In January ’09 I wrote a blog post suggesting using a rental car to get to airports outside of Chico. Since then Chico has gone from a one-horse town as far as airlines go, to a no-horse town which means 100% of the time people from this area must get to another airport, usually Sacramento, in order to fly anywhere.
Recently a friend brought to my attention the current low cost of one-way rentals with Budget between Chico and the Sacramento airport.
Prices are always subject to change, but over a two week period I checked in the first half of November rates one-way from Chico to the airport for a 24 hour rental for an economy to full size car ranged from $38-$48 on the low side to $44-$53 on the high side. Going the opposite direction (from the airport to Chico) rates ranged from $33-37 on the low side to $71-87 on the high side. The prices include tax but nothing optional such as rental company insurance, prepaid fuel, and so on. They also do not include possible discounts you may enjoy such as AAA, Costco, etc.
Why would you want to use a rental car to get to the airport?
If you’re flying round-trip and have a car you may not want to pay the cost of parking if you’re going to be gone for a long period or do not want your car sitting unattended. If you’re going to be gone for a couple of weeks, it would almost certainly be less expensive to use two one-way car rentals than to pay for parking.
Maybe you can get a ride from a friend in one direction but not in the other. Use a car rental for the other direction.
Perhaps you’re only flying one-way from (or to) Sacramento so you can’t leave a car there.
Another reason to love using a car rental is that you get to pick exactly when you want to leave. You’re not dependent on a friend’s schedule or the very limited and slow shuttle service from Chico that is the only other option.
Car rentals are priced in 24 hour periods so you could pick up your car the day before and drop it off within 24 hours of the time you picked up the car.
Note that you can also use Budget for one-way rentals to the three Bay Area airports (San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose) but the prices will be higher.
Budget has two locations in Chico: one on the Esplanade north of East Avenue and the other at Sears in the Chico Mall. Other Chico car rental companies also offer one-way rentals to and from Sacramento and Bay Area airports but their prices are generally higher.