Rental Car Airport Fees Waived If Not Arriving By Airplane?

Did you know that if you rent a vehicle at an airport location of a rental car company but did not arrive via airplane, the airport fees might possibly be waived and you may not be required to pay them — and if that does not happen automatically, you can request that the airport fees be waived?

Rental Car Airport Fees Waived If Not Arriving By Airplane?

Parking garage

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

Effective as of Monday, January 1, 2018, the terms and conditions of renting a vehicle from National Car Rental had changed — and included in those terms and conditions was the following item:

At certain locations, the fees and other charges described in Section 3(b)(11), above, may not apply in the event Renter did not arrive at certain airports by plane within a specified period prior to the commencement of a rental transaction. Certain other fees and charges described in Section 3(b)(11) may not be applicable to vehicles rented as temporary replacements for vehicles unavailable due to mechanical breakdown, repair, service, damage or loss. These fees and charges may not be assessed if (A) Renter advises Owner at the counter at the time of the rental transaction that either (i) the Renter did not arrive at the airport by plane prior to the commencement of the rental transaction or (ii) Vehicle will be utilized as a replacement vehicle, and (B) the Owner determines that the fee and/or charge is not applicable to such Renter as a result of same. In the event Renter bypasses the counter at the time of the rental transaction without advising Owner of the foregoing facts, Renter acknowledges and agrees to incur certain fees and charges that may not otherwise have been applicable.

At least one member of FlyerTalk confirmed having airport fees waived: “Myself and others have had fees waived at LGA when informing counter agents did not arrive via plane. In fact most of the time now they just waive the fees without my even asking”, according to this comment which was posted by FlyerTalk member BugsyPal back on Friday, August 10, 2018. “LGA however is located off airport property, and not sure if that makes a difference.”

FlyerTalk members speculated that the “certain airports” may mean rental car locations which are considered serving customers at an airport but are not actually located on airport property.

“Silvercar does this for me, it is off airport, the only thing waived is the tourist fee … which is a few dollars — they have me sign a form saying I hadn’t used the airport within 48 hours”, FlyerTalk member 4aks imparted.

Could that be one reason why FlyerTalk member bocastephen was unsuccessful in having airport fees waived with every vehicle rental? “I’ve been refused at every airport I’ve tried this with – the exit agents just stare blindly not even comprehending the request, while managers claim ‘oh, it can’t be done’. I guess they don’t have a way to filter out who arrived by what means since they owe the taxing authorities based on the outbound rental contracts, which is my assumption.”

As per this comment which was posted on Friday, February 21, 2020, FlyerTalk member m907 also “tried at the counter at PIT and DCA but they were just confused and had never heard of it.”


Having to pay fees may be bad enough; but when they are paid when you may not have had to pay them, that can be frustrating — even if the fees only amount to a few dollars, which can add up over a series of vehicle rentals.

If you believe you may be successful in having the airport fees waived when you rent a vehicle, ensure that your request is placed at the counter — either at the beginning or the conclusion of the rental of the vehicle — as requests for refunds of payment of those fees are reportedly not retroactive.

The next time you rent a vehicle at an airport from any rental car company but did not arrive via airplane, place a request to the agent behind the counter to see if those airport fees can be waived. The worst that can happen is that your request is denied and you are no worse off than you were before you placed the request…

…and if you decide to try this out, please report your experience in the Comments section below — regardless of whether you were successful or not…

All photographs ©2015 and ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

4 thoughts on “Rental Car Airport Fees Waived If Not Arriving By Airplane?”

  1. mojo says:

    I’ve had fees waived as a local resident – proven by producing my local driver’s license

  2. Barry Graham says:

    At Heathrow with some companies you have to pay extra if you return a car that wasn’t rented at the airport.

  3. Mark says:

    Works at SFO

  4. Randy says:

    Works at SAT. They go by the zip code on your DL to figure out if you have to pay the fees or not.

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