Why rental cars are harder to find as travel increases

Here's how the trend could get worse with summer travel and what you can do.
2:44 | 04/21/21

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Transcript for Why rental cars are harder to find as travel increases
Now to a "Gma" consumer alert. The new shortage of rental cars during the pandemic. A story we first saw in "The Wall Street journal." Becky Worley joins us with more on this trend which could get worse. Becky, with summer travel, good morning. Good morning, robin. When you book a trip, the order is usually flight, hotel then eventually reserve the car, not anymore. For this year, experts say book the rental car first. Tina and her family headed to Phoenix last month to celebrate her daughter's 30th birthday and booked a rental car but when they arrived at the counter, they say they were told, sorry, no cars available. I was very flabbergasted at, you know, the situation. Reporter: Ultimately spending $600 during the trip on hired cars to and from the airport when they only expected to pay $330 for the rental. What's the point of the reservation. If they're not going to give it to you, they should actually somehow compensate you in some way. Reporter: They are not alone. Tweets about shortages and lines for rental cars hours long. In airports from Austin to Chicago to ft. Lauderdale and those were just the people who were able to get reservations. Hertz reporting its inventory below 300,000, down 42% compared to 2019. Avis reporting it profitably disposed of 2,000 vehicles globally last year. Rental cars had a terrible business situation during the pandemic so they sold off in some cases as much as half of their fleet. They sold off really more than 500,000 car, a lot of cars. They found a very strong used car market to sell into. Reporter: But now as they try to replace those vehicles another shortage compounding the situation. You mix in the problems that the rental car companies have had getting new cars out of factories from manufacturers which have had to slow down because of a shortage of semiconductor chips. Reporter: We reached out to hertz saying we anticipate strong demand for car rental to last several months and throughout the summer and encourage customers to book as early as possible and at the same time they're making other traveler arrangements. I think the lesson I've learned is that I will make sure that I'm calling before to confirm and making sure that our reservation is going to be there. Reporter: Other tips allocate extra time at the airport for getting the rental car, consider renting an off location and some recommended U-Haul pickup trucks for their vacation. Pulling up at the hotel valet in the Orange and white truck is a statement. That is a way to get there. Becky, thank you.

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