Our counterparts in the US recently launched a new TV advertising campaign. The ads tell the sad story of how cheated your private car feels when you rent a car with Avis. There are four ads in total, all of them quite amusing, and I have posted my favourite below. Let me know what you think…

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Having taken a look at our traffic numbers I can see that Xavier’s post last month about the ex-hire cars we have available for sale has been one of my most read on this blog. So you’re more interested in reading about buying a car from Avis than about hiring them?! Oh the irony!

Having made a quick trip over to the Fleet team (they sit opposite me so it wasn’t far!) I thought I’d ask for an update on what ex-hire cars we have available to see if there was anything new of interest I could tell you about. It turns out that we now have a range of Volkswagens on the list which is great news! This includes the Golf and Golf Plus, the Jetta and the Passat. Amongst the Golf models we have available is the GT Sport but my informers are telling that they are proving particularly popular. We only have a limited number available so my inside top tip for our blog readers is to get in there quick before they’re gone! If you are interested to learn more about the ex-hire cars we have available or, if you wish to enquire about the possibility of buying one, then full information is available on our website.

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Peugeot 207CCA recent survey of ours showed that, for 44% of UK car renters, their perception of the make/model they had rented had improved slightly or was much better after renting that car. The same percentage also said that they are slightly or much more likely to add this make/model on to the shopping list of their car purchase.

Renting a car is a good way to not only experience new models that you have not previously driven, it gives you the opportunity to try out the car more comprehensively. So if you’re in the market for buying a new car then why not try renting one?! And if you want to try something specific then of course Select Series gives you the opportunity to try the Peugeot 207CC, the VW Golf or the Audi A4 and A6.

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Not too long ago, one of our customers, Isabel, posted some great feedback on the blog. One of her suggestions encouraged us to offer the option of having your hire car delivered to, and collected from your own home.

It’s a concept that has intrigued us for some time. However, I am delighted to announce we have decided to launch in the UK on a permanent basis. Our new Avis Home Delivery service gives you the flexibility to start and end your rental from the convenience of your own home!

We are still testing the product but it is available to book. We are not quite at the final product yet as we are still finalising the price of the service, how much notice we need for Avis Home Delivery bookings and what time window we are confident in promising we can get the vehicle delivered in by.

Currently, Avis Home Delivery is available to book at all of our off-airport locations so if it is something that interests you, please give it a try. In the short-term, it can only be booked directly with your local rental office. All telephone numbers are available on the website. As always, any thoughts you have on this new service are welcome as we look to put the final touches together!

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The 5 spaniels in the boot of my carI managed to escape the worst of the Easter weather, as I went home to Ireland for the bank holiday weekend. A couple of times a year we travel on the ferry and take the car. This means that we can bring the dogs with us, but they have to stay in the car while on the ferry. :(

I’m currently driving an Audi A4 Avant, with built in Sat Nav incorporating European countries, so I was able to set the destination in Kildare from home. 385 miles all in although 50 of those are across the sea. We always take the Stena fast craft ferry from Holyhead, which only takes about 2 hours by sea. The total journey time from Newbury where I live, to my family home in Clane, Co. Kildare is about 8 hours. As well as being able to bring the dogs there’s the great advantage of being able to take as much luggage as I like, with no worries about weight limits and what you can put in your cabin baggage. :)

My Dad took my husband to visit Croke Park, the national stadium of the Gaelic Athletics Association. It was only last year that “foreign” games like Rugby and Soccer were allowed to play there for the first time. The highlight of the trip for the dogs were the visits to Donadea Forest Park near my hometown – did I mention that my parents have 3 dogs? That was a total of 5 spaniels in the boot of the Audi (see picture above).

But my own highlights included shopping on Grafton Street where everybody should try Brown Thomas and a visit to my Alma Mater Trinity College Dublin.

So try a trip to Ireland by ferry or you could always fly into Dublin Airport and rent a car from Avis there…

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While all the publicity at the moment surrounds the opening of Terminal 5, it is easy to forget that there are significant changes happening to the other terminals at Heathrow as well.

