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Nick Jun 24th, 2002 09:01 AM

Warning about rental car return at FCO
Just a warning to people returning rental cars at FCO. We picked up car in Siena, so we didn't have any idea where to return the car at drop-off at FCO. Assumed, incorrectly, that like most normal airports (wrong assumption) that there would be some signs advising which lanes to take. Boy were we wrong!! We kept watching for signs all the way into the airport and never saw a single one, until it was too late. That was a single small sign on the far left hand side of the 6 lane highway leading into the terminal, where it divides toward the parking garages and the Hilton. Now for those who have driven in Italy, nobody routinely drives in the fast lanes, unless you want to get killed. So by the time my wife saw the sign it was too late to get over to the left, and we had to try and go around through the terminal. That was our second mistake. There is no way to go around, you just go all the way out onto the entrance road heading back toward Rome. We had to go nearly 20 KM out of the way, plus pay two tolls to get back to the airport. This is just another example of how poorly signed many of the roads in Italy are. It was almost as if the people who run FCO don't want you to know where the rental car drop off-s are.

dean Jun 24th, 2002 10:02 AM

I had a completely different experience when I returned a rental car to Rome FCO. I had no problem finding it. We made sure we had plenty of time to get there but we found it the first time. It was well signed.

BOB THE NAVIGATOR Jun 24th, 2002 11:51 AM

I agree with Dean--it was obvious to me that the car return had to be in the large parking garages opposite the terminals. We saw the signs and went in.<BR>Another time, I dropped my wife with the bags and was able to return to the terminals in about 3 miles. The key was staying left--where the only other buildings were.

Sherry Jun 24th, 2002 02:57 PM

I understand how awful it would be to get confused returning a car in a foreign land. <BR>But I must say that I thought the return at FCO was very clear and I always tell people when in doubt use this as your Rome return. I hadn't even picked up the car there and didn't have a problem.<BR>

Joanne Jun 24th, 2002 03:11 PM

Agree with Bob the Navigator. Our experiences very similar. My husband dropped me and luggage and returned our rental car without difficulty. IMO road signage throughout Italy (at least the areas we have driven through) is great.<BR><BR>j

Nick Jun 25th, 2002 05:39 AM

I bow to the experiences of the other posters here, but I don't know how a single sign measuring about 3mX4m, posted at the last second, next to the fast (left)lane of a six lane highway could be considered "good signage." Remember, I had a second chance going back around to see if I had missed any earlier signs and I hadn't. Glad for each of you that you found it on the first attempt. Just flew again out of DIA (Denver) and counted no less than 5 huge signs, starting several miles from the terminal, alerting drivers where the car return is at.

Paul Jun 25th, 2002 06:41 AM

Nick, just a word of support. My wife and I had a difficult time as well returning our car at FCO, although not quite so bad as yours. It was bad enough that I had to restrain my wife from wasting her time complaining when we finally did find the return area.

TJ Jun 25th, 2002 06:48 AM

Different people have different experiences, but can't condemn a country just because signage is different. Comment sounds a little bit like "why can't they do it the right way, the American way". Doesn't make you too popular when traveling overseas.<BR><BR>It takes getting used to, but I find the signage great after you adjust. I love the fact that you simply determine the names of towns between your current location and final destination and can find your way without consulting a map.

Sue Jun 25th, 2002 07:35 AM

Whoa, now hold on here, this is a discussion about an ergonomic/engineering problem, not a seminar on postmodernism. I don't hear Nick 'condemning the country', he's talking about a design of a THING, not a lifestyle or a people. If someone has trouble using a system, let's not waste time saying that the fault is with the user, or talking about cultural imposition. For pity's sake, cultural sensitivity isn't going to prevent accidents. I would think the Italian highway engineering authority would be interested in your remarks; they are in a better position to know the full statistics of just how many people do or do not miss the sign. If another sign at a few hundred metres notice would prevent motorists from either missing the exit or worse yet, make a sudden move that would cause an accident, then it is in everyone's interest to review the problem. You might try writing one of the major newspapers in Rome and advise them of your experience. I'm sure the Italians have a tough enough time with traffic congestion, without us tourists adding to the problem because we're circling an airport trying to find an entrance. I'll bet any money that some Italian has complained, too. <BR>

Sue Jun 25th, 2002 07:39 AM

Reminds me of the time we were trying to return car at Frankfort airport years ago; we could see it, but couldn't get to it. We were afraid we were going to miss our plane, so we hired a taxi to lead us there! We always allow lots of time to return cars now. Even had a bit of a problem in Siena last summer! Seems as tho it's never simple.

Walter Jun 25th, 2002 03:23 PM

Nick: IIRC? I believe the 1st sign way before the airport lists a few letters something *like* (this isn't accurate) A-D. Letter A would be Terminal A as would B & C and D would be parking garage & car rentals. You just follow the letter D, the 1st exit might be A & B, the next exit C & D and then just a D exit. Now you're at the parking garage and just follow the signs for to rental company. I believe if you missed *that* sign it would be a big hassle because nothing would be signed until the last exit:(. In Mar01 I just remember that sign and following my letter (in a blue circle?) right to the parking garage. Regards, Walter

Robyn France Jun 25th, 2002 05:41 PM

Greetings,<BR><BR>We too saw no sign for rental car return until we entered the parking garage area--then it was very straightforward--that's a nice thing about this site--be forewarned --go the the parking garage--that is the only place we saw car rental return signs--and I speak Italian, so it wasn't a language thing. Good luck.<BR><BR>Take care,<BR>Robyn France

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