Posted tagged ‘Avis’

Ford Expedition

May 23, 2017

Last week during our trip to Boston, Paula and I rented a car. Generally, when I rent a car I like to get a model that I might be interested in buying.  This gives me a better feel for the vehicle than a 10 minute test drive. This trip I had reserved a Ford Escape through Avis Rent-a-Car. I tend to like the small SUV’s. Currently, I own a 2007 Jeep Liberty with 115K miles on the odometer, so it’s getting to be the time that I need to be looking at new cars.

Ford ExplorerSo we get to the rental counter last Tuesday night and hand over my driver’s license and credit card. The woman at the counter types in the info on her computer and proceeds to tell me that they don’t have any Ford Escapes available. She then tells me that she can rent me a Ford Expedition for the same price. Thank you very little, I say.

A Ford Expedition is not what one would call a small SUV. I argued for a few minutes to no avail. Either I took the Ford Expedition or we were walking to Boxboro.

The Expedition is HUGE. It’s about the same size as a GMC Suburban. It seats 7 without getting crowded. One needs to step up on the running board to get on board. It is very roomy and comfortable. Backseats are probably comfortable too, but I didn’t try them. Gas consumption is huge. When I filled it up on Monday before I turned it, the fuel gauge was pointing to 1/2 and it took 20 gallons to fill. Luckily gas prices in MA are a good deal less than LA. There is no way in this world that I would ever consider buying one of these. I don’t know how many miles per gallon it does (or maybe gallons per mile?).

One of the other issues that I had the other night. You are in a dark garage and you get into new (new to you) car. You want to get going so that you can get to the hotel and hit the sack.  It takes a long time to get oneself familiarized with all of the controls and systems. New cars these days have much more complicated controls that take a bit of getting used to,

Explorer interior

As you can see, there are a lot of buttons and switches to push and turn. This isn’t just a problem with the Expedition. All of the new cars have this sort of problem.

How do you turn on the lights, windshield wipers, adjust seat, etc. The model I was driving had the Apple Car Play system. This allows one to connect your phone to the car’s entertainment system. You can use it to play music that is on your phone or to make phone calls, etc. It’s kind of neat, but I didn’t have near enough time to get it all figured out. I plug my phone into the USB port and instantly the phone’s apps appear on the screen.

All in all, I would have been a lot happier if Avis had given to me what I had asked for and not a huge tank to drive for a week. Next time, I will try a different car rental company.

 

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Wheels Up

May 17, 2017

Well we arrived safe and sound in Boston last night. It was a long day. We were up at 0500 to get ready. We had a light breakfast, showered and got dressed. We got Mary up at about 0630 and got he breakfast ready. By 0700, our care giver had arrived. I gave her the nickle tour. We explained once again to Mary where we were going and when we would be back. She looked like such a lost soul. But for our sanity, we have to do it.

For these trips we hire home care people from a company called CarenetLA to take care of Mary. They do a great job. When we first started to use them a few years ago, we only had them during the day. Now, we need them to be there 24/7.

By 0715, we were out the door and heading to LAX. Our flight was at 1115. We were concerned about traffic and SNAFU’s related to Delta’s gate move from gate 5 to gate7. Local news people were saying allow extra time, so we did. So that means with normal traffic, we were through security with 3 hours to wait. Groan. But it sure feels good to be out on the road.

I am getting to really detest air travel. I mean really, really detest it. Air planes are more crowded. When was the last time you saw an airplane half full? So Paula and I went to the bathroom and looked for a place to sit and wait. Departure lounge was packed. People sitting on the ground. So we headed to the Starbuck’s and got some coffee and a blueberry scone to share. Managed to find two seats.

Okay here’s the deal. Normally, I would prefer to book a non-stop flight. For hour outbound flight from LAX to BOS, that would mean either a flight that leaves very early like 0700 or 0800, gets into BOS at about 5 pm, just in time for rush hour. Or we could take the red-eye leave at 10 or 11 pm and get into BOS at 0600. So we were stuck with the in between option. Booked a flight that left at about 11 am with stop at Minneapolis-St Paul change planes for the final leg to BOS. Taking the 0800 nonstop means getting up at 4 am to get to LAX by 0600.

The other choice is the red-eye. Leave LAX at 10 pm and arrive in BOS at 06:30. No good choices

So. the last couple of three years we have decided to splurge and book first class. If one is careful, you can get a reasonable price. It eases the pain a bit but the flight was still packed. Airlines generally have about 3 levels of coach. Each level up gives you a little more leg room, United calls it “Comfort Plus”, NOT! So with first class, I don’t have to pay for baggage, don’t have to pay for food or drink on the flight. And you get a little bit more attention from the stewardess.

Actually the food on both legs was pretty decent. As soon as I sat down on the LAX-MSP leg, stewardess gets me a gin and tonic. Excellent.

So I made the reservations back in February, well before the recent dust ups on United and American. I picked Delta for no other reason that we had used them before and they weren’t bad. I think that any of the few major airlines are capable of doing bad things to there customers. You pick one and you take your chances. You just hope that noone had a melt down on your flight.

So we arrived in MSP on time. I get off the flight and look at the departure screen to see where our gate would be for the MSP-BOS leg would be. Arrival gate was G21, our departure gate was D4. Oh FxxK, I say. MSP is a huge Delta hub. It would be hard to imagine a longer hike between gates. So we get on the moving walkway and head for D4. Halfway there, an airport shuttle driver took pity on us and asked if we would like a lift. Oh yes, please we answer. So off we went. Got to the gate. Delta had just started to board.

So we landed in BOS on time at about 9:30 PM and headed to the rental car bus. At Logan, the rental car companies share a common facility. Got up to the Avis desk and gave my credit card and driver’s license. I had requested a Ford Escape SUV.  They didn’t have any Ford Escapes. So they give me a Ford Expedition for the same price. Are you kidding me? That car is like a tank. It is huge. The major problem is that I will have to return it with a full tank of gas. I shudder to think what that’s going to cost me. Avis is officially on my shit list. There are other rental car companies in this world.

And one more thing. Every time I rent a new car it takes me a day or so to figure out how everything works. I get into the car and it takes me 10-15 minutes to figure out how to turn on the headlights. I can’t find out all the switches because the garage is dark.

And another thing. Man it gets dark out here. As we headed out Rte 2 into the Exurbs the ambient light god darker and darker. It’s not like that in LA. You have to get out into the desert to get that kind of darkness.

And finally, we are now back in the land of Dunkin Donuts. Though, the first Dunkie’s that we saw in the airport was closed. Not that I needed a coffee at 10 pm. Time to dust off the Dunkie’s App. Time to make the donuts.

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