I parked my Ford Escape at the airport during my last trip to Boston. I didn’t actually park at the airport, but rather a parking lot in Millbrae. FlightCar operates out of this lot.
FlightCar and RelayRides both offer a service where you can park your car at the airport for free. In exchange, they rent your car out. Ordinarily, it costs about $18 per day to park at the airport. People who use this service effectively receive $18 for loaning their car out to strangers.
They wash your car, too. After a roundtrip to LA, my car was plastered with dead bugs and bird crap, and the interior was full of sand from God-knows-what.
A week before my flight, I tried to make a parking reservation on RelayRides. They responded with a noncommittal message saying that they were checking for parking availability. 48 hours later, I still was unconfirmed, so I canceled my parking reservation.
It’s not that difficult to find a car-shaped space, so I can only assume that RelayRides was unwilling to give me a spot until they had secured a renter for my car. The fact that they tack on a $150 charge if I fail to bring them my car confirms this.
FlightCar was a different story. They accept all cars, even drop-ins, regardless of whether or not they have renters lined up. They don’t care if the owner forgets to show up, and many do. When I dropped off my car, I asked the lot attendant if anyone would be renting my car. He said he didn’t know, and that over half the cars go unrented.
FlightCar appeals to the gambler in me.
My trip was unexpectedly extended an extra week, and FlightCar was perfectly happy to hang on to my car. RelayRides would have charged me $18 per day for my late pickup.
When I finally landed back at SFO, a driver picked me up within ten minutes of my phone call. I returned to the lot to find my car with 3 more miles than it had when I dropped it off. In my absence, my Ford Escape had ventured all the way out of the parking lot, to the car wash, and back.
I’m happy. I would have been just as happy had I returned to find my car with an extra 500 miles on it. This is just an exemplary model of delightful customer service.