Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Travel&Dining > Special Interest Travel > Travel with Children
Reload this Page >

Terrible experience with Hertz renting a car with a child seat

Terrible experience with Hertz renting a car with a child seat

Old Jun 23, 17, 2:41 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Yangon
Programs: LH, PG, BA, SPG, HH
Posts: 260
Terrible experience with Hertz renting a car with a child seat

I recently travelled long haul with my 20 month son for the first time. We flew nine hours, had a four layover and then had another 7 hour flight. Although difficult do such a long journey as a single parent generally people were very helpful and understanding.

The big exception was Hertz firstly the driver of the shuttle bus did not help at all as I try to load my suitcase and stroller onto the bus. But then when I got to the car rental station I went to the bay my car was in and saw that the baby seat I had booked was not in the car. So I went back and asked for the seatand it was soon brought to my car but to my astonishment they said they can not fix it in the car. So there I was left to work out how to fix the seat in the car with just some half worn out instructions on the side of the seat. Whilst at the same time trying to keep my very tired and grumpy son from having a total melt down. The seat proved to be a total nightmare to fix, luckily some nice people did help me but if still took over 1.5hrs to fix the seat.
Lobster is offline  
Old Jun 25, 17, 12:44 am
  #2  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Watchlisted by the prejudiced, en route to purgatory
Programs: Just Say No to Fleecing and Blacklisting
Posts: 88,319
Originally Posted by Lobster View Post
I recently travelled long haul with my 20 month son for the first time. We flew nine hours, had a four layover and then had another 7 hour flight. Although difficult do such a long journey as a single parent generally people were very helpful and understanding.

The big exception was Hertz firstly the driver of the shuttle bus did not help at all as I try to load my suitcase and stroller onto the bus. But then when I got to the car rental station I went to the bay my car was in and saw that the baby seat I had booked was not in the car. So I went back and asked for the seatand it was soon brought to my car but to my astonishment they said they can not fix it in the car. So there I was left to work out how to fix the seat in the car with just some half worn out instructions on the side of the seat. Whilst at the same time trying to keep my very tired and grumpy son from having a total melt down. The seat proved to be a total nightmare to fix, luckily some nice people did help me but if still took over 1.5hrs to fix the seat.
Most car rental places I've used seem to refuse to install the rented car seat in the car. They want the renter -- not the rental company -- to carry the risk of improper installation of the car seat.

A way to handle installing a car seat in a car while traveling alone with a very young child is to secure the child in the stroller while installing the car seat. Not a perfect solution but it works well enough for many.

By the way, over-encumbered and tired parents/guardians seem to be less likely to be as alert in mitigating the risk of a child getting injured or worse while at or around airports or otherwise traveling. So carrying your own car seat on the trip by air may help in that you are more likely to know how to install it properly, but such transport and use comes with its own set of risks. Then again, the rental car company car seats may also be of questionable strength due to handling and age.
GUWonder is offline  
Old Jun 25, 17, 11:42 am
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Yangon
Programs: LH, PG, BA, SPG, HH
Posts: 260
Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
Most car rental places I've used seem to refuse to install the rented car seat in the car. They want the renter -- not the rental company -- to carry the risk of improper installation of the car seat.

A way to handle installing a car seat in a car while traveling alone with a very young child is to secure the child in the stroller while installing the car seat. Not a perfect solution but it works well enough for many.

By the way, over-encumbered and tired parents/guardians seem to be less likely to be as alert in mitigating the risk of a child getting injured or worse while at or around airports or otherwise traveling. So carrying your own car seat on the trip by air may help in that you are more likely to know how to install it properly, but such transport and use comes with its own set of risks. Then again, the rental car company car seats may also be of questionable strength due to handling and age.
They explained that they would not fix it in the car as they would not take the risk this to me just makes it worse. It is total corporate arse covering rather providing customer service.

