Skip the line at the rental car desk and use the self-service kiosk

We recently took a trip out to California for a family event, which meant a cross-country flight with a six month-old-baby and an almost three-year-old.  After surviving the flight with only one melt down, we made it off the plane, collected our luggage at baggage claim, and boarded the bus to the rental car facility.

With two kids and a lot of baggage in tow, we were the last people off of the bus, and this translated to being last in line at the Hertz rental car desk.  It wasn’t too bad, just five or six people ahead of us, but with all of us exhausted from the trip and two kids up way past their bedtime, it felt like it was a line a mile long.

As I was trying to keep Ayelet amused, another Hertz employee came up and pointed to the self-service kiosk, saying that anyone who already had a reservation could use it:

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I looked at him skeptically.  Sure, I use kiosks all the time without fear, like ATM’s, flight checkins, and self-checkout at the grocery store.  Heck, I get annoyed when they are unavailable, and I have to wait to talk to a real person.  But for a rental car?  It never occurred to me that you could use a kiosk for something like that.

I walked over and gave it a try.  After entering my reservation number, it guided me through a list of questions, most of which were trying to get me to pay extra money for a nicer car, insurance, a GPS, etc.  I then had to fumble through how to scan my driver’s license, but once I did that, it informed me that my car was waiting in space #272, and the keys were inside.  It printed out some documentation, and we were on our way.

Leaving was a little confusing, since I didn’t understand that I had to inspect the vehicle and sign a form that I needed to give to the gate attendant, but that only took an extra minute.

Now that I know how easy it is to use the kiosks, I will skip the line in the future.

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