Rental cars: Few and far between for vacationers

Rental cars: Few and far between for vacationers
Rental cars: Few and far between for vacationers Photo credit Getty Images: tupungato

The always seems to be something in short supply: Gas, food, tickets to hit shows, Saints tickets, but rental cars?

Call it a left over from the pandemic, but as American tourism roars back to life, this staple of the long distance traveler seems to be caught without adequate supply.

Rental car companies unloaded great numbers of their fleets as the pandemic took hold.

Now a shortage of computer chips for new cars is causing slowdowns worldwide in deliveries and that is also translating to a shortage of available cars for renters.

“I’ve been doing this a long time and I’ve never seen this kind of shortage before,” said Karen Wild, travel manager with Lagniappe Travel Services in the Central Business District told the Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate. “It’s very hard to get cars for anything.”

And while passengers stream through the new terminal at Louis Armstrong International Airport, they hit a traffic jam at the rental counter.

"We are aware of the issue of the shortage of rental vehicles across the nation and it's certainly an issue here at the airport," said spokesperson Erin Burns told the paper. "We're asking passengers to be mindful...that there may be challenges to getting the vehicles that they need."

“You literally have to know a salesperson to call and get you a car," Karen Wild said. "That’s what we’re doing 90% of the time. If you don’t have status with a car company, you’re not getting a car.”

Suffice it to say:  Don’t wait to rent a car at the counter, or as your travel date approaches, book a car when you book your flight.  Better safe than sorry.

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