Written on: 28/10/2013 by mikeofdenia (1 review written)
Probably most people (myself included) would prefer to hire from a company based ‘inside the airport’ as it is closer, quicker, and more convenient and so less subject to delay. As someone who has missed a flight previously (with another hire company) by running late and then having difficulty in finding the ‘off site’ return compound, and then having found it, having to wait for the gates to be opened, for the keys to be handed in, for the car to be checked and for the shuttle bus to arrive to return to the airport, this procedure is not one that I favour or enjoy. That said, even ‘onsite’ returns are not always quick and smooth either.
Whilst some additional time is inevitably involved simply because the compound is ‘off site’, with Drivalia it could not have been minimised any more than it was, and the experience made more enjoyable than it was. I had not used (nor heard of) Drivalia before this current hire, and so had no experience of them, and, because of this, I looked up reviews from others, and was surprised to see how universally positive they appeared to be…. a rare thing for car hire companies.
My experience of them (Drivalia) was that upon arrival at the pick-up point at Alicante Airport (quite late in the evening), their shuttle bus was already there, and waiting it seems just for us. The driver, who was very pleasant, came out to meet us when he saw us approaching and within a minute we were on our way – it took no more than 5 minutes in all to the parking compound. The receptionists at the office there were also charming and again we were quickly under way in a very clean car – we have hired often from Alicante airport in the last 3 years (with other companies) and it is rare to receive a car that is not quite significantly scratched, marked, dented etc, but this one was not.
With these other hire companies, scratches are rarely if ever noted on the hire form (because apparently, bodywork is covered by their insurance anyway), but nonetheless, I always feel uneasy about taking out a marked vehicle that has not been acknowledged as such on the hire form (even though there is always a diagram on there for this purpose). It leaves you open to the accusation as being responsible for it on return, and then there is no way of disputing it. As usual, I asked about the state of the vehicle before seeing it, and it was pointed out to me that 2 small marks were indeed noted on the hire form (and they were)…. when I came to look for these actual marks the next day in daylight, I couldn’t even find them on the car, although I am sure that they must have been there. This was impressive in that the company had clearly done its job properly and thoroughly by inspecting the vehicle closely (which so many don’t bother with), which gives peace of mind that you are not vulnerable to be accused of adding damage to the vehicle on your return.
On return of the vehicle, once again I was running very late, but on this occasion there was no hold up because as I approached the gate it was already open. A young lady with a clip board came out to meet me as I parked the car, even before the car was stationary, (so not a second lost). As I got out of the car, the shuttle bus was there and waiting. By the time my bag was loaded into the bus by the driver, the lady had checked the car and given the OK (probably 1 minute max’) and I had handed the keys over and was on my way in the bus. The driver was aware of my running late and quickly delivered me back to the airport – just in time as it happened. The staff at handover and delivery back to the airport had again been friendly, very helpful, and very efficient.
I will certainly be looking out for Drivalia again (having a property in Spain I hire from here on a regular basis, through an intermediary – Do You Spain) and given an option will certainly choose them, and may even hire directly from them, although it is a bit more expensive that way.
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