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Today I received an email from the company where I rented a car asking me for my flight information.

Why do they need it? I'm being a little paranoid but I think that they will charge me more (hidden tax or fee) if I give them the information.

  • Where is that? They might simply want to offer a ride to/from the airport.. – Nean Der Thal Nov 21 '15 at 17:04
  • Miami International Airport – IAmJulianAcosta Nov 21 '15 at 18:26
  • Florida car rental places have some weird rules. I tried to rent a car from a place in Orlando to drive up to Atlanta, GA and back (I was an Orlando resident at the time), and was told that I was not allowed to drive the car out of state - UNLESS I was an international traveler. So a Florida resident and US citizen was not allowed to drive into another state, but a foreign visitor was? It was the same at 2 different companies (Budget and Sixt), but the third (Enterprise) let me do it. Go figure? – Darrel Hoffman Nov 22 '15 at 20:57
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    @DarrelHoffman That might have something to do with the fact that US driver's licenses are issued by the states themselves, and states have different rules concerning age, curfew hours and what vehicles they're allowed to drive. To drive as a foreign national in the US, you need an international license, which are valid across all of the US. – Nzall Nov 22 '15 at 22:15
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    @NateKerkhofs: I'm well above any states' legal driving ages and other age-restriction rules, and my driver's license is actually not from Florida or Georgia, but Massachusetts. The vehicles in question were just ordinary cars, no special license required. Nice theory, but doubt that had anything to do with it. – Darrel Hoffman Nov 22 '15 at 22:24
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Many car rental companies will assign you a car before you arrive at the counter to pick it up - especially if you're a member of their frequent renter programs.

They will normally base this allocation on the time that you've given when you rented the car, but if you're arriving by air then this has the issue that your flight could be early or late, so your car may not be ready when you arrive (if your flight is early), or they might allocate you a car and then not have you arrive for potentially even hours for a very delayed flight.

By providing your flight information they can more intelligently allocate the cars - they can track the actual flight arrivals, and then allocate a car only when your flight lands. If your flight is late, they will not necessarily allocate you a car until hours after the time you had stated you were due to land.

For you, the benefit is that if your flight is delayed, they will know why you have not yet arrived to pickup your car. Rather than potentially canceling your reservation as a "no-show" when you haven't arrived for several hours after the booking time, they will know why you are not there and keep the reservation. At some locations they may even choose to stay open past closing time based on the fact they know you are still on the way.

In the event that you end up (for example) changing flights and arriving earlier than the flight you specificity there's still not issue - they will just assign as car when you arrive to pick it up.

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    +1 for the "rental counter may stay open late". When I worked at a rental agency, I was supposed to stay up to 2 hours past normal closing time when a customer's incoming flight was delayed. – Johnny Nov 22 '15 at 5:53
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    I have had precisely this experience, where my flight was badly delayed, and the only reason I could get my car is because I had provided my flight information. – jakebeal Nov 22 '15 at 12:54
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So if your flight is delayed the car company know why you are late picking up the vehicle.

You are not being charged extra.

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