Here is an idea hertz why don't you train your staff how to fix the car seats into the cars. This way everyone wins, You mitigate your risk as your staff will know what they are doing. I get the service I expected as nowhere on their website do they say they do not fix the car seat into the car. And most importantly my son is safer as he gets a car seat installed by someone who knows what they are doing rather than a dad who has never installed one before (I don't own a car) trying to work out how to do it for the first time after being travelling for 24hrs.
Lobster is offline  
Old Jun 25, 17, 1:55 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: France
Programs: United Plus
Posts: 1,761
Any car seat tech will tell you to never rent a car seat when renting a car. Always bring your own or have another reliable source.

Not only is there the problem you ran into, the missing owner's manual but the seat itself could be unsafe. It could be expired, broken or involved in a recall. Also, many of these seats aren't stored and cleaned correctly.

As a stupid, first-time mom, I made this mistake too. They wanted by very big 1 year old to fit into an infant seat. Ugh! It was old and crappy looking. I've peeked at the car seats when I've rented cars on both sides of the Atlantic and I've never been impressed.

There's just too much risk. I wouldn't trust the car rental company to provide a decent seat and I certainly wouldn't trust a random employee to install it.

I traveled long haul between California and Europe, by myself with one, then two and later three children in tow. At 20 months, your child can easily ride in a car seat strapped to a luggage cart. Works great! Leave the stroller at home. At 20 months, the baby carrier was still super useful. A good quality one should still work and my tired toddlers could be worn while I threw the carry-on's into the car seat.

I also bought a car seat in California and kept it at my parents' place for our visits. My mom would throw the seat in the car on the way to the airport and I'd install it right as we left the airport.

Anyway, it really wasn't that difficult to bring the seat. I knew how to install it so no worries there and no screw up's by the car seat companies.

Car accidents are the no. 1 killer of little kids in developed countries so please take car safety seriously and keep your child safe.
Eclipsepearl is offline  
Old Jun 25, 17, 3:25 pm
  #5  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Watchlisted by the prejudiced, en route to purgatory
Programs: Just Say No to Fleecing and Blacklisting
Posts: 88,319
Originally Posted by Eclipsepearl View Post
Any car seat tech will tell you to never rent a car seat when renting a car. Always bring your own or have another reliable source.

Not only is there the problem you ran into, the missing owner's manual but the seat itself could be unsafe. It could be expired, broken or involved in a recall. Also, many of these seats aren't stored and cleaned correctly.

As a stupid, first-time mom, I made this mistake too. They wanted by very big 1 year old to fit into an infant seat. Ugh! It was old and crappy looking. I've peeked at the car seats when I've rented cars on both sides of the Atlantic and I've never been impressed.

There's just too much risk. I wouldn't trust the car rental company to provide a decent seat and I certainly wouldn't trust a random employee to install it.

I traveled long haul between California and Europe, by myself with one, then two and later three children in tow. At 20 months, your child can easily ride in a car seat strapped to a luggage cart. Works great! Leave the stroller at home. At 20 months, the baby carrier was still super useful. A good quality one should still work and my tired toddlers could be worn while I threw the carry-on's into the car seat.

I also bought a car seat in California and kept it at my parents' place for our visits. My mom would throw the seat in the car on the way to the airport and I'd install it right as we left the airport.

Anyway, it really wasn't that difficult to bring the seat. I knew how to install it so no worries there and no screw up's by the car seat companies.

Car accidents are the no. 1 killer of little kids in developed countries so please take car safety seriously and keep your child safe.
For kids under 1 years of age, the number 1 killer of injury death is suffocation. For kids older than 1 and less than 5 years of age, drowning is the number 1 killer. For children 5 years of age to 18, it's motor vehicle accidents indeed. If car seats weren't as widely mandated and used as they are for children under 5 years of age, the leading cause of injury death of U5s may have been different than breathing-related (suffocation + drowning).

