It’s always a hassle figuring out the most convenient and cost-effective way to get to the airport when travelling.
UPDATE: As of July 14, 2016 FlightCar has been shut-down. Read about it here.
We recently took a twelve day trip to California to visit friends and family. Parking in the long-term lot at the airport would have cost $216 total ($18 per day). Public transportation to the airport would have cost $83 total (train fare is $17.25 each way per person + $7 taxi each way to train station).
I researched our other options and found FlightCar – we’d be able to park in an off-airport parking lot for free, receive free transport to the airport, and receive a free car wash. This would be in exchange for FlightCar handling possible rental inquiries and renting our vehicle out to other members whilst we are away. If our vehicle was rented, FlightCar provides insurance and we’d be compensated $0.10 per mile driven by the renter ($0.20 per mile if driven over 100 miles per day).
This seemed like a reasonable alternative to airport transport/parking. After all, I’m a fan of peer-to-peer car rentals and already rent my vehicle using Turo. However, the measly $0.10 per mile compensation doesn’t quite stack up – the IRS standard mileage rate for 2016 is $0.54 per mile. But, FlightCar is relatively new at Newark airport so I wasn’t sure that the car would even be rented to anyone. In the end, we figured it was worth a try.
It was a simple process to register with FlightCar and inform them of our travel plans. When we arrived (at the not-so-nice-but-gated location), the personnel were extremely friendly, processed our vehicle by taking photos of its condition and recording other details, and transported us to the airport.
During our twelve day trip, our vehicle was rented once and we earned $7.70. The rental was for four days and the vehicle was driven 77 miles. We were informed, via email, of the rental and kept abreast of its return status, condition, and miles driven.
Upon our return, FlightCar was prompt with our airport pick-up, and again efficient and timely with the check-out process. We received a summary email where FlightCar proposed that our savings totaled $223.70 ($216 airport parking + $7.70 rental income).
Or, you could consider our possible options as costing the following:
- Public Transport = $83.00
- Drive to/from Airport* + Pay for Parking = $40.50 + $216 = $256.50
- Drive to/from Airport* + FlightCar (actual scenario) = $40.50 + $41.58 (77 miles @ .54/mile) – $7.70 (FlightCar earnings) = $74.38
* Drive to/from Airport = $40.50 (75 miles @ .54/mile)
Based on those scenarios, our decision to try FlightCar was the least costly. If our car hadn’t been rented at all then we’d have been better off because we wouldn’t have lost money having been paid only $0.10 per mile. However, if the car had been rented and driven the maximum miles per day (mileage over 100 miles/day are considered excess) for ten days then we wouldn’t be looking so good. Consider this range in associated costs to us:
- Drive to/from Airport* + FlightCar (if nobody rented our car) = $40.50 + $0 = $40.50
- Drive to/from Airport* + FlightCar (high rental scenario) = $40.50 + $540 (1000 miles @ .54/mile) – $54 (FlightCar earnings) = $526.50
In summary, it was convenient – we drove to the airport instead of being bound by the train schedule – and it turned out to be a cost-effective option for us. However, one needs to consider all possible rental scenarios, your actual cost mileage per mile, your public transportation costs, and the benefit to the environment of using public transportation. Using this information, and guessing the likelihood of rentals given your travel schedule, will help inform your decision.
If you do decide to use FlightCar (to either list your car or rent a listed car), use this FlightCar link to get either a $20 bonus on your earnings or a $20 credit off your rental.