021, 15:47
There's another dynamic at play here and one that unfortunately is a little longer lasting - there's a global semiconductor shortage and auto manufacturers are suffering production cuts. As a result they are concentrating sales on higher margin private buyers than rental companies which are traditionally lower value with poor residual values. So as the rentals are looking to replenish their depleted fleets, supply is constrained.
#962325 by VS075
14 Oct 2021, 11:58
I did a price comparison from a trip to Florida I did 5 years ago for one week. For the same class of car (Group E) with the same firm (Avis booked through the VS FC page) with the same time and dates (year updated obviously), it would now cost me £876 which is over 5 times what I paid back then.

Thinking what we did that week and given we stayed in the Orlando area, if we had our time again but had to pay 2021/22 prices we would simply rely on Uber etc. to get about as on balance, the cost difference back then wouldn't have been that great and could have lived with not having our own transportation.

It's a manna from heaven for those demanding we use cars less and it could be the push some need to change entrenched habits, but for those with families or planning multi-destination holidays on a fly-drive basis, it's put the price up considerably. Given the poor GBP/USD rate (which, frankly, has been poor ever since a certain vote on 23/06/2016), I imagine the cost of Florida holidays is now ridiculous compared to just a few years before.

On a serious note, I would urge people to think carefully about their itineraries and evaluate whether the likes of Uber would work out cheaper and much better value for money. Can't speak for other firms, but I know Uber have a tool on their website where you can get an estimate of how much a journey from A to B would typically cost.

I wonder if some car hire firms will hold on to cars for longer than they normally would? I could be wrong, but hire firms that have "budget" brands typically pass on cars above a certain mileage to them so that the top end brands get the new/low mileage cars.

slinky09 wrote:There's another dynamic at play here and one that unfortunately is a little longer lasting - there's a global semiconductor shortage and auto manufacturers are suffering production cuts. As a result they are concentrating sales on higher margin private buyers than rental companies which are traditionally lower value with poor residual values. So as the rentals are looking to replenish their depleted fleets, supply is constrained.


Indeed. Lead times from factories for new cars are a lot longer than they would be normally.
#962326 by mitchja
14 Oct 2021, 13:36
I too have ditched car hire for my usual Fort Lauderdale trips going forwards as when I priced it up a few weeks ago even having an AmEx Plat card for the insurance etc it’s still £350+ for 5 days >-( I’ll stick with Uber etc now.
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