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car rental at Palermo Airport

Jacksonville...
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car rental at Palermo Airport

Has anyone recently used AutoEurope in Palermo Airport? I wanted to get any recent experiences or things to look out for. We have a one way rental picking up at Palermo Airport and dropping off at Catania. I have read mixed reviews from earlier postings. We do have no excess insurance and would like to know what kind of economy cars they have. The website says they offer Fiat Panda or similiar, would like to know what they really have. Thank you in advance.

Here & There
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for Sicily, Taormina
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11. Re: car rental at Palermo Airport

Thanks for a very helpful report jetfumes2!

Vagabonda

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12. Re: car rental at Palermo Airport

Our car rental agent is Firefly thru Cheapoair. Have you heard of Firefly? We pick up the car at 11:30 in Palermo after flying for 24 hours. We will be too tired to drive, any hotel recommendations?

Suffolk, England
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13. Re: car rental at Palermo Airport

I've just returned from Sicily and rented a car with Hertz at Palermo Airport for 8 days.

Firstly I'd like to say they were very professional, and I received a practically brand new(1400km) Fiat Panda. (I don't know that this is really a good thing, as I spent most of the 9000km I drove worrying about scratching it or getting hit!)

I would most definitely recommend taking out Super Cover. True, it costs almost as much as the car rental, but it covers any excess (and if you read the small print on the contract you'll see you can be liable for up to 4000 euros if you're hit or you damage the car--strong chances of either of these happening.) Many places in Sicily are not on paved roads (like my B&B), so you're taking a risk of ending up with a bill.

Having said they're very professional, please be aware that I mean this in a Palermo context. It took almost an hour to get the car, as their connections were slow (it was a Sunday), and when I returned it, they didn't open the return desk until almost half an hour late, and even the Italians waiting were getting angry! I had no worries that we would miss the flight (we actually boarded 5 mins before take-off) because things always seem to work out in Palermo, no matter how seemingly chaotic.

As for driving--arriving and departing on a Sunday is a dream. No traffic really. I was going south of Trapani, so it was an easy run anyway. But during my stay I did on one day have to take the ring road through Palermo, and am still having nightmares about it. It should be avoided at all costs. It goes on for ever, and gets scarier by the minute.

If you book your car rental though Ryanair they do the 'return it with an empty tank' trick. If you rent through Hertz, you have an option of empty or full. Be aware that on Sundays in Sicily most petrol stations are closed (there is one designated in each area, but you're unlikely to know which this is as a visitor).

One other point: unlike in most airports, there are no car rental desks in the actual airport. You have to take a bus just down the road to the car rental area. They're doing construction outside the airport, so it's a bit unclear--but just wait outside the entrance for the little bus.

Overall, I love driving in Sicily--roads are in great condition, well marked, fast. Just avoid the Palermo ring road! (take the train)

Epsom, United...
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14. Re: car rental at Palermo Airport

I've just recently returned from Sicily too. I rented a car from Budget. Some comments/notes:

1. There were no car rental desks within the terminal itself, they're all based remotely. There is a minibus that takes you out to where the car rentals are located. The signing for where you pick up the minibus could be better, but as long as you are reasonably vigilant you should be able to find it.

2. I found Budget rental to be fine. There was no queue at the desk, and the service was very good (both when picking up and returning the car). We also got a free car upgrade. The car was a new car too.

3. The only thing that I wasn't prepared for was that they wanted me to pay £20/day, otherwise I would be liable for a fairly hefty excess. From my reading, it seems that this is fairly standard practice. £20/day would have almost doubled the price of the rental, which I wasn't prepared to do. In retrospect, I'm not sure what to advise anyone regarding whether to pay this charge. I think that if you are doing a lot of City driving then definitely pay the extra...if you are doing mainly out-of-town driving then given that the roads are pretty lightly trafficked you could probably take the risk. I took that risk as I was doing 90% out-of-town driving and got away with it.

