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Car Hire Queue Times - How to Avoid Queuing

Nobody likes to queue, sadly it’s commonplace whilst travelling, from queuing at the airline check-in desk, airport security, or the queue at the boarding gate. You’re likely to spend some considerable time in a queue when travelling and the last one you are likely to encounter is the queue at the car rental desk when you arrive. You’re probably tired from travelling by this time, whether due to lack of sleep on a long haul flight, or the early start and entertaining the kids on a short haul family holiday. Either way, the last thing you want is another queue.

car hire queue
We've looked at our most popular suppliers and worked out aniticipated queue times to help guide you when selecting your rental car. It’ll come of little surprise to learn that the longest queues are often experienced at the lower priced rental agents. Partly due to the large numbers of customers they attract with their low prices, but also due to staffing levels that enable them to offer such low rates. In our experience the shortest car hire queues will be found at Avis, Hertz and Sixt, whilst with Goldcar, Centauro and Firefly, you can expect longer queues*.

car hire queue
Here you can see a very long queue for the Europcar desk at Dublin Airport, just another reason why you shouldn't book car hire with your airline as many have single supplier arrangements meaning most of your fellow passengers on your flight will all have a car hire booking with the same rental agent leading to long queues.

Tips to avoid queueing for your car rental

  1. Proceed directly to the car rental desks before luggage collection, if possible leave a group / family member(s) to collect luggage and send the lead driver to the rental desk (additional drivers will be required at the desk also). A proportion of the flight you were on are likely to be hiring a car, you can beat the queue by skipping luggage collection and processing your car rental whilst others are waiting in the queue.
  2. Have all your paperwork / documentation to hand, this reduces time at the rental desk, not only will you get your hands on the keys sooner, your fellow renters queueing behind you will be grateful. If everyone is prepared, you’ll all have a shorter queue for your rental car.
  3. Know what to expect. If it’s your first time hiring a car, or you’re not familiar with the process, it would be very wise to read your terms and conditions thoroughly before you arrive. Are you expecting to leave an excess deposit? Do you know how much it is? Do you have enough credit on your card?
  4. Have a spare credit card if possible. As you’ll need a credit card to hire a car in 99% of cases, it’s wise to carry a second card if possible. Should there be an issue with your primary card for whatever reason, having a back-up credit card could save you a lot time and money.
It’s quite often a case of ‘you get what you pay for’ and we try our best to manage expectations. On average, we anticipate it to take 5-10 minutes per customer to process all the necessary paperwork / excess deposits at the rental desk, so for every 6 customers ahead of you in the queue, this could take between 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how many staff are at the desk.

*estimate queue times relative from supplier to supplier, will vary depending on seasonality / location
Kellie Hodge
Posted: October 11, 2017 by Kellie Hodge
About the Author -

Travel writer, customer service guru, Kellie knows the ins and outs of car rental and always happy to share her knowledge on our blog. Favourite country to visit: Spain.

Last updated: Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Mario Genovese

I have purchased the 'jump queue' option for the first time. Does this really work?
2/7/2020 1:44:38 PM

John Shadow
I have used Rental Cars UAE for my last 6 months in Dubai and every interaction and experience was a pleasurable one. A big big thank you to Mark who delivers exceptional customer service every time! I have not met him face to face as every transaction and communication was done conveniently through WhatsApp. No delays and nothing is too much to ask of him. I can recommend this company and especially Mark without a doubt. Again thanks for the amazing service.
11/15/2018 1:51:05 PM