• ETC
  • Feb 24, 2013
Three young entrepreneurs from California have come up with an idea that could earn you free parking at the airport. What's the catch? You let them rent out your car while you're gone.

The start-up, called FlightCar, is the brainchild of three barely out-of-high-school business-minded individuals. The idea is to realize the possible synergy of people arriving for a flight with a car they need to put somewhere, and people arriving on a flight who need to rent a car.

The benefit to the car owner is that his or her vehicle is whisked away from the airport upon their arrival and then given back to them at the curb upon their return, free of charge. The car is cleaned and gassed up to pre-trip levels, and the owner even gets a gas card worth at least $10.

How about the renter? That person, who in this case wouldn't be a renter so much as a member of a car-sharing service (like ZipCar or RelayRides), gets a vehicle to use while in town at a much cheaper rate than a normal rental car. One example given by Boston.com, which published an article on the start-up recently, was a Volkswagen Touareg that FlightCar could rent for $30/day, compared to a BMW SUV from Avis that cost $210/day.

FlightCar is still in its infancy and only operating at the San Francisco International Airport, but that shouldn't dissuade you from participating as either a renter or owner. Each car is covered by a $1,000,000 insurance policy for liability, comprehensive collision and theft, and renters must even meet eligibility requirements. The company also only accepts cars with less than 150,000 miles that are model year 1999 or newer. Plus, the selection looks more interesting than what's offered at your average rental car counter, including a nice 2003 Mercury Marauder that's available to rent next week.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 108 Comments
      canuckcharlie
      • 1 Year Ago
      WORST. IDEA. EVER. 1 - the depreciation per mile far outweights the cost of gas or parking 2 - wear and tear (normal to severe abuse) 3 - electronic toll charge 4 - red light camera charge 5 - parking tickets 6 - scratch and dings 7 - accident (even if it\'s covered, you still have to deal with the whole mess) 9 - food and body odor 9 - late return 10 - can\'t leave personal belongings in your own car If it\'s short term parking, just pay the parking fees if it\'s long term parking, call a cab or ask a friend Serious...use some common sense
        NightFlight
        • 1 Year Ago
        @canuckcharlie
        You've got every single point down. That's exactly why this is a terrible idea, even if it is laid out in a contract, it is still your own vehicle.
      FIDTRO
      • 1 Year Ago
      The last thing I need on a trip is worrying about what some random stranger is doing with my car. Pass.
      Brian Rautio
      • 1 Year Ago
      This was doomed for it ever started. 1.) Liability 2.) Risk -- What if my car isn't there when I get back 3.) Hassle -- What if I have to get a dent pulled or tear mended 4.) Little Added Value -- If I'm paying to park my car at an airport, it's going on an expense report. If it's not a business trip, then I'll try to find a friend to drop me off and return the favor for them later. 5.) Little Cost Savings -- Rental Car Agencies go through cars like water. Because the cars are far from the only cost. Space, labor, insurance, logistics, support, non-scheduled maintenance (e.g. broken windshields, flat tires). When you realize these costs, plus figure in how efficient the existing rental car companies are, I bet this method causes more for a rental. Plus, you get some random person's car, and that person is one who doesn't care about their car very much. It's such a bad idea I feel like I wasted time by even analyzing it.
      LynxFX
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'll take "People I'd Never Let Near My Car" for a thousand Alex.
      Polly Prissy Pants
      • 1 Year Ago
      What happens when the renter hits a curb and you don't notice the damage until a few days after getting it back? What if he leaves a bag of dope under the seat and the cop finds it two weeks later? What if he gets caught with the dope and says it was in the car (your car) when he got it? What if he gets into an accident and kills someone (or himself), then the lawyers say you didn't properly maintain the brakes and wants to take your house and life's savings? What if he uses it in a crime and it gets impounded as evidence, stuck in limbo for weeks or months? This is just such a bad idea on so many levels it's hard to even fathom. You'd have to be nuts to do this when the park-n-fly is $10 a day.
        C-Dog
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Polly Prissy Pants
        I worked for a large rental company right out of college. We had a Cadillac DTS in DEA custody for months during an investigation/trial. This definitely can and has happened.
          nsk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @C-Dog
          You worked for Enterprise? I did too in 2006. My first day on the job, I had to pick up a Magnum from an impound lot. There was weed residue everywhere, open containers of cheap vodka, and a library of mixtape CDs in the console. A couple months later, a Grand Prix had been converted by a renter and we got it back from Atlanta PD with a nice blood stain on the driver's seat where the renter had been shot. We called the detail guy and had the car back rented the same day. I've never rented from Enterprise since.
      transam
      • 1 Year Ago
      I can just picture it: You just arrived back from a long exhausting business trip, its close to 5pm and you cant wait to get home, have dinner with your kids, take a shower, and just relax, but wait the guy who rented your car so that you could save a few bucks for parking, shows up 4 hours late, and your car stinks of a combination of fastfood take-out and cigarettes. Nice, no thanks. Plus, imagine what they can do to your car. I can think of a thousand reasons why this is a bad idea.
      Pat
      • 1 Year Ago
      Don't even know where to begin with this idea! But clearly, judging from the 47 comments preceeding mine ... it's not a good idea!
      RL to RL
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is NOT same as ZIP car. Saving the airport parking to get my car trashed by some stranger? Hell NO!
      canuckcharlie
      • 1 Year Ago
      "The start-up, called FlightCar, is the brainchild of three barely out-of-high-school business-minded individuals." enough said...
        hp
        • 1 Year Ago
        @canuckcharlie
        I don't know, they may still be in high school, they probably have never even owned a car.
        kcroc10077
        • 1 Year Ago
        @canuckcharlie
        Don't hate. It's an idea. It might fail, it might succeed. Sure they're young, so what. It's not like others their age have never started a successful company.
      Neez
      • 1 Year Ago
      I rent cars at the airport all the time(business travel, company pays). Trust me, you don't want someone like me renting your car. Most of the time i return them muddy and dirty, chips and crap everywhere. I even brought one back with a bent rim, because we decided to go off roading in a 4-runner. However you didn't notice the severe teeth chattering vibration until you hit over 30mph. End of the story is, the $10 a day to park in economy parking is much cheaper than the potential repairs to your vehicle.
      Willie
      • 1 Year Ago
      No thanks, I will just pay the parking fee or take a taxi to the airport.
      stevenh
      • 1 Year Ago
      there is a great Hungarian proverb: "A shared horse has a dirty back" Lending out your car to a complete stranger quite simply is an insane idea
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