The rental car company car seats are mainly pretty lousy in one or more way. Whether it's a matter of proper maintenance of the car seats, the cleanliness of the car seats, the lack of a user manual, other missing accessories needed to best use the seat, the strength of the seats are also questionable (since age and drops/accidents compromise them). Better to have your own on the trip or even buy one on arrival if there is a way to pull it off. Given the cost of some of the car seat rentals, buying a new one for use (or delivery) on arrival at destination may make reasonable sense even from just the fee perspective.

Last edited by GUWonder; Jun 25, 17 at 3:35 pm
GUWonder is offline  
Old Jun 28, 17, 12:35 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 526
Originally Posted by Eclipsepearl View Post
Any car seat tech will tell you to never rent a car seat when renting a car. Always bring your own or have another reliable source.

Not only is there the problem you ran into, the missing owner's manual but the seat itself could be unsafe. It could be expired, broken or involved in a recall. Also, many of these seats aren't stored and cleaned correctly.

As a stupid, first-time mom, I made this mistake too. They wanted by very big 1 year old to fit into an infant seat. Ugh! It was old and crappy looking. I've peeked at the car seats when I've rented cars on both sides of the Atlantic and I've never been impressed.

There's just too much risk. I wouldn't trust the car rental company to provide a decent seat and I certainly wouldn't trust a random employee to install it.

I traveled long haul between California and Europe, by myself with one, then two and later three children in tow. At 20 months, your child can easily ride in a car seat strapped to a luggage cart. Works great! Leave the stroller at home. At 20 months, the baby carrier was still super useful. A good quality one should still work and my tired toddlers could be worn while I threw the carry-on's into the car seat.

I also bought a car seat in California and kept it at my parents' place for our visits. My mom would throw the seat in the car on the way to the airport and I'd install it right as we left the airport.

Anyway, it really wasn't that difficult to bring the seat. I knew how to install it so no worries there and no screw up's by the car seat companies.

Car accidents are the no. 1 killer of little kids in developed countries so please take car safety seriously and keep your child safe.
Yes to all of the above.

We had an inexpensive, light-weight seat we used to travelling. We strapped it to a roller for transit.
Lovethecabin is offline  
Old Jun 28, 17, 1:09 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: NYC
Programs: CX, DL, BA Avios, AMEX Plat
Posts: 437
Won't help you for this trip, but for your next one get one of these: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Cosco-Sce...Color/41126745

We live in NYC and it's our only seat used in ubers/taxis/zipcars/rentals/planes anywhere we go. Super lightweight and surprisingly comfortable.
eyeballer is offline  
Old Jun 29, 17, 1:45 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: HAJ
Posts: 126
Originally Posted by eyeballer View Post
Won't help you for this trip, but for your next one get one of these: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Cosco-Sce...Color/41126745

We live in NYC and it's our only seat used in ubers/taxis/zipcars/rentals/planes anywhere we go. Super lightweight and surprisingly comfortable.
Yup, I would recommend this seat too.

My 2 year old loves this seat and you can even bring it on board of planes.

Plus it's lightweight, inexpensive and easy to install.
bacchus85 is offline  
Old Jun 29, 17, 1:36 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Dreamland
Posts: 681
+1 on the Cosco Scenera
levilevi is offline  
Old Jul 2, 17, 2:07 am
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Yangon
Programs: LH, PG, BA, SPG, HH
Posts: 260
Thanks for the recommendations for good seats, I'll have to look into them before my next trip.

Although I have to say I still think that if I'm paying about USD100 to rent a car seat it is reasonable for me to expect that the car seat is good quality, fit for purpose and properly installed. Just like I like to think that things like the brake pads, seat belts etc and all other safety equipment on the car is good quality, fit for purpose and properly installed.
Lobster is offline  
Old Jul 30, 17, 12:18 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: msp
Programs: DL Gold, Marriott Gold, Hilton Gold
Posts: 766
Sadly, never assume. My issue with rental car supplied seats is safety (has it been in an accident, where is it stored, has it been dropped, was it recalled, it is expired) and then honestly, cleanliness. Yuck. (because who's kid hasn't soiled the car seat :P)

We use our regular seat for travel - a Diono Radian - as it fits well on planes. So you wouldn't have to buy an additional seat just for travel. I also have a GoGo Babyz cart (after an unsuccessful attempt at using a standard luggage cart, which bent on first use and was much heavier) and LOVE it.

