NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Thousands of stranded travelers are making a U-turn and hitting the road — creating record call volumes for rental car agencies.
“While the holiday season is always a busy one for Hertz, we are seeing a surge in demand for car rentals across the country and in Nashville due to severe weather impacts and widespread flight cancellations,” The Hertz Corporation said in a statement to News 2. “On Monday, our U.S. Contact Center experienced record call volume and we continue to see sustained demand for bookings, reservation modifications, and one-way rentals.”
Nashville resident Joel Sullivan said he flew to Pensacola, Florida on Christmas Day without any issues. His Southwest flight home, however, was canceled, so he immediately began looking for other options.
“I immediately got on our Avis rental car program and they had a car available. I thought, ‘how lucky is that’, because I’ve heard of several people having trouble getting cars, especially in Nashville, so I’m hoping that once we get to Nashville, this car will help somebody else get home,” said Sullivan.
Minnesota resident Jennifer Worthington said her Southwest flight home was canceled, rebooked, and canceled again. Now, she’s trying the rental car route.
“I’ve flown Southwest for years and never, ever, ever had an issue until this,” said Worthington. “This rental car was super cheap even for one-way… Cheaper than our three nights of hotel that we’ve been here. Had we known that, we would’ve just gotten a car right away, but it was an adventure!”
Southwest canceled more than 2,500 flights from arrival and departure boards on Wednesday, Dec. 28. According to FlightAware, over 91% of all canceled flights in the U.S. early Wednesday are from Southwest.