File this under “life on the road.” I’m traveling on business this week with two colleagues. We’re in the Los Angeles area, arriving on Sunday so we can get in a full week of work. One of the guys I’m traveling with took care of renting the car. My first mistake was not looking at the rental car provider when I approved his travel. I found out walking to the shuttle bus pickup at LAX yesterday that the answer to that question – Thrifty. 🙁 Thrifty and I just never have gotten along. Signing up for BlueChip has helped deal with lines in some locations, but I usually return a Thrifty car with a grateful heart that the whole thing is over. Another colleague of mine and I came up with some sayings during a particularly intensive travel period a few years ago: “Thrifty, where the bus is not swifty.” There was also “Dollar, where the wait will make you holler.” I digress.

Back to the rental car shuttle pickup at LAX. We waited…and waited. Then we waited some more. A perplexed looking fellow traveler looks at us and asks if we’re waiting for the Thrifty bus? We waited. My colleague called Thrifty to complain…and we waited. After 5 or 6 Hertz buses (not lost on me that Hertz now owns Thrifty), the same number of Avis and National…. and at least 2 of every other brand X rental car agency on the airport, the Thrifty bus appeared in the distance….and then skipped the rental car pickup outside the Delta terminal. I’d had enough.

I reached into my pocket for my iPhone and tapped the Hertz app. In the space of about 2 minutes I had researched options, and confirmed a reservation for a car at a quite reasonable rate just as the Hertz bus was parking in front of us. By the time we were turning onto the street heading to the Hertz facility, I had received a text with our car type and space number. We walked to the car, packed the trunk, and left. End of story. One could be forgiven for wondering if we’d still have been waiting for the Thrifty shuttle. Ironically, we passed the Thrifty office on our way to the 405, and it looked like a large crowd was just standing around trying to rent a car….or get to the airport.

Moral of the story – time is money, and Thrifty at LAX is firmly implanted on my no-drive list.

-MJ, September 8, 2014

MJ Logo5