Patience and time management key
If you rent from Hertz in Tel Aviv’s Airport, please keep the following three things in mind:
1. When you check out the car and exit, you will go through a gate where you need to get a paper ticket of some sort. I think it was a parking entrance ticket. You then follow the signs to “exit,” and you will come to what appears to be a parking exit. The machine next to the gate may or may not take your ticket. Everything is in Hebrew so if you do not understand the language, you will be forced to press “help” and try to explain the situation to the voice from the machine. In my case, I explained I had just checked out a rental vehicle, and asked what I needed to do. There was no response. The gate just opened and I proceeded, not knowing if there was something else I needed to do. The Hertz clerk said nothing about this.
2. When you return the car and need to fill up with gas, get gas as early as you think you can without knocking a bar off the gas gauge. Gas stations are difficult to find and out-of-the way along the highway from Tel Aviv to Ben Gurion Airport Terminal 3 (where Hertz return is located regardless of which terminal you are departing from). There is a street that runs parallel to the airport highway (about a kilometer south) with several stations. Maybe I missed an obvious gas station somewhere on the way to the airport; but I got out of the highway, got gas at a station on the road parallel to the highway, returned to the highway, and saw no more gas stations. Nobody at Hertz explained the procedure for getting gas in Israel. I had no idea what to do and the nice lady at the counter (I was lucky there was an attendant on duty as it was a holiday) helped me with the credit card machine at the pump. Again, everything (to include the digital messages on the small screen at the pump) is in Hebrew so if you do not understand the language or don’t understand this procedure, your only option will be to go to a station with an attendant and hope he/she helps you. First, you have to enter the license plate number of the car. Then, you have to enter your drivers license number. Since I do not have an Israeli Driver’s License, I did not know what to do. With the attendant there I inputted my driver’s license number and it did not take it. She was nice enough to enter her personal driver’s license number and it worked. I proceeded to get gas and the credit card was charged accordingly.
3. When I got the vehicle, the Hertz agent explained that I need to ignore all signs to “rental car return” when it was time to return, and instead follow the signs to “Hertz Rent-a-car return.” That explanation helped, as the signs to Hertz are all over the airport roads and clear to understand. Bottom line: Hertz is in Terminal 3 and only Terminal 3. This terminal is the large international terminal, and is where all international arrivals come in, but where only some airlines go out. Most of the low-cost airlines (i.e. Ryanair, Easyjet) operate out of Terminal 1. Anyway, follow the signs to Hertz and ignore all the other signs. It will be tempting to take a different exit because there are many other signs that point to “Rental car return.” Ignore these. Follow the signs to Hertz. Even at the entrance to the Parking garage where the Hertz return is located, there is a “do not enter” sign (red circle with white dash) and some words in Hebrew. Ignore this sign. Follow the “Hertz” sign. Anyway, between the time I arrived to turn in the car and the time we arrived in Terminal 1 Departures, it took a full 45 minutes. It is important to consider this timing, since you already need at least two-three hours for the Tel Aviv airport departure “experience.” After you turn in the car, you have to walk to Terminal 3 Arrivals, wait for a shuttle bus that may or may not depart frequently (I had to wait 15 minutes), and then go to Terminal 1. The drive is frustratingly slow, with many speedbumps, curves, red lights, and at least two full stops in airport parking lots where people and all their bags have to get on and off. If you are running late for a flight, this is not the situation you want to be in.
In all, the rental is good; just make sure you arrive with plenty of time and patience.