Transport Airlines

Car rental companies are winning the travel industry’s popularity contest

Nov 12, 2012 10:16 am

Skift Take

Rental car companies’ ratings reach new highs with travelers that appreciate reasonable daily rates and the convenience of a shuttle van. Or maybe they just look good in comparison to the airlines.

— Samantha Shankman

Free Report: The State of Student Travel

Atomic Taco  / Flickr.com

A Hertz car rental shuttle pulls away from Los Angeles International Airport. Atomic Taco / Flickr.com


American travelers are increasingly dissatisfied with the nation’s airlines, but they seem pretty happy with the country’s car rental companies.

For the first nine months of this year, the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics got 12,145 consumer complaints about airline services, up 33.5 percent from a year earlier. Based on complaints filed in September alone, the biggest sources of aggravation for fliers were flight delays, cancellations, problems with baggage, ticketing and reservations and, of course, customer service.

Meanwhile, customer satisfaction with rental car companies has increased for the third consecutive year, according to a study released last week by J.D. Power & Associates. In fact, the satisfaction level — reaching 769 on a 1,000-point scale — is the highest in seven years.

The greatest improvement in the satisfaction rating came from the shuttle van or bus service that car rental companies use to transport customers and the daily rates and fees, according to the study.

Another big factor in higher satisfaction: a warm smile. The study found that car rental customers give an average rating of 795 when they are greeted at the counter with a smile; those who don’t get a smile give an average rating of 647.

(c)2012 Los Angeles Times. Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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