For starters, the opening of Terminal 5 marks the closure of Terminal 2 and the Queen’s Building ahead of planned demolition to make way for the new Terminal East. As a result, there will be a major re-shuffle with over half of the airlines that operate out of Heathrow having to move to alternative terminals over the next few years. I’ve listed below how this new configuration will look:

- Terminal 1 will host members of the Star Alliance including bmi, Lufthansa, SWISS and United
- Terminal 3 will host members of the Oneworld Alliance including American Airlines and Cathay Pacific
- Terminal 4 will host members of Sky Team alliance members including Air France and KLM

Star Alliance have recently announced that Air New Zealand and United will be their most immediate movers, moving from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1 on June 10th. If you are unsure, I would suggest checking with your airline before you fly or check on the BAA’s ‘Which Terminal?’ tool.

One airline I haven’t listed is our partner Virgin Atlantic who will continue to depart from Terminal 3. They have also benefitted from a refurb with a brand new, brighter, more spacious check-in area that promises to be “fast, efficient and stress free”, taking most passengers less than 15 minutes to get from check-in to the departure lounge. Even cooler is the new state of the art Drive Thru Check In for Upper Class passengers arriving by a chauffeur driven car. Most of the check-in is done in the car before arriving, leaving just a check of the travel documents and the security questions to be conducted in the airport. From there, it is just a short walk through security to the Clubhouse. Nice!

That concludes my overview of the changes happening at Terminal 5. Please post your questions and I’ll try to answer them myself or I’ll speak to the relevant partner.

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When Paul Lewis, station manager at Avis Heathrow, wrote “Help us at Heathrow”, one of our regular customers at this location, Robert, asked how we were going to service customers at the new Terminal 5.

If you’ve reserved your car, the process is pretty much the same as it currently is. Simply proceed to the bus stop (at Terminal 5, it is bus stops 24 and 25) where the Avis courtesy bus will transfer you to the Avis car hire centre to collect your car as normal. For more information on Avis Heathrow, check out Stephen’s blog post “Making car hire easy at Heathrow”.

If you have not pre-reserved a car, the process is a little different to how things have traditionally worked in an airport. Gone are the Car Rental desks to be replaced by an unmanned Car Rental Information Zone. So, instead of speaking to individual car hire companies to try and figure out which one offers the best value, you can utilise the touch screen car rental information facility and use the direct telephone line to call for a quote and to make your booking. However, for the fastest way pick up a car, proceed straight to the bus stop for the Avis car hire centre as we guarantee we will have a car available.

Little has changed to returning your car as our hire cars should be returned to the existing Avis car rental centre as normal. Again, full information is on the blog post “Making car hire easy at Heathrow”. However, as with transfers to all the other terminals, please ensure you allow 30 minutes for returning the car and transferring to the terminal.

In the near future, we are looking to introduce kerbside pick-up and return exclusive to those British Airways Executive Club members who are also members of Avis Preferred. In the meantime, I would love to hear your feedback? What do you think of the new Car Rental Information Zone? Do you have any thoughts, ideas and feedback on how we service car rental at the new Terminal 5?

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The Queen officially opened Heathrow’s new Terminal 5 on Friday with a glowing seal of approval. The news reminded me that I was planning to write a series of blog posts about the how the new Terminal affects passengers to Heathrow airport.

As you may already know, Terminal 5 will be exclusively used by our partner British Airways. I was fortunate enough to get a sneak peek last month and, despite it not yet being quite the finished article, I was really excited. With passengers passing through the terminal from the 27th of March, what can you expect? Well, according to BA, it will bring the joy back into travelling!

Firstly, looks. Expect some stunning architecture. And the transport links are fantastic too with a specially constructed infrastructure. This includes a six platform rail station (with extensions to Heathrow Express and the London Underground’s Piccadilly Line) and a 3,800 space car park facility (which Rob was blogging about excitedly back in November).

The check-in area on the top floor of Terminal 5A includes a vast 96 self-service kiosks, over 90 fast bag drop-offs and 54 standard check-in desks. The baggage system uses hoists instead of the traditional baggage belts which means dropping off your luggage now forms a seamless part of your journey through departures (it is also a system that can handle over a staggering 12,000 bags an hour!). Your subsequent trip through security should be equally stress-free (and expect the same experience in arrivals too).

