Book with the wrong car hire company and your holiday could start with a long and frustrating queue at the pick-up desk.
New research from Which? Travel reveals that more than a quarter of customers booking with big-name brand Budget were left waiting at the rental desk for more than half an hour before picking up their car.
In contrast, more than 90% of Alamo customers reported that they were behind the wheel and en route to their resort within 30 minutes of arriving at the desk.
The research shows the importance of choosing your car hire company carefully and not just plumping for the cheapest option.
Which car hire companies keep you waiting?
The car hire companies with the longest queue times were all low-cost brands. Some 63% of customers renting with Goldcar (owned by Europcar) had to wait for longer than 15 minutes to pick up their car, with 9% waiting longer than an hour.
Budget (part of the Avis group) made 28% of their customers wait for longer than half an hour, and those who hired with Hertz’s low cost brand, Firefly, also faced a long wait.
Chief among the reasons reported for queues was the persistent upselling of extras, such as excess insurance, regardless of how many people were waiting. Customers also reported inadequate staffing of rental desks at busy times.
Top of the table for car hire queues
Specialist Canary Islands company Auto Reisen came top for low queue times, with just 13% of customers having to wait for more than 15 minutes before driving away.
Other top performers were big brands Alamo and Thrifty, with two thirds of their customers encountering no queue at all at the rental desk. However, 7% of Thrifty customers did report having to wait for longer than an hour.
Which? Travel’s research was based on a survey of more than 2,000 car hire experiences that took place in the 12 months to January 2018.