Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Traveling is a hassle--SFO Version,

The flight to San Francisco when fine. In fact, SunCountry seems to have more room between rows than NorthWest and pretty comfortable seats. The flight was about half full so we also had the middle seat free. Landed early--about 11 PM.

The hassle came at the rental car. Took AirTrain from SFO terminal to their rental car facility. We had pre-registered online so we should have been able to walk right up to a car and drive off. Walked into the garage as the online instructions and directed. There were NO cars. NONE. (Remember that ad about just going to the lot and picking the car you want--It doesn't work when there are NO cars.) Went back to the counter. One person was still there.

Now the fun began. The counter person had us go through the registration procedure all over and told us to go out to the National part of the garage and there would be a short wait.

Got out to the garage. the attendant said they were bringing up cars one at a time. after about 45 minutes, they directed the people were were in front of us in the line to take the last VIP car that was in the garage. After another 15 minutes, the attendant said there were no more cars. If we wanted to, we could drive one of the 10 passenger vans to our hotel and return it in the morning for a car. Since we were only about five miles way, we took it.

Got to the hotel and the key cards didn’t work--back down to the desk for new cards.

Went back to Alamo about 6 hours latter (7 AM) and complained to a manager--got about a 25% reduction on our rate (a little over $100). This was also the first time anyone at Alamo or National said “I’m sorry” or explained what happened (a big conference had come in over the weekend and they rented more cars than they should have.)

Travel plusses:

  • Plane left early and got in early
  • Plain seats were comfortable
  • Baggage showed up at baggage claim fast
  • Hotel was close
  • Two people at National finally said “I’m sorry” the next morning
  • Saved over $100 on the car rental

Travel minuses:

  • Red-eye flight
  • Trying to sleep on the plane (although this plane was more comfortable than the Egypt Air flight to Cairo)
  • No car in garage
  • Had to go through rental car registration twice
  • No one at Alamo or National were honest when we got there (they clearly knew there were no cars available when we got their--wasted an hour of our time). No one at Alamo or National Car Rental said “I’m sorry.”
  • Key card (minor)
  • Had to go back to SFO at 7 AM instead of sleeping after a red-eye flight

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