I have a rental car from Sixt booked for a day (9am–9pm) in an upcoming holiday to Greece. However my plans have changed meaning I'll pick up the car at 1pm instead of 9am. Is it typical to have some flexibility in picking up the car after the reservation start time without any problems? I don't want to have the reservation cancelled because I didn't turn up right on the start time and neither do I really want to pay the fee to change the reservation. My only experience is with short term car hire (eg Zipcar) where you can pick up a car late without a problem. I've read the rental agreement and they seem strict ("the rent already paid will be fully retained if the booked vehicle is not collected/not collected at the agreed time."). But I'll be calling their office once they open, hence I'd like to hear your experience if you have any, between now and then.

  • Note: Sometime email work better then a call (language barrier: do not expect they will understand you well). And a warning depending when it is "upcoming holidays": I saw some problems about time zones, and change to summer time. The time you write in the request may not be the same as the time they receive from the system. Feb 28, 2022 at 13:48
  • @GiacomoCatenazzi: Thanks, I did email in the end. International calls are also expensive. Good point with summer time, fortunately my holiday is before the clocks change so no complication here.
    – Wing
    Mar 6, 2022 at 0:49

4 Answers 4


Unfortunately this varies greatly from one provider to the next, and even between individual rental offices of the same chain. Calling them is probably the best choice. Ideally, get a confirmation in writing.

Personal experiences with Sixt:

  1. I have picked up cars several hours late at airports without problems.
  2. I picked up a car maybe 90 minute late at a downtown location and got a stern talking to because I was late. They still gave me a car though.
  3. I returned a car a day early and called ahead to let them know. Because of my call the waived the "early return fee" which they claimed I would have incurred otherwise (but wasn't mentioned in the contract).

I had totally different experience with other providers. Asking is good.

Officially they cancel after three hours if you don't call. What happens if you call remains to be seen.

From https://www.sixt.global/php/terms/view?liso=GR&rtar=000&view=EPP&tlang=en_GB&style=typo3

In case the renter fails to collect the vehicle on the rental start date and time without any written or telephone conversation, Sixt will cancel the reservation after 3 hours.

  • 3
    Airport sites tend to be more familiar with people being late, because flights are late quite often and nobody can guarantee being on time. So I'd expect them to have procedures for that (although it may depend on giving them your flight number so they can track it).
    – Stuart F
    Feb 28, 2022 at 14:15
  • 1
    Anecdotically, a downtown rental in a city nearby to where I live would have a bad time if you are late in picking up the car. Parking space close to the office is so limited that they have to juggle cars all day from the main parking lot to the pickup location. Definitely give them a call and they'll sort it out. Feb 28, 2022 at 16:17
  • @VladimirCravero: interesting, thanks for sharing. I'm picking up the vehicle from a downtown location and was wondering where they keep the vehicles because from Street View there didn't seem to be a car park nearby. Makes sense for them to bring it in from another location and have a collection time limit.
    – Wing
    Mar 6, 2022 at 0:51

They will have a limit in their contract how long they wait, and afterwards they are free to give the car to someone else. When you show up after that, you are out of luck.

In practice, they might still give you a car (if they have one!), but I wouldn’t rely on that. You should simply call them and tell them you will be late - you won’t get any money back for the first hours, but your car will still be there.


I have asked this exact question to the Sixt representatives some years ago in a similar situation.

Their answer was that they will always keep your car reserved for one hour after your time. After that, unless you have paid in advance, they will try to keep it around, but if there is high demand and they run out of vehicles, they might give it to someone walking in.

Unless you notify them. If you let them know that you are coming later, or at an airport rental if they have your flight number and can see that the flight is delayed, they will also keep your car waiting for you.


Simply give them a heads up. It costs you one phone call and will avoid trouble.

  • "After that, unless you have paid in advance, they will try to keep it around", do you mean "if you have paid in advance, they will try to keep it around"? Not sure why they would keep it around if you haven't paid.
    – Wing
    Mar 6, 2022 at 0:47
  • No, I mean if you haven't paid in advance, they'll try. If you paid in advance, they will definitely keep it (you paid already, they don't much care if you actually use it).
    – Tom
    Mar 6, 2022 at 5:51
  • Ah ok, thanks. I was thinking if you hadn't paid in advance, they would not try to keep it around and rent it out to someone else.
    – Wing
    Mar 6, 2022 at 11:01
  • @Wing well, by "try" I mean they'll not give it to the first person who comes in, but if they are running out of cars, then yours will go. They'll give other cars first, but they won't let someone willing to pay walk out when they don't know if you'll show up or not.
    – Tom
    Mar 6, 2022 at 21:07

In the end, I emailed to let the office know that I'd be picking up the car later in the day. There were okay with it and didn't even apply the charge for amending the reservation.

I also reread the rental agreement and found the following which I missed in earlier readings:

The requested pick up time is binding (max grace period of 60 minutes within opening hours).

This means you'd need to check the specific rental location office's terms which may modify the countrywide terms linked in @Hilmar's answer.

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