Smoking in a rental car could burn a hole in your next vacation or business trip. Thrifty and Dollar have joined the growing list of car rental companies which will fine you up to $250 if you or one of your passengers smokes inside one of their rented vehicles.
The fee covers what the Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group describes as “the special cleaning required to remove all traces of tobacco residue and smoky odor from a vehicle's interior.” All rental cars in Dollar and Thrifty fleets display a "No Smoking" sticker notifying renters of the potential charge for non-compliance.
"We think it is important to follow suit with the rest of the U.S. travel industry's non-smoking approach so that travelers always have a smoke-free means of transportation. We're confident this new policy will not only be widely-accepted by customers, but greatly appreciated as well," said Scott Thompson, the company’s president and CEO.
Dollar and Thrifty join Avis and Budget, which instituted a similar no smoking policy in 2009. However, Avis and Budget, which are owned by the same company, charge you a flat $250 fee. Avis and Budget instituted the no smoking policy after getting more requests for smoke-free vehicles than any other ‘special request’, according to Larry De Shon, an Avis Budget Group EVP.
Enterprise GP, the company which owns Enterprise, Alamo and National, restricts smoking at many locations, especially airports.
The policy at Hertz is that you can request a non-smoking vehicle when you make your reservation, but there’s no guarantee one will be available at pick-up time in the size you reserved.
The no smoking policy extends to hotels, as well. The Westin and Marriott chains have 100% smoke free policies indoors, and other chains are expanding the number of smoke-free floors.