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View Full Version : Update: Alamo/National 8 passenger vans (Siennas)


Tara
11-07-2009, 07:02 AM
Since there's been some discussion about the changes in categories for minivans, I wanted to post my experience...

I originally had an 8pax van reserved for my vacation at a hefty price of over $500 for 6 days. Just a few days before our trip I got a last-minute deal on a 7pax van for $249 plus tax ($320 total).

I can confirm that there is no longer an 8pax van aisle at all. I was expecting that, actually, given the website categories. However, was I was not expecting was to find 8pax vans in the 7pax aisle! There were Dodge Caravans, Toyota Siennas and VW Routons in the aisle. I picked a Routon because we wanted to try it out (after driving it, I'd have preferred the Sienna).

I would have been SERIOUSLY ticked off to hold on to that 8pax reservation and find I could have had the same thing for the price of a 7pax car!!!

So if you are holding an 8pax reservation, I strongly suggest you look for a deal on a 7pax van so you aren't overpaying for what is now the same category!

bavaria
11-07-2009, 07:17 AM
Just posting to say that the Routan doesn't 'belong' to us... It is a Chrysler based product made in America.

We have the smaller Touran (similar only in name) which is a basically stretched out Golf, and which may disappear now that the Golf combi is available (mini vans are not a big seller due to fuel cost and small streets and parking)

Back to your scheduled conversation about lots of people in big cars! :)

francie57
11-07-2009, 05:08 PM
We have rented the 8 passenger van on our last two trips and there was never an aisle for them specifically. They were parked with the other minivans. Since there is two different minivan classifications, you will be stopped at the gate and when they check your paperwork they won't let you take the 8 passenger van. We saw this happen last year when another family was picking out a van at the same time as us and they commented on the toyota vans being there when they had rented the lesser van. They decided to "try" a Toyota van and never made it out the parking garage. They had to unpack everything and get the other minivan. I think they have cut the size of their rental fleet enough that they just put the minivans in the same place.

mareed
11-08-2009, 11:43 AM
This is very interesting to me. I know we have seen a separate section at Alamo/National labeled for 8 passenger minivans in the past. At that time, I could understand being stopped at the check-out gate if you took an 8 passenger van, but only had a reservation for a 7 passenger one. Now that they no longer have a separate 8 passenger one, I assume that it would be as the OP mentioned and if you have a minivan reservation, you can take anyting that's is in that aisle. I know we've gotten a "free" upgrade (i.e. mid-size in the compact aisle) like that before.

I do wonder how they would handle any 8 passenger van reservations that were made prior to them doing away with that category. :confused3 Will they be contacting those people to let them know they can no longer guarantee an 8 passenger van?

We have an upcoming National 7 passenger van rental from Tampa. We have 6 passengers + luggage. Does anyone know how the 8 passenger Sienna compares luggage-wise to some of the other 7 passenger options that may be there? My thinking is that we'd be better off with one of the 7 passenger vans rather than the 8 passenger Sienna if it is in the standard van aisle as an option.

francie57
11-08-2009, 12:17 PM
The 8 passenger will hold more luggage. We were able to stand our 29" suitcases sideways and close the back no problem. We would never have had enough room with a 7 passenger - caravans just don't have the space in the back.

Tara
11-09-2009, 12:34 AM
We have rented the 8 passenger van on our last two trips and there was never an aisle for them specifically. They were parked with the other minivans. Since there is two different minivan classifications, you will be stopped at the gate and when they check your paperwork they won't let you take the 8 passenger van. We saw this happen last year when another family was picking out a van at the same time as us and they commented on the toyota vans being there when they had rented the lesser van. They decided to "try" a Toyota van and never made it out the parking garage. They had to unpack everything and get the other minivan. I think they have cut the size of their rental fleet enough that they just put the minivans in the same place.

This has not been our experience - there was definitely a separate aisle for 8pax vans the last time we rented.

jerter
11-13-2009, 04:51 AM
Is there any way to book a guaranteed 8 seater? I know there isn't a seperate category on the Alamo website but I can find them on sites such as usrentacar. Has anyone been able to book a guaranteed 8 seater recently?

Tara
11-13-2009, 06:57 AM
Is there any way to book a guaranteed 8 seater? I know there isn't a seperate category on the Alamo website but I can find them on sites such as usrentacar. Has anyone been able to book a guaranteed 8 seater recently?

Through Alamo or National, there's no way as far as I can tell. Since they are in the self-select aisles with the 7pax vans, I don't see how they'd hold an 8pax van back for you.

And be warned, if you are paying for an 8pax van through a 3rd-party renter, you are not only not guaranteed that size van, you are also overpaying because Alamo does not charge more for that size anymore.

Tara
11-13-2009, 06:59 AM
We have rented the 8 passenger van on our last two trips and there was never an aisle for them specifically. They were parked with the other minivans. Since there is two different minivan classifications, you will be stopped at the gate and when they check your paperwork they won't let you take the 8 passenger van. We saw this happen last year when another family was picking out a van at the same time as us and they commented on the toyota vans being there when they had rented the lesser van. They decided to "try" a Toyota van and never made it out the parking garage. They had to unpack everything and get the other minivan. I think they have cut the size of their rental fleet enough that they just put the minivans in the same place.

I just wanted to clarify something else about your post - there are NOT 2 minivan classifications anymore. That was the point of my original post, which perhaps you didn't read carefully. They didn't just put the 2 sizes in the same place. The 8pax van category is GONE. There used to be signs that read "8-passenger minivan" and "7-passenger minivan" previously, as recently as May. Now there is just a sign that reads "minivan" and you can find both 7 and 8pax vans in this row.

I know there are plenty of people holding reservations for an 8pax van at a higher price, so I posted this partially as a warning to them that there's no need to pay the 8pax price if a 7pax rental can be secured at a better price - the van selection will be the same.

jerter
11-13-2009, 07:29 AM
Thank for the reply Tara. Does anyone know if they are phasing out the 8 seaters now? What are my chances of turning up next May and finding one in the aisle?

Tara
11-13-2009, 07:31 AM
Thank for the reply Tara. Does anyone know if they are phasing out the 8 seaters now? What are my chances of turning up next May and finding one in the aisle?

I think that's a big unknown. I fully expected them to be gone when we got there and was pleasantly surprised to find them in the minivan aisle.