Honolulu Hawaii Car Rental

Honolulu International Airport Background…

Honolulu International Airport was initially named John Rodgers Airport, after a World War I naval officer, when it was opened in 1927. John Rodgers Airport was the first fully functional airport in Hawaii, which had previously been limited to small airstrips and fields.

The airport renamed the primary means of commercial airline transportation to Hawaii until the U.S. military took the airport over and grounded all flights to and from the island after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The airport was renamed Naval Air Station Honolulu throughout the duration of World War II. The Navy expanded the airport during its occupation by adding a control tower and terminal. In 1946, the airport was handed back to Hawaii and commercial flights to and from Hawaii began anew.

In 1947 the airport was officially renamed Honolulu Airport and received the “International” title four years later. In 1950 Honolulu International was named the third busiest airport in the United States and had the longest runway in the world in 1953, spanning nearly four thousand meters. All of these feats were largely due to the fact that Honolulu International was a major stop for most transpacific flights, which changed with the advent of the ultra-long range airlines. Now the airport serves roughly twenty million passengers a year, most of whom are either Hawaiian tourists or people moving about through Hawaiian Airlines, whose major hub is located at Honolulu International.

Honolulu, HNL runway 8R

Honolulu International Car Rentals…

Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, and National are the six car companies you’ll find on airport grounds. There are four more off-airport options to choose from as well, including A-1, Alamo, Advantage, and Thrifty. All on-airport car rental companies have registration areas located in the Baggage Claim area, and all off-airport rental agencies offer free shuttles to their facilities that can be boarded from designated locations just outside the Baggage Claim area.  Cars are parked right in front of the terminal, so there’s no need of a shuttle to get to your vehicle.  Simply locate your car rental company and walk a hundred meters or so to your vehicle.

After picking up your rental car, you either want to take Aolele Street or Rodgers Boulevard to Highway 92. You’ll want to head East on Highway 92, possibly merging onto Interstate H-1 East, in order to head into downtown Honolulu. West will take you to various smaller towns located throughout the island and eventually lead you to a dead-end at one of the various parks and forest reserves located throughout the western portion of the island.

Also, to reach the two military airports on the island, you have to start out going west on Interstate H-1. From there, either take Interstate H-2 if you’re trying to get to Wheeler Army Air Field or take Interstate H-3 to get to Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay.

Gas Stations Near the Airport & Rental Car Return.....

If you’re looking for the closest hotels or gas stations, you’ll want to avoid the highways and interstates altogether. The closest locations are found easiest by going east on Aolele St until you run into them or by turning right from Aolele St onto Ualena Street. Gas stations include a Chevron and a Shell, which are both located near the Pacific Marina Inn.   There is also a 76 Station right at the entrance into the rental car parking area.  It might be a little more expensive, given its proximity to the rental car offices, but it sure is convenient.

Returning your rental car to the Honolulu couldn’t be easier.  Watch for overhead yellow signs once you get to the airport area and follow the directions.  The individual rental car companies’ office building will be clearly marked.

rental car counter, honolulu international airport

Off-Airport Car Rental Locations.....

Alamo, Thrifty, A-1 and Advantage Car Rental Companies are situated on Nimitz Highway, just a mile or so from the front of the terminal.  Of course, if you're renting from one of these off-airport locations, you will receive a shuttle to and from the airport.  But you should remember the address of the rental car company that you picked up your vehicle from.  This will make it much easier to return the car.  When you decide to refuel, there is a Chevron Station on the corner of Nimitz Highway to make it easy on you.

Nimitz Highway, This is where you'll find off-airport car rental locations

Other Airport Amenities…

Honolulu International Airport, like most moderately busy airport destinations, offers everything from fast food to fine dining. You can find easy access to a wide variety of the former at the Food Court, and various establishments of the latter are located throughout the airport. For those looking for a specific cuisine or restaurant, there are clearly designated directories scattered throughout the airport. If you’re craving it, Honolulu International likely has it.

Also, for those looking to grab last minute vacation gifts or simply wish to do a little shopping, there are various department stores that offer everything imaginable. Whether you’re looking for some Coach glasses or a cheap two dollar pair, Honolulu International has you covered.

Car Rental Options at Honolulu International…

If you’re used to bigger airports located throughout the continental United States or the rest of the world, then your options are probably going to feel a bit limited at Honolulu. Sure you can get an SUV, off road vehicles, and your typical four-door sedans, but you’ll definitely want to call ahead and reserve your vehicle as quickly as possible. Most of the car rental companies, which there are only ten to choose from, have limited amounts of vehicles and are first come first serve. 

Source: Honolulu Airport

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