The BAA are also pushing the envelope with their airside retail area including the first airport restaurant from Michelin starred celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and Tiffany & Co.’s first European airport boutique. And if you’re lucky enough to be flying the right class or happen to be the right Executive Club level… well the Galleries First, Galleries Club and Concorde Rooms really to do put the enjoyment back into travel. If you would like to know more then I would suggest taking the tour on the dedicated area of the BA website. The facilities are amazing and I am expecting some very good food and wine!

To sum up, I’d say that the BAA really are pioneering the future of travel here. As far as I am concerned BA are right, it really does put the joy back into travelling!

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In the customer service department at Avis (and I’m sure throughout the car hire industry), one of the most contentious issues for our customers is damage. It’s a subject that everybody has strong opinions about and it’s not hard to see why. Any car owner will tell you that the price of repairing damage can be expensive.

We want to be transparent about what we do. So, to ensure that you are as informed as possible when hiring with Avis, here’s our process in the UK for deciding whether damage is chargeable.

When you pick up the car any existing damage will be clearly marked on your rental agreement. You will be asked to sign the rental agreement so that both parties agree that the damage noted is a fair reflection of the actual damage on the vehicle. Please ensure you check the car for damage before you leave the rental station. If it’s dark or raining, we also allow you to contact us at the next possible opportunity (usually before midday the next day) to inform us of existing damage.

When you return the car, our agents check it over, either while you’re there with our rapid return devices or at the first possible opportunity. It is a common misconception that car hire companies will try to get away with charging you for every little nick. This is not the case and we do not charge for what we consider to be general ‘wear and tear’. It’s understandable that a car can pick up small scuffs and dents throughout its life and we will not pass the cost of repairing these on to you. Our guidelines for non-chargeable damage are very clear and include:

- Scratches less than 25mm (1inch) not penetrating the surface, or light scratches that can be polished out
- Dents less than 25mm (1inch) diameter without paint cracking or flaking
- Stone chips less than 25mm (1inch) without denting
- Wheel or wheel-trim scuffs without cracking or gouging
- Interior stains or marks that can be cleaned or polished out

If damage is found that is larger than the above, we charge according to a list of prices agreed by the manufacturers and Avis. Even in the case of major damage, we will only charge up to the excess, except in rare cases where the car has been mis-used. You can reduce the excess by taking Premier Cover (or similar product in other countries) which is available at the rental counter.

At Avis, we constantly review our processes to make sure they are fair for both you and us. We’d also welcome your feedback to help us improve even further

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I’ve just read that, in a survey by Tripadvisor, London has been voted the best European city to visit by international travellers. I love London so the results certainly won’t be getting any argument from me! The survey also included a number of other ‘best’ categories. I have picked out those categories (and the winners) that you might find useful in choosing a future city break:

European City with the Best Cuisine:
1. Paris, 2. Rome, 3. Florence

European City with the Best Shopping:
1. Paris, 2. London, 3. Rome

European City with the Best Night Life:
1. London, 2. Amsterdam, 3. Paris

European City with the Best Public Parks:
1. London, 2. Paris, 3. Barcelona

Most Romantic European City:
1. Paris, 2. Venice, 3. Rome

So, what do you think? Do you agree or disagree with the cities on these lists? And do you have a list of your own?

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Please note:

The details of all blog posts are correct at the time of publication. Information and offers are subject to change without prior notice. Please check www.avis.co.uk for the most up-to-date information.

All comments will be moderated so there may be a delay in your comment going live. We will filter out anything that is confidential, inappropriate, abusive, defamatory, profane, or anything considered as spam or an advertising link. We promise not to cut something just because it's not favourable to Avis.

We ask that if your feedback is regarding a past rental, you include your reservation details (which will be removed from the live post). If your comment is a customer service issue, you can email customer.service@avis.co.uk .
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At Avis, we really do try harder. We pioneered blogging in the car rental world and we aim to make our blog much more than just an information source. You can use our blog to ask questions or tell us what’s important to you when you hire a car. We try harder because we care what you think, so we really do value your feedback.

New to car rentals? Our blog gives you tips and advice on getting the most out of your Avis car hire experience. You can find information about booking and hiring your car, safety tips, and eco driving. We also provide driving advice and the latest news about our fleet.

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