4. I think the lesson on car hire is to double check ALL of the extra charges before you book. It may be that what looks like an expensive car rental package is actually cheaper overall, because there are fewer additional charges when you pick up the car at the airport.

London, United...
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15. Re: car rental at Palermo Airport

I hired recently from Palermo airport but after reading the advice here I was dismayed to find the cost of the 'reputable' firms to be significantly (around 50% higher) more expensive than the firms we are advised to avoid. As I already have an insurance policy that covers car-hire excess (this costs around £35 pa in the UK so is well worth it in my eyes) I took the risk of booking through Holiday Autos which allocated me a car with Dollar.

Collecting the car was relatively quick, about 15 minutes waiting and around 10 minutes to complete the admin. He accepted my 'no' to insurance immediately. The car itself was noticeably scratched and could have done with a clean but he happily annotated all the scratches on the documentation and was very helpful with the unfamiliar gearbox. The fuel policy was full to full and they advised on nearest petrol station.

Been back six weeks now and no sign of any claim on my credit card, not that I caused any damage but I was a bit wary of the pre-existing damage. Whilst this could have been claimed on my insurance I could have done without the hassle.

We drove from the airport to Cefalu during the evening rush-hour and therefore experienced the ring-road at what I would imagine is its worst. To be honest it wasn't horrendous. If you can tolerate the tail-gating and the attempts to make three lanes out of two then it wasn't dissimilar to London's North Circular in the rush-hour, the only difference being Palermo's is less lengthy. If you're calm, confident and know where you are going then I thought it ok.

I would hire with Dollar again but just think its a shame that the 'better' companies only offer extortionate rates.

Epsom, United...
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16. Re: car rental at Palermo Airport

RichMelBarnet - that's really useful advice about your policy covering car hire excess. Which policy do you mean, however? Your holiday insurance or your normal car insurance?

And agree with you regarding the driving - generally, as long as you don't get stressed about the tail-gating, most of the driving is pretty straightforward. Although that rule only applies for out-of-town or country driving. When it comes to City driving, there don't really appear to be any rules!

London, United...
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17. Re: car rental at Palermo Airport

YerManThere, about ten years ago I got stung for a £400 excess following a minor scratch in France. As a result of this I would always pay the car-hire firm to remove the excess but sadly their price for doing so has become ever more exorbitant. I now buy an annual stand-along policy which I hope I can claim on should I ever have to pay the insurance excess. These have been written about in our press but just do a search on 'car hire excess insurance', I've also included a link to a Guardian article. Mine is with Questor and costs around £40 for the year. As yet I have not had to make a claim.

theguardian.com/money/2012/jun/15/holiday-ca…

Epsom, United...
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18. Re: car rental at Palermo Airport

RichMelBarnet - that's extremely helpful, I've just added the link to my favourites. I can't believe that Budget were going to charge me £20/day, when you can get annual cover for £39.99!!!

Here & There
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for Sicily, Taormina
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19. Re: car rental at Palermo Airport

Avoid Firefly and Dollar, which is affiliated with the dreaded Autoeuropa.

http://www.autoeuropa.it/newae/index_new.aspx

Thanks for your reports Schoenbart and YerManThere!

The internationally known companies are more expensive, but are more dependable and reliable if something goes wrong, and also less likely to run scams.

It is fairly standard practice to be offered the additional insurance on arrival, because regular insurance doesn't cover, tyres, windshields, undercarriage....

Note that there are differences between the insurance you would purchase on arrival and a stand-along policy.

rental car insurance question

tripadvisor.com/…57250952

Vagabonda

R C
New York City, New...
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20. Re: car rental at Palermo Airport

I had just the opposite experience. Terrible pick-up at Palermo airport and easy drop off at EuropCar Catania airport. It was easy to find and the bus departure area from Catania drop-off was an easy two-minute walk. We got a ticket easily and were on our way to Taormina.