Flying family dilemma: Lug the car seat or pay up at rental counter?

Discussion in 'Other Car Rental Programs' started by sobore, Aug 28, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    http://www.today.com/travel/flying-family-dilemma-lug-car-seat-or-pay-rental-counter-8C11009960

    Traveling parents are in a bind: They don't want to lug a heavy car seat from home through the airport or risk it getting damaged in the cargo hold, so they opt for renting — but car rental agencies charge between $8 and $13 per car seat, per day. After a few days of renting, you can spend as much as a brand new seat costs — although picking one up safely with kids in tow upon landing would be a challenge.

    So, parents open their wallets.
    Worse yet, there's no guarantee that a rented car seat will be in safe condition. Or clean. Or come with an instruction manual on how to install it. Or even be there.
    Rental car companies Avis and Hertz told NBC News they provide car seats to its customers as a convenience.

    "The daily rental fee pays for a national inventory across all our locations of many more seats than are necessary to meet the demand," said Hertz spokeswoman Paula Rivera. (The fee is waived for one seat at Hertz for AAA members.)


    Rwead More: http://www.today.com/travel/flying-family-dilemma-lug-car-seat-or-pay-rental-counter-8C11009960
     
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  2. uggboy
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    uggboy Gold Member

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    Not particular family friendly. :(
     
  3. mommypoints

    mommypoints Gold Member

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    Rental car seats are almost universally in terrible condition. Dirty, old, and nasty. I have used one a couple times when I just couldn't physically transport the car seat (usually when traveling alone with young kid), but it is gross and a last resort. Use the AAA Hertz code and avoid the fee, but it won't save you from a ratted out car seat.
     
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  4. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    I have maybe 9-10 rentals from National this year and the car seats are always new. Maybe it's the markets, or the agency or the seat type (our toddler is 3 now so he needs the bigger ones) but I've never ran into a problem with them.

    You know what the problem is though... car seats are unwieldy, heavy beasts to carry. You can't check them in curbside (at least not in JFK/LGA/EWR/PHL where I've tried) so you have to lug them inside... then when you get to your destination is when the REAL fun begins, as you have to make your way from baggage claim (hoping they didn't bang it up too badly) all the way to the car rental place -- shuttle ride and all -- with this cumbersome contraption.

    Our son is now a bit over 3 and we're seriously considering a small booster for travel, but we haven't found the right combination of "small enough to carry" and "safe enough" :)

    And as far as the article goes, every car rental agency has a daily rate but also a cap, and this is usually significantly lower than the cost of the crappiest car seats out there.

    Not that it matters... I've considered buying a "disposable" one after arrival but that doesn't solve the problem of getting from the rental car agency to the store without a car seat. :)
     
  5. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Incidentally, what I DO hate about renting a car seat is that it breaks the convenience of just walking up to the car and leaving. You either have to talk to someone at the counter or the attendant to have them bring you a seat.
     
  6. mommypoints

    mommypoints Gold Member

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    viguera, our experiences on the quality of seats has been dramatically different, but I can say that most of my seats have been from Hertz, and none have been from National, so perhaps they do a better job at maintaining their car seats? If so, good for them!

    I hate the car seat/rental car process with a strong passion as there is no easy button. You are right, it also adds the hassle of waiting in line (if you need a seat) or at least fighting to install your own, which I am consistently dreadful at.

    If a car rental company wanted to charge extra to pick us up at baggage claim with a car seat installed by someone who is a certified "car seat expert", I would pay a significant surcharge for that service on many trips.
     
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  7. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    PREACH

    Shut-up-and-take-my-money.jpg
     
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  8. jaw_24
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    jaw_24 Silver Member

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    We used a BubbleBum on our recent trip to DC and it worked great! Deflates into a little pouch that we just threw into a backpack.

    Of course, this only works for booster, not a full-sized 5 point harness seat for younger ones. Until this trip, we have always chosen to travel where public transportation is possible - even renting 3 car seats isn't possible unless you reserve a SUV at significantly higher rates.
     

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