The logistics of Porto airport rental car companies is slightly different than in most European airport, but rather similar to that of many large American Airports.
Meet a representative or go by shuttle bus to obtain your rental car
Since Porto Airport in its present form is fairly new, the layout could be done with a dedicated rent a car area for parking outside the terminal building and metro station area and terminal parking for private cars.
The dedicated area for the fleets of the car hire companies is exclusively for rental car companies in Porto Airport with offices in the airport terminal (arrival) and, as such, these on-site car hire firms, no doubt, are paying a hefty rate for being present in the airport.
This means that collecting your car from Avis, Budget, Guerin, Enterprise, Hertz, Europcar, Drive4Less or Keddy By Europcar always involves a short drive in a designated shuttle bus for rental car customers.
Shuttle bus in Porto Airport – © Photo: Porto-Airport-car-rental.com
The shuttle bus trip in Porto Airport, however, is extremely short and should not be seen as a hassle. You can actually see the car rental compound (RAC area) from the airport departure area on the first floor of the airport building, and the distance to the parking for rental cars is probably only about 200 meters. Never-the-less, the transport of car hire customers in Porto Airport is always done by shuttle bus after the paperwork has been processed at the counters in the arrival hall on ground floor.
See plan for Porto Airport. The rental cars compound is in the lower left side corner of the photo.
In theory, you can walk your family over to the rental car compound at Porto Airport and with the usual nice weather in Portugal in most parts of the year, frequent renters of cars sometimes chose to do so. It is more in line with airport policy, however, to take advantage of the shuttle bus service at Porto Airport.
Meet & Greet service – off-site rental car companies Porto Airport
A large part of car rental companies in Porto Airport operate on meet & greet basis.
This involves a representative from say Interrent, International Car, Goldcar, Bravacar, Rent&Go or another local car rental firm to meet the customer in the arrivals hall of the airport.
When the paperwork is done, the customer credit card has been charged (with remaining payments for the rental plus any fees due) and a security deposit for the hire car is blocked, the representative takes the customer to the car which in most cases is parked in the regular airport parking.
Please note that since spring 2015, Porto Airport has put a charge on the off-site car renters taking cars to customers in the airport area or operating in and out of the area with shuttle busses.
This has been introduced for all off-site car hire companies in mainland Portugal for conducting their business. And not surprisingly, the meet & greet companies renting cars out in Porto Airport, Faro Airport and Lisbon Airport have decided to charge their customers this additional cost of business. The charge is usually 15 euros, but may sometimes be less. Please check the amount in rental conditions before booking. It will also be possible to see size of the fee in the voucher.
Car hire advice – off site rental cars in Porto Airport
Sometimes, the representative from an off-site rental company in Porto Airport will ask the customers to take a shuttle bus to a nearby office – and in the case of the off-site rental car companies in Porto Airport, the distance to the off-site parking is, usually, considerably longer than for the on-site companies. You should in this case, calculate 5-15 minutes transport time. And remember that this is also the case when handing the car back.
To sum up the above, the cheaper car rental deals with off-site companies in Porto Airport (and they are usually the cheapest cars to rent), frequently makes pick-up and drop-off of the vehicle more time consuming.