Free Airport Parking: RelayRides vs. FlightCar

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.

The $20 rental credit makes a lot of sense considering they only rent out of SFO.
The $20 rental credit makes a lot of sense considering they only rent out of SFO.

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.

rr policies

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.

Thanks, FlightCar!


2 thoughts on “Free Airport Parking: RelayRides vs. FlightCar

  1. This is a VERY BAD IDEA!!! What happens if the person renting your car gets in a wreck…There is no coverage for that! For Hire Vehicles are not normally covered by personal insurance policies.

  2. I do NOT recommend Relay Rides at all. I just had a TERRIBLE experience with them.

    They provided me with a car owner who gave me a terrible car, then Relay Rides blamed me because I didn’t know I couldn’t rent a different car than the one in the picture (the owner didn’t say a word & in fact directed me to do this). They also blamed me because the owner let me have an extra day to make up for ALL the problems & lost time I encountered over the 3 days.

    While they gave me a very small refund & I thought we were working things out, they locked my account, didn’t let me leave a review for the car owner, & then one of their employees (Jawawn) just got into an argument with me on the phone. After I hung up, he canceled my entire membership AFTER I had spent money on my driver’s abstract AND gas for the car & lost several days of work because of this drama.

    Lauren their manager takes days to respond to my ticket & ignored my query twice into why my account was locked.

    This company does NOT know what they are doing & they treated me like garbage.

    I asked for the owner to call me, but I doubt I’ll get any response back now. Jawawn has probably highjacked the ticket so it can’t be read by anyone but him.

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