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      3 Best Philadelphia Airport Car Rental Companies — Browse Tips on Renting a Car in Philadelphia in 2023

      Holly Riddle
      Best Philadelphia Airport Car Rental Companies

      Traveling to Philadelphia soon? For an airport with more than 25 million passengers per year, Philadelphia International Airport’s car rental options aren’t quite as robust as what you might expect or find at other airports. For example, the much smaller San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport’s car rental options number in the high teens. Comparatively, Philadelphia International (PHL) offers just seven car rental companies on-site, all major brands.

      That said, while you might not have an overabundance of car rental choices at PHL, at least the lesser number means narrowing down your options is all the easier — and we’re going to help you narrow down your options even more. 

      We’ve looked at these seven providers and compared and contrasted their offerings, brand reputations, and reviews from travelers like you on Kayak and Google to determine the best of the best. Here are our top three recommendations for booking a great rental car deal at the Philly airport. 

      The Vacationer Tip

      Check out RentalCars.com before booking your Philly car rental.

      Which Car Rental Companies are Best at the Philadelphia Airport?

      The Philly airport offers on-site rental car service from the following seven providers:

      • Alamo
      • Avis
      • Budget
      • Dollar
      • Enterprise
      • Hertz
      • National

      So who’s the best? These are our three favorites. 

      1. Alamo

      Alamo Rent a Car Philadelphia

      Alamo is a favorite car rental provider nationwide, and that’s the case at Philadelphia’s airport as well. Reviewers report that they love the quick and easy pick-up and drop-off processes, especially given that PHL isn’t always the most accessible airport to navigate, particularly when driving in and out of the surrounding area.

      To add to the convenience, Alamo allows you to complete your check-in paperwork online before picking up your rental, so you can spend less time checking in and more time enjoying your trip. 

      A handful of poor reviews mention that sometimes the cars offered aren’t in the best working order, so consider that when you book. Additionally, one reviewer had some issues renting their vehicle using a debit card; it’s worth noting that Alamo does allow you to rent a car with a debit card, but restrictions apply. If you plan on going this route, check out the brand’s policy beforehand.

      Pros: Quick, easy, and super-convenient pick-up and drop-off processes. 

      Cons: Reviewers occasionally report vehicles in poor condition. 

      Phone: (215) 492-3960

      Hours: 24 hours 

      Google Rating: 4.2 stars

      Kayak Rating: 8.3 (Very Good)

      Click Here to See the Best Car Rental Deals at Alamo

      2. National Car Rental

      National Car Rental Philadelphia

      Ranked equally with Alamo by reviewers across Kayak and Google, National Car Rental is an unsurprising top choice at Philadelphia’s airport. The brand and location’s Drop & Go service is a favorite with frequent renters who don’t want to deal with a lengthy return process, as is the Emerald Aisle service, which allows you to head straight to the lot, pick out your rental car, and go upon your flight’s arrival.

      Happy customers report friendly and efficient staff and easy drop-off and pick-up. A handful of less-than-happy customers found National’s reservations process, as well as the pick-up and drop-off processes, confusing. The latter, however, does seem to be a fault of the airport as, admittedly, the PHL website’s rental pick-up instructions are vague. 

      Some reviewers also mentioned one downside to National’s Emerald Aisle service. While, yes, some may find picking out their vehicle preferable, for those of us who aren’t familiar with makes and models, it might be trickier than not. Pick the wrong car and you might find you don’t have enough room, aren’t as comfortable as you could be, etc. (So, if you decide to use this service, maybe just research a few potential preferred car options ahead of your trip.) 

      Pros: Staff members are friendly and efficient, and this location offers favored National services such as the Emerald Aisle and Drop & Go.

      Cons: Reservations and pick-up and drop-off processes are confusing for some. 

      Phone: (833) 338-3322

      Hours: 24 hours

      Google Rating: 4.2 stars

      Kayak Rating: 8.3 (Very Good)

      Click Here to See the Best Car Rental Deals at National

      3. Enterprise Rent a Car

      Enterprise Car Rental Philadelphia

      Enterprise ticks a lot of boxes for a lot of travelers. The brand consistently offers pretty reasonable pricing. There’s an excellent selection of vehicles. There’s an Enterprise outpost in just about every airport and town.

      So, how does the Philadelphia Airport Enterprise location stack up? 

      Reviewers report that the Enterprise counter at PHL offers friendly, helpful service; a quick and convenient check-in and drop-off process; and, often, a choice of vehicles upon pick-up. Some, however, did note that the counter can, at times, seem understaffed, and they encountered waits. 

      Also, again, some travelers were unhappy that they could not rent a car with their debit cards here, as this is another rental car company at Philadelphia airport that enforces particular policies regarding when you can or cannot use a debit card to rent a car. (Generally, you just need to show proof of your return flight, but policies will vary according to the provider.) 

