Grand Rapids Airport Car Rental

Gerald R. Ford International Airport Background…

The first airplane to ever land in Grand Rapids was a Wright biplane in 1911. Eight years later, the first airport was built. Although the first regularly schedule commercial flight service, which was from Grand Rapids to Detroit, didn’t start until 1926. The airport expanded the runway across a automobile road in 1948 and had to use gates to keep vehicles off of the runway when air traffic was being conducted. This prompted the need for a new airport, but it wouldn’t be finished until 1963.

The airport was initially named Kent County Airport. This changed to Kent County International Airport in 1977 when a U.S. Customs Office was opened in the main terminal. In 1999 the name was changed to what it is today, in honor of the 38th president of the United States. It is the second largest airport in Michigan, serving more than two million people each year.

Grand Rapids Airport

Gerald R. Ford International Airport Car Rentals…

There are six car rental companies located on-site: Avis, Budget, Alamo, National, Hertz, and Enterprise. A seventh, local rental agency known as Sign and Drive offers a free shuttle service to their location. To get the shuttle to arrive you have to call them from a courtesy phone inside the baggage claim area or outside using the number from the grand transportation board. The six on-site rental counters are all available within the baggage claim area.

The rental cars are located on the first floor of the garage that is situated right across from the terminal.  Also, a covering allows you to walk from the terminal to the car rental garage without getting wet – a pretty valuable commodity in Michigan.  You can pick your rental car up in the parking garage once you’ve finalized your rental agreement.  Simply drive out of the garage in the same area – on the terminal side.

Grand Rapids Airport to Grand Rapids Downtown Directions…

Getting to the downtown section of Grand Rapids would be a lot easier if they had place the entrance and exit (of the garage) a bit more conveniently, meaning on the opposite side of the airport. I won’t waste time by telling you how to get out of the airport, there is only one way out and I’m sure you’ll find it. Once you are out of the maze, take a right on Patterson and drive about 2 miles until you get to 28th St. SE, and take a right.  Drive about three-quarters of a mile and hop on I-96 West towards Grand Rapids.  Drive about 6 miles on I-96 and take a slight left onto I-196 all the way into the city.

M-6 & I-196 Interchange2

Grand Rapids Car Rental Return…

Probably the best way to get back to the airport is to reverse the directions above and travel back via I-196, then I-96.
Finding a gas station on your way back really shouldn’t be a problem. Should you come back the way you went in and take I-96 to the 28th St SE exit, you’ll find gas stations on either side of the off-ramp. You can even go west on 28th St until it intersects with Broadmoor Ave, turn left onto Broadmoor Ave, eventually take another left on 44th and run into even more gas stations while making your way into the airport. Add to both those methods a plethora of interstate exits before the exits you need to take and you have plenty of choices. You really shouldn’t breach your rental car’s full/full fuel policy unless you want to.

Other Car Rental Options at Gerald R. Ford International Airport…

Normally your options for rental cars would be a bit slim with only six major rental agencies to choose from, but keep in mind that this is the second largest airport in the state. The rental companies that have set up shop in and around Gerald R. Ford International Airport try to accommodate every request. Your best bet is to make reservations well ahead of time, especially if you want something like an SUV or off-road vehicle. You may want to think about grabbing a GPS system too, Grand Rapids is a pretty big place.
Source: Grand Rapids Airport

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