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Devi May 25th, 2004 03:15 PM

Seattle Rental Car
Visiting Seattle in late July/Aug for 2 weeks. Fodors suggests trying to avoid renting a car at the airport where rental fees are higher and an additional 10% airport tax is charged. How can I best avoid this? There are 3 of us. Would it be cost effective to find other transportation into the city and rent there? Would it be a hassle getting back to the airport from Seattle on departure day? Any suggestions or alternatives would be greatly appreciated.

bob_brown May 25th, 2004 08:11 PM

See if you can work out a deal with Enterprise. I tried, but my early departure on a Sunday scuttled the deal. They did not open up on Sunday early enough to get me to the airport.
By the time I turned the car in on Saturday early in the afternoon and took a cab back to my hotel and a cab to the airport, Hertz was competitive.

But I think you might swing it if you stayed at one of the motels or hotels right across the street from the airport and had the car delivered there. Enterprise claims to pick you up etc. So compare rates and see if you can get it cheaper. You may not.

Gardyloo May 25th, 2004 08:29 PM

The rental rates may or may not be higher in the terminal than off-airport or downtown rentals. There is a 10% tax surcharge (28.3% vs. 18.3%) on cars rented inside the airport (all majors.)

The cab fare from downtown to the airport is around $25 each way. So twice, $50 plus tip would need to be more than 10% of the rental rate, i.e., your rental cost would need to be over $500 before it washed. Maybe, maybe not...

Gardyloo May 25th, 2004 08:30 PM

Meant to ask, this is an ideal setup for Priceline. Check out PL results at before booking a car - might be the best deal of all.

Spokaneman May 26th, 2004 06:52 PM

The concession recovery fee and airport fees might add up to 20% of the weekly rate. So if you spend $180/week for the car or $360 for two weeks the additional fees would be less than $100. Taxi fees downtown and back would eat up at 3/4 of that. Throw in the hassle of trying to find the rental car agency and dealing with your baggage twice and in my world it isn't worth it.

sgorces May 30th, 2004 08:32 AM

I don't know if you are willing to take the city bus with luggage, but many do and you said any ideas. The bus stops at the airport terminal, runs express to downtown Seattle for $2 bucks or less (depends upon time). The bus ride is fine, best kept low price secret. Only warning is it's sometimes crowded. Dragging bags is something you have to decide for yourself. There are a number of downtown rental car offices within 1 block of the bus line (which by the way is in a tunnel under downtown).

Many of the rental companies run their downtown and airport stores as one site. Check if you avoid the surcharge if you rent downtown and drop at the airport. Used to be you could drop at the airport for free because the cars are all warehoused off the airport anyway. These ideas aren't personally tested recently because I don't usually rent locally. But good luck!

SeattleSonic8 Jun 1st, 2004 08:36 AM

Are the tax rates the same for in-terminal and off-airport car rental agencies? You may check this out. Some of the cheaper outfits have locations just off SEA property.

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