FlightCar is a fairly new car rental service, available at LAX as well as a couple of other cities in the US. Their concept is to sell airport parking and then offer to rent out the parked cars, giving some of the rental money to the car owners. My (bad) experience is as a renter, visiting LA.
I made a reservation about 4 weeks in advance, selecting a "2009-2014 Compact" model car from the flightcar web site. Upon arrival, I was transported to the flightcar office (a two-step process, as first you have to take the airport shuttle to the airport cell phone waiting lot, where you are met by the flightcar driver to take you the rest of the way - which lets them avoid the fees and requirements for airport car rental services).
After a fifteen minute wait, the flightcar attendant pulled up my vehicle - a nasty looking (full of dents) 2003 Kia Sedonna minivan. I complained that this is not what I wanted and was told that it was the last vehicle available - my only choice. The vehicle was filthy inside - vacuumed, but dirty, moldy carpets, grime on the steering wheel and dash, etc. I also didn't want this vehicle as it would be harder to park and cost a lot more in gas mileage than the vehicle I reserved.
I called the toll-free national number to complain. The only answer I got was that the vehicle was an upgrade to a minivan, but they could offer me a 10% discount since I was dissatisfied. I felt stuck with this rental as I had no alternative (and wasn't offered one). I asked for a bigger discount and was told that they would ask a manager for 20%, but it wasn't certain.
I signed out the vehicle - disgruntled, but what choice did I have? As soon as I started driver. I noticed that every time I accelerated the motor made a clicking sound. I drove immediately back into the flightcar lot and complained that the vehicle had mechanical problems. One of the staff took a drive with me, heard the sound, looked at the engine, and agreed that there was a mechanical problem. I negotiated with them and finally got them to agree to hold the rental for me while I hooked up my laptop to their wifi to try to find another rental car with another company.
I found a rental at Dollar, made that reservation, and cancelled my flightcar reservation. I asked for a refund from flightcar and they told me I would have to talk to their national office to get it. But then another staff member piped in (the manager, I think) and said that the he had gotten an email which said I had already received the refund. He read the email, which described the problems with the vehicle and the fact that I wasn't taking the rental, and it said a refund had been made to my credit card. They drove me to Dollar (a half block away), for my more expensive car rental. This whole thing took two hours from the time I arrived at flightcar, causing me to miss a scheduled appointment.
Later in the week, I discovered that the refund from flightcar to my credit card was just the 20% of my rental charge, not the full amount. I called to complain, and was told that I should email them a copy of my Dollar rental car receipt and they would make the full refund plus send me a check to cover the extra amount I paid to Dollar. I sent the email a day after my return from my LA trip, including a synopsis of the entire episode, a copy of the Dollar receipt, a request for a credit card refund of the missing 80% of my rental charges and a request for a check for the difference in price for my Dollar rental. I immediately received their automated acknowledgement email stating that representative would respond with 48 hours.
Three days later I called to follow up, as I hadn't heard anything back from them. The representative, who happened to be the same one I spoke with from their LAX office, checked on my refund and informed me that the 20% refund had been made to my credit card (not finding any info about needing a full 100% refund). I explained to him what happened and that I had sent an email with a copy of my Dollar receipt, and request for the refunds. He put me on hold, and after five minutes came back on having read my email. He put in the request for the missing 80% refund to my credit card and the check to be sent out, both of which had to be "approved by a manager". He said it would take 1 to 2 business days for my refunds to be issued. Three business days have gone by and no refund has shown up on my credit card.
From this experience, I make these conclusions about flightcar:
1. They do not match rental reservations against parking reservations. They will just give you whatever car happens to be available when you arrive, regardless of the car you reserve.
2. They don't care about their customers. (Why didn't the rep tell me on the phone when I called from LA that they would cover a rental car at another car company, since they didn't have the vehicle I had reserved?)
3. Their customer service is terrbile.
4. It is hard to get a refund even when it is their mistake.
Probably 90% or more of those who rent from flightcar don't have such problems, as they simply happen to get a vehicle that matches their reservation. However, know that when you rent from flightcar, nothing is guaranteed and you may be subjected to a horrible experience such as mine. Considering that my Dollar rental came out to only an extra $8 per day (on a same-day reservation!), flightcar is not a good choice. Don't rent from them!