Good luck!
curl is offline  
Old Aug 3, 17, 4:13 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Austin TX
Programs: Mr Swise: AAdvantage LifetimePlt/3MM, HH Dmnd, SPG Plt
Posts: 1,442
The rental car companies can't assume the liability by having their guys install the seats.

And, honestly, I would never want them to. 99% of seats are installed or used improperly. The chances of the dude who vacuums the rental cars being qualified to properly install a seat to the point where they're part of the 1% doing it correctly are not great.

And if your child is injured due to improper installation, the rental company doesn't want that to fall onto them.
swise is offline  
Old Aug 3, 17, 3:40 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 4,102
Originally Posted by Lobster View Post
Although I have to say I still think that if I'm paying about USD100 to rent a car seat it is reasonable for me to expect that the car seat is good quality, fit for purpose and properly installed. Just like I like to think that things like the brake pads, seat belts etc and all other safety equipment on the car is good quality, fit for purpose and properly installed.
It's a reasonable assumption, but not a realistic one.

Car rental companies have zero control over what people do to the rental car seats and no way to test/evaluation the safety aspects of the seat between renters. Their mechanics can test the brakes and check the fluids of the car, but there are no simple tests to evaluate what has been done a car seat.

As for installing it, haven't you noticed car rental companies are now the travel equivalent of the self check aisle at the supermarket?
CDTraveler is offline  
Old Aug 4, 17, 10:47 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: LAX
Posts: 9,127
Having installed quite a few car seats on rental cars (all from hertz) i can not possibly imagine how it may take 1.5 hr. OP's frustration is understandable but stems primarily from to assumption that hertz would preinstall seats. USA is the land of lawsuits (some just, some rather frivolous) so unfortunately this is a side effect.. .

Those who push the idea of bringing own seats can perhaps explain how that would be practical for OP who struggled with existing luggage as is...

Speculation that somehow rental car seats are damaged/expired is nothing but fearmongering - we've been through this discussion quite a few times on this forum.
Dirty - possibly although with hertz i never encountered that - they were almost always brought in wrapped in plastic.

Furthermore for OP - using AAA CDP (1 will do) still includes one car seat for free - no need to pay $7-10/day. Posting those questions here ahead of your trip could have made it much easier for you. Cheers.

Last edited by azepine00; Aug 4, 17 at 11:00 pm
azepine00 is offline  
Old Aug 5, 17, 5:04 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: France
Programs: United Plus
Posts: 1,761
Originally Posted by azepine00 View Post
Those who push the idea of bringing own seats can perhaps explain how that would be practical for OP who struggled with existing luggage as is...

Speculation that somehow rental car seats are damaged/expired is nothing but fearmongering - we've been through this discussion quite a few times on this forum.
Dirty - possibly although with hertz i never encountered that - they were almost always brought in wrapped in plastic.

Furthermore for OP - using AAA CDP (1 will do) still includes one car seat for free - no need to pay $7-10/day. Posting those questions here ahead of your trip could have made it much easier for you. Cheers.
Not valid to say "fear mongering". A car seat is supposed to protect your child in an accident. Leaving this up to chance isn't being responsible. Go to one of the many car seat sites and ask them about this. They will all be singing the same tune. Keep your child safe. A rental car seat is NOT smart!

Taking the seat yourself if not a big deal. I managed alone with three kids. Those who have the luxury of traveling with another adult can definitely manage it.

I'd suggest you get some education on the subject and not spread misinformation. You think that plastic covering makes a car seat safe. Sorry. Not realistic.
Eclipsepearl is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread