Airport Car Rental - What You Need to Know


If you’re planning to pick up or drop off your next car rental at the airport there are a few things you should know before you head on your way.

Some car rental offices are located inside the airport terminal while others are located off premise. The fleet of rental cars is generally located either in a lot attached to the airport or a shuttle-ride away in a satellite lot.

For large international airports with multiple terminals, it’s important to reserve your rental car in the terminal you will be traveling through, you don’t want to hike all over the airport if you can help it. Many terminals operate independently so if you reserved your car in terminal one that’s where you will need to go to sign documents and pick up your car. Car rental counters are typically located near the baggage claim area and posted signs will guide you to your destination.

For off-premise (off airport) locations some facilities are situated a few miles from the airport while others are located on airport property but outside the actual terminal. Occasionally the car rental counters are a short walk from the baggage claim area in a separate building. Frequently at major airports in the US, customers are transported to a consolidated car rental center where all of the vendors are located. Otherwise you will be shuttled to the individual company you are renting with.

Some airports run a universal shuttle that stops at all car rental offices otherwise the car rental companies provide individual shuttles for their customers.  Systems differ per airport; shuttles generally run frequently and pick up and drop off areas for shuttles are typically well sign posted. Regardless of where the car rental office is located you will want to check the hours of operation, some centers are open 24 hours, others operate a more limited schedule. Find this information on the location pages on Rental Car Reviews or refer to the airport website and your car rental provider for specific details.