Last week, I had the pleasure of traveling to Phoenix for work and always have a good time there. It was wildly hot, but definitely worth it. Just about the only downside I see with any trip to PHX is the inevitable cluster that is the rental car process.
Let me start out by saying I generally have relatively minimal expectations for these types of experiences. I’m not a very demanding consumer when it comes to the logistics of obtaining a rental and navigating navigating the process at airport XYZ. I understand that there are many factors that fall outside of their control (land availability/price, volume of transactions, weather, etc), and usually chalk it up as something that will add a 15-20 minute tax on my trip both ways coming and going.
Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix though? 30 minutes. MINIMUM. I’ve even had times that it took 1 hour from the moment I got off the highway airport exit returning my car to when I was getting in the security line at the actual airport. Absolutely nuts! It’s basically like you pass the airport – “Oh hey, there it is, we’re pretty close!” – and then a calamity of errors and awful processes will make you want to just walk the rest of the way. The car compound is at least 5 minutes past the airport (if you drive quickly) and only reachable by awful access roads. Once you’re in line to return your vehicle, every agency I’ve tried has a maximum of two employees working to check cars back in (mind you – there is a constant traffic of about three new cars coming in every couple minutes – you do the math). After that, you’re at the mercy of the shuttle buses to get back to the airport. Those things have no predefined schedule but I swear I’ve waited outside in 110 degree heat for at least 20 minutes for a bus. Last week I saw four Terminal 4 buses come by before I saw one Terminal 3 (of course, my terminal). Then, it’s 10 minutes back to the airport drop off location because the bus drives 5 miles per hour.
You get the idea. Listen, I’m no Customer Experience expert by any means. But I do understand the do’s and don’ts of it. And the airport rental car process at PHX Sky Harbor is a total mess. Shame on them. But, you know what? They’re the only option. So I doubt it’s changing any time soon.
Til Next Time,