Logan Airport suffers rental car shortage ahead of busy Marathon weekend


The lines of hopeful travelers holding printed reservations at the Logan car rental center on Thursday stretched past the retractable seatbelt barriers at some check-in counters. People turned down could be seen near ridesharing apps looking for the best deals to get to their destinations.

Bianca Silva, 29, said she has been trying – and failing – to book a rental car online since arriving in Boston on Monday ahead of her boyfriend’s nephew’s christening celebration this weekend. Each time, the car rental sites have declared that they are full.

Increasingly desperate, she drove to the Logan car rental center on Thursday hoping she would have better luck in person. But as she walked down the line at the company’s counters, she heard the same response from agents at Thrifty, Hertz, and Enterprise: No cars to hire.

“It’s just crazy,” she said, exasperated. “Everyone used the pandemic money to buy cars and now they’re out.”

The rental car shortage peaked in Boston starting last weekend, ahead of the New England Patriots game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, said an agent for rental company SIXT, who declined to give his name. Agents for Hertz and Enterprise said they had to turn away customers without reservations in recent days. An Enterprise agent said the company only had “exotic” cars, like Range Rovers, which cost more than the average rental.

In a statement, Enterprise Holdings, owner of Enterprise, Alamo and National, said it was critical to reserve a car as early as possible as the industry overcomes supply chain challenges.

“In Boston, we are seeing additional seasonal and event demand, further increasing local demand for rental cars,” the company said. “Our teams are working hard to meet the growing travel demand and meet the broader transportation needs of customers.”

Some of those with reservation Thursday had prepared them well in advance.

Michelle Hoffman, 50, visiting from Philadelphia, booked her car at Enterprise in April for a weekend trip to Salem with her niece. Salem ghost tours and Halloween attractions have long been on their bucket list.

She wanted a sport utility vehicle, but only compact cars were available, she said. She paid $ 500 for three days.

“It was thin picks,” she said.

Cosmo Dischino, 66, visiting Boston from Palm Beach for his son’s baby shower this weekend, booked a car from Thrifty three weeks ago for $ 600. The only option was a mystery vehicle.

“It’s crazy, just ridiculous,” he said, as he stood in line on Thursday. “I could have a Kia or something. “

Car rental companies have been experiencing shortages across the country for several months, said Jennifer Mehigan, communications director for the Massachusetts Port Authority, which operates Boston Logan International Airport.

“We hear there is a strong demand for cars with the Marathon Monday, the Red Sox in the postseason and the general fall foliage season in New England,” she said in a report. -mail.

Rental cars aren’t the only way to get to and from the airport, Mehigan said, citing the Logan Express bus service, MBTA Blue and Silver lines, water taxis and ferries, private buses. , ridesharing apps, limousines and taxis. .

“We recommend that passengers plan ahead and check our website for information on transportation options,” Mehigan said.

Taylor Dolven can be contacted at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @taydolven.

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