One of only several airports to host regular flights to and from Cuba, Tampa International Airport (TPA) is situated 9.7km west of Downtown Tampa in Florida. Known for its stellar architecture when originally inaugurated, the airport’s central terminal is connected by people movers to four satellite air terminals and gates – a pioneering concept back in the day.
The sunsets over the tarmac at Tampa International Airport (Photo: Michel Curi via Flickr)
The airport’s car rental centre can be accessed via the recently-installed SkyConnect system, linking the Main Terminal to the 2.6 million square foot rental centre housing 16 rental brands. Trains arrive every 2 minutes and the trip takes approximately 5 minutes.
To determine which rental car companies offer the best vehicles across our three categories (Most Affordable, Best for Luxury, Best for Minivans), TravelMag.com carefully researched prices, availability, policies and customer reviews of the 16 car rental companies operating out of TPA. Here are our findings.
For the ‘Most Affordable’ category, we found both Alamo and Enterprise to have the best choice of cheap car rentals. Throughout late summer, Alamo leases out a Mitsubishi Mirage for under $40 and the larger and more luxurious Hyundai Elantra for just a few dollars more. As is the case in most destinations, Alamo scores extremely well in speed of drop-off, cleanliness and the condition of the car, scoring an average 8.6/10 from customer feedback. Enterprise reduces a lot of the crafty additional charges that most other companies make their money from, so their Volkswagen Jetta, Ford Fusion and Ford Edge advertised at $40-50 per day are good deals.
Picking the best rental car agency depends slightly on your preference of car. If you’re a fan of American cars, then Avis works closely with General Motors, renting out Chryslers, Chevrolets, Ford Mustangs and a Lincoln MKZ as their most luxurious sedan at TPA Airport. In general, if you’re looking for the cheapest deals and a great selection of cars then Dollar is right up there, but it doesn’t always score so well on customer service or speed of returns. At TPA airport, they had a Chrysler 300 at just over $60 per day, with an up-grade of $9 giving you a BMW X3.
Whether you’re among a group of students cruising to Fort Lauderdale for Spring Break, or a family heading to the Everglade National Park, you might be tempted to rent a minivan. At Tampa International Airport, both Alamo and Enterprise were renting the Dodge Grand Caravan and the Nissan Quest at $60 per day. Both these companies shared the highest customer feedback ratings at TPA. For about $10 per day more, Alamo also has the Toyota Sienna on its books. No one enjoys re-tuning a rental car, however, customer feedback backs up Alamo’s claim that this is an area in which they excel.