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Old Apr 21, 07, 5:59 pm   #1
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Thrifty LAX has good (but strange) pricing

I just booked a minivan for $125 week (using the WMRT discount). But I need to pick it up on a Wednesday. If I picked it up Thursday morning (I was thinking of staying at an airport hotel Wednesday night, and sometimes they charge for parking) the rate skyrocketed.

I guess minivans aren't in high demand on Wednesdays?

BTW, how is this Thrifty location? LAX prices are usually good enough at the big boys that I don't "slum" with the second tier players.
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Old Apr 22, 07, 1:43 am   #2
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I've rented from Alamo, Thrifty and Dollar at LAX and all three have been equally pleasant experiences. Actually, Thrifty was the best because their facility is a lot closer than Alamo's (I swear it was a 20 minute ride on the shuttle bus all the way out to Alamo's lot). The personnel at all three spoke equivalent amounts of English (i.e. not a lot). Truthfully, with all of my rental experiences around the country, I've found very little differentiation between companies (there's more difference between individual locations than the companies themselves). The frequent renter programs offer different perks (Thrifty's gets you free days, National's gets you status and upgrades, some let you pick your own car out of an aisle, etc.), but for the basic rental itself, there's not much difference, and LAX seems to be no different.

The only difference seems to be Enterprise, probably due to their very different method of staffing: they only hire college-graduated type-A personalities who are all aspiring to someday be executive vice president of the company. This leads to a much more professional staff (i.e. not just low-end wage earners or college students) but also one that is very, very, very pressured to make the company lots of money (high sales make you look good and more likely to get promoted), which is why they pressure their customers so much to buy coverage and upgrade vehicles.

Even working in the industry, I've given up hope trying to figure out any sense in rental rates. IMHO, the real reason there are so many weird things like this is because the yield management people are not really organized and just making it all up as they go along. (In fact, that seems to be typical of the whole industry--it's more of a game than a serious business...). Somebody probably just randomly set that good weekly rate to expire on Wednesday and never bothered to check the rates for the next day. I sincerly doubt it's because the minivans are more popular on Thursday than Wednesday...

If you want to, you might be able to book the reservation for the Wednesday but then call the location directly and ask to move it to the next day; they might be able to do so without changing the rate. Since our franchise location's computer system is completely independent of the central reservations system, we can (and do) do this all the time, but since LAX is a corporate-owned location whose computer system is tied with reservations, it may change the rate just the same as if you called the reservations center. (I did a little digging online and found this number: (310) 645-1881. The 877 number listed for the location at thrifty.com actually forwards to the central reservations line in Tulsa, so use the above number to actually talk to someone in Los Angeles.)
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Old Apr 22, 07, 11:29 am   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
I just booked a minivan for $125 week (using the WMRT discount). But I need to pick it up on a Wednesday. If I picked it up Thursday morning (I was thinking of staying at an airport hotel Wednesday night, and sometimes they charge for parking) the rate skyrocketed.

I guess minivans aren't in high demand on Wednesdays?

BTW, how is this Thrifty location? LAX prices are usually good enough at the big boys that I don't "slum" with the second tier players.
id go ahead and pick it up on Weds as there are alot of places where theres free street parking around the Hotels at LAX. It depends on the Hotels location.

FWIW Ive stayed many a time by LAX and Never once paid for parking, sometimes I had a few mins walk back to teh Hotel, and make sure you read the signs least you not more the car on a day you arent allowed to park. But barring that Id just street park it or throw it in an economy lot as that would hav eto be cheaper then paying the infalted rate for a pick-up on Thrus.
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Old Apr 22, 07, 1:43 pm   #4
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Thanks for the tips and the insight, guys. Yeah, I've rented a zillion cars over the years and car rental companies are certainly more alike than different. As a general (but by no means absolute) rule, I think you're more likely to get a newer and better equipped car from the "major" companies. You're also slightly more likely to get a faster pick-up and return. I also think you're slightly less likely to be hassled to upgrade and for insurance. For these reasons -- and the fact that you can usually use codes and coupons to make the big boys' prices the same as the smaller competitors -- I usually stick to the majors. Oh, and the "fast rent" cards sometimes save a little time. But I'm not going to find a major willing to give me a minivan for $125/week.

I'm glad Thrifty's location is convenient. I think I have used them before at LAX, but it was like a decade ago, so my memory is very hazy.

As far as hotel parking goes, I have also USUALLY been able to park on the street at the LAX hotels, but not always. I usually priceline my LAX hotels, so I'm never sure which one I'll get. Last year, I got the Radisson, which is the closest to the airport (easy stroll to Terminal 1), but didn't have any obvious on-street parking. Since I was flying out the next morning, I returned the car and walked to my flight.
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