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Can You Rent A Car For Someone Else?

by SharonKurheg

When Joe and I most recently went to our favorite water park in Texas, we planned it with our “safe COVID buddies,” Samantha and Norman. Sam and Norm live just outside Atlanta and we’re in Orlando. So we decided to fly separately and just meet at AUS.

Sam and Norm flew with Delta because of Atlanta ;-). Joe and I chose American. We were scheduled to land within about an hour of each other.

However, this was right after both Spirit and American were having their respective “meltdowns.” It was also August, which is prime “MCO shuts down for X amount of time because of summer thunderstorms” season (and our flight was in the afternoon, which is the best time for those thunderstorms to occur). And if all of that wasn’t enough, we had been watching Tropical Storm Fred for several days because depending on what HE was doing, he could potentially get in the way of our flight.

So there was a lot of stuff that could get in the way of our landing on time, or maybe even potentially on that day.

Now, Joe is a fixer. He’ll see the problem at hand, has a lot of tools at his disposal, and will do his best to fix it. I, on the other hand, am a planner. So for half a week before our flight, I was trying to think of every scenario that could happen. What if we were late? What if Sam and Norm were late? What if we couldn’t fly in until the next day? What if they couldn’t? And then what would have to be done in each scenario (so I’m also a fixer- I just don’t work as well under pressure and want to have a plan in my head, LOL).

I figured that if Sam and Norm’s flight was delayed or even canceled, we’d be fine. The hotels and rental cars were in Joe’s name, so we’d just rent the car, register at the hotel, and whenever they got there, be it 10 pm that night or 10 am the next morning, we’d be there for them.

But what if WE were delayed? I mean, of the two couples, chances were better that it’d be us who were stuck.

I asked Joe about having Norm or Sam check in to the hotel. That wouldn’t be a problem. The issue would be getting the rental car.

Apparently, as long as someone else’s name is on a hotel reservation, they can check-in, regardless of who actually made the reservation.

On a car rental? Not so much.

There’s no such thing as having the reservation in your name, paying for it with your credit credit card but having someone else on the reservation as an additional driver and they can sign the contract and pick the car up.

How come? Because that contract you sign when you rent a car is a legal document. The rental car company wants to ensure that the person who made the reservation is who they say they are. They also want that person’s signature to be on that contract.

So since Joe made the car rental reservation, even if he made Norm or Sam as additional drivers, Joe would still need to be the one to be there in person to rent the car and sign the contract.

The only time you can get around this is if you’re a travel administrator for a business, or are someone who typically reserves cars on behalf of others (read: a travel agent). But otherwise? Nope.

As it turned out, Sam and Norm got to AUS on time. Joe and I were about 90 minutes late due to summer storms. So they just chilled out until we got there. But had we been really delayed, nope, they wouldn’t have been able to rent the car on our behalf.

Which is understandable. But it still stinks, y’know?

Feature Photo: TPA / Twitter

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

1 comment

derek September 2, 2021 - 2:00 pm

I wonder if the rental car company will agree to switch the rental so that the late arriving people are later added as additional drivers?


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