      Pros: Friendly, helpful service and convenient check-in and drop-off processes.

      Cons: Some reviewers mention understaffing and longer wait times. 

      Phone: (610) 521-3700

      Hours: 24 hours

      Google Rating: 4.2 stars

      Kayak Rating: 7.9 (Good) 

      Click Here to See the Best Car Rental Deals at Enterprise

      The Vacationer Tip

      Before booking your Philadelphia rental car, browse our Best Websites to Book Cheap Car Rentals guide and our How to Find and Book Cheap Car Rentals tutorial. And, if you’re flying to Philadelphia, see our Best Websites to Book Cheap Flights guide.

      Comparing the 3 Best Car Rental Companies at Philadelphia International Airport

      Get a quick glimpse of these three best car rental companies, so you know which is best for you.

      Brand/Rental ProviderGoogle/Kayak RatingTypes of available vehiclesBudget or Luxury?
      Alamo 4.2/8/3Cars, SUVs, luxury vehicles, trucks, vansMid-Range
      Enterprise4.2/7.9Cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, luxury vehiclesLuxury
      National4.2/8.3Cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, luxury vehiclesMid-Range

      Tips for Renting a Car in Philadelphia 

      Decided that you’ll rent a car with one of our top three recommendations? After you’ve used one of our favorite websites for booking cheap car rental deals, all that’s left to do is pick up your rental and hit the road — and we have some tips for that part of the process, too. 

      How to pick up your rental car at Philadelphia International Airport

      There’s not a consolidated rental car facility at PHL. Instead, the airport is home to several different and separate car rental offices, all on the northwest side of the airport grounds. You’ll need to take a free shuttle bus to reach your rental car provider’s office.

      Go to the airport’s baggage claim area to find the shuttle bus pick-up point. Then, exit the airport and follow signs for “Zone 2.” Shuttle buses will come by every few minutes to pick up passengers and take them to their respective rental car provider offices.

      If you’ve arrived at the airport without reserving a car but want to do so, don’t just take the shuttle bus to your chosen office and get in line. The airport has provided phones in the baggage claim area for this purpose. Call the office of your choice using the designated phones and inquire about making a reservation.

      How to drop off your rental car at Philadelphia International Airport

      When it’s time to return your car, drive to the airport using Arrivals Road and follow signs for your particular rental car provider’s drop-off lot or garage. 

      Driving around Philadelphia International Airport

      As someone who lived in Philadelphia for a few years and flew out of Philadelphia International Airport many times, I’ll warn you: Driving around this airport is not a piece of cake. The traffic — particularly around rush hours — is heavy and going just a few miles can take an hour. Additionally, when driving onto airport grounds and to the parking garages or the drop-off zone, traffic moves quickly and there’s not a lot of room to slow down, read the signage, and figure out where you’re going. 

      Because of all of the above, you might want to time your rental car drop-off outside of rush hour.

      FAQ

      Where are the car rental companies located at PHL?

      There’s no central PHL rental car facility. Instead, a shuttle bus takes passengers from outside the baggage claim area (look for “Zone 2” when you exit the baggage claim area), to separate providers’ offices on airport property.

      Do I have to rent a car at the airport in Philadelphia?

      No. You can rent a car either at the airport or elsewhere in the city. You can also get around without renting a car, even if you’re not staying within the city. Philadelphia offers ample public transportation, including trains, buses, and subways. Train service is available to take you to other nearby towns and cities, as well as destinations like New York. You’ll also have no problem getting an Uber or Lyft.

      Do I need to pay tolls when I rent a car in Philadelphia?

      Suppose you need to pay tolls incurred in a rental car. In that case, you can either pay at the time of tolling (if that’s an option), pay using an E-Z Pass transponder either rented on your own or provided by the rental car provider, or have the toll passed on to the rental car provider via license plate tolling, after which the provider will charge you accordingly.

      When is the best time to drop off a rental car at PHL?

      Given the frequent congestion around the PHL airport, you may want to plan your rental car drop-off with a little more thought than you might otherwise. You don’t want to sit in traffic for an hour or more, especially when you’re on the way to the airport to catch a flight. If you’re in a time crunch, plan to avoid driving to the airport during rush hours (7–8 a.m. or 3–6 p.m.).

      Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post. 

      Holly Riddle Headshot

      By Holly Riddle

      Holly Riddle is a freelance travel, food, and lifestyle journalist who also dabbles in ghostwriting and fiction. Her work appears in publications ranging from Global Traveler to Golf Magazine, Mashed to Forbes, and Bloomberg. When she’s not writing, you can find her exploring the mountains near her home in the Adirondacks. Her favorite travel destinations include Chicago and New Orleans.