January 10, 2011 - Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc. which operates, the Dollar and Thrifty rental car fleets, has implemented a strict no smoking policy in all of its vehicles. Smoking is now forbidden in any Dollar or Thrifty rental cars. Both rental fleets are now 100% smoke-free as a result of Dollar Thrifty’s new policy prohibiting smoking by renters at all U.S. corporate stores and participating franchise locations. The rental car chain has announced that its entire fleet is going smoke free as of January 4, 2011.
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September 4, 2009 - Avis Rent A Car and Budget Rent A Car - a 100% smoke-free fleet..
Renters who do not comply with the new policy and return vehicles after smoking may face a charge of up to $250. Thompson said the charge is necessary to cover the special cleaning required to remove all traces of tobacco residue and smoky odor from a vehicle’s interior. The charge is similar to what many hotel chains now levy when a visitor is found to have lit up in a non-smoking room.
Rental cars that have been smoked in will be immediately grounded upon inspection and removed for a thorough detailing before being returned for customer use. All rental cars in Dollar and Thrifty fleets display a “No Smoking” sticker notifying renters of the potential charge for noncompliance.
“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,” Scott Thompson, Dollar Thrifty President and CEO said.
It remains to be seen whether the policy will be copied by other rent-a-car firms, though considering the growing pressure to limit the use of tobacco it may well be the start of a trend.
References: Dollar, Thrifty Ban Smoking in Rental Cars by Joseph Szczesny, thedetroitbureau.com, 1/7/2011; Used Dollar Thrifty Rental Cars Will Be Smoke Free by Keith Griffin, About.com Guide, 1/5/2011.