I Love Renting from the SJU Avis

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I waffled between renting a car and taking cabs to from the airport for the San Juan portion of my second Alaska mileage run and finally decided on the rental car.

Before I boarded my flight I’d called ahead to request an upgrade to a convertible or sun roof car if at all possible, thinking I might use the afternoon to explore the island. Upon landing I boarded the Avis Rental Cars bus and the manager was waiting to greet me when I arrived, kindly taking my luggage and showing me to my car. Which was an upgrade from the Nissan Sentra I’d booked, but was unfortunately a Chrysler 300, my least favorite car, excepting PT Cruisers and Lincoln town cars.

I’d been scanning the lot as we drove in and hadn’t seen anything better, so I kept quiet and went with it. While I was busy studying the map and situating my mirrors the manager came running back to give me his business card just in case I ran into any problems. I love being an Avis Chairman.

The lack of convertible wound up not being a problem as soon after I left the airport I was treated to a torrential downpour. In fact, not having the convertible was probably a good thing, because there was no warning and I wouldn’t have had time to put the top up before everything got soaked.

The next morning I returned the car and was impressed at how courteous and on the ball they were. One of the perks of being Avis Chairman is for locations that are not attached to the airport, they’ll drive you to the terminal in the car you rented, eliminating the need for hauling your luggage, taking the bus, etc. Usually you do have to wait a couple of minutes for them to find someone to drive you. Here they hadn’t even finished my paperwork before the driver was in the car!

That poor driver, not only did I disconcert him a bit with my announcement that it was cheaper to fly to Alaska through San Juan than direct from the US, but I did something I’ve always been afraid I’d do. Without thinking I got out of the car with the key fob still in my laptop bag.

I was mortified when a few minutes later he came running up to the security line to nicely ask if I still had it. I can only hope he realized I still had it before the car shut down, but I felt terrible nonetheless and apologized profusely.

Several minutes later I got a text from the manager hoping I’d had a nice stay, apologizing for not having a convertible for me, and expressing regret he hadn’t been on hand to when I arrived. Wow. Now that’s customer service.

I’ve had some really great Avis experiences, but San Juan may be one of my new favorites, even though I got one of my least favorite cars.

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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world. www.twitter.com/klatravel

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