I've been meaning to do this for ages! Since Alicante Airport is my home airport, I thought it would be handy to walk you through vehicle return at the airport, now that the whopping new terminal is open. So, whilst returning my groovy Nissan Juke this Sunday, here's how it works!
This information is valid for the official on-airport car hire companies like Hertz, Europcar, Avis, Goldcar, Centauro, RecordGo etc. If your car was collected from one of the off-airport car hire companies at Alicante Airport (Dickmann's or Sol-Mar), this won't work for you.
1 : Drive past the old terminal building
back to the airport
As you come off the main road, follow the signs for "RENT A CAR" and turn left, you'll be driving past the old Alicante Airport terminal building which is now boarded up (until AENA can decide what to do with it! in another 30 years time).
2 : It's in the middle of the road....
The centre lane (above) takes you down a slope towards the airport car parking and the location of the on-airport car hire companies at Alicante Airport. The right-hand lane is for buses and taxis only, the left-hand one takes you back to the roundabout (so you can try again and again and again..)
After you've taken the middle lane at this point, the road widens to two lanes, despite the signage, I would recommend you stay left.
3 : Ignore the signs for public car park, seriously : don't go there!
Entrance to public car park
As you go down the slope, the road bends sharply to the left. Immediately after the bend, you'll see the sign above. The first entrance is for the AENA car park. If you're driving a car hire vehicle from an on-airport company like Goldcar, Hertz, Avis, Advantage, AurigaCrown or RecordGo, you should ignore this and proceed towards the end of the road. If you park your car in the car park you will not be able to return it to the car hire company and you will pay a penalty fee when they finally locate it. So avoid the parking, did I spell that out clearly enough??
4: Entrance to the on-airport car hire parking lot.
down to car hire return
At the end of the road, you'll see the turning (above) into the on-airport car hire vehicle pound at Alicante. There are two lanes here, you'll notice they are barriered. A full list of all the car hire companies inside is shown (also above). Please remember Advantage Rentacar is part of Hertz, so if you are in a car rental vehicle from Advantage Rentacar, you should follow the signs to the Hertz car hire offices, located on the first floor.
5: Drive into the slipway for on-airport car hire at Alicante Airport
6 : Press the red button
push the red button
7 : Know where you're going!
Despite it's appearance, this machine won't give you a paking entry ticket. It reads your car hire vehicle's number plate. Just press the red button to open the gate. Now would be a good time to check which floor your Alicante car hire company is located on. Remember, you're entering at the bottom. From the top the companies are as follows
(Ok, you can lay on your side to see this one!)
In this case, I was returning the car to Advantage Rentacar, who are located on level 1, so it's up one floor to the Hertz Rentacar car parking area. If your car hire is from Goldcar Alicante, then you need to stay on the ground floor of the parking area.
8 : Up the ramp to the correct floor
ramps to upper levels
9 : Return the hire car as instucted
(Since this varies according to each firm I won't spell out the proceedure. Locate the office, park the car nearby, LOCK IT and hand the keys to a member of staff - preferrably inside the car hire company offices. If someone approaches you in this with a clipboard and asks for the keys, verify their identity before you hand over the car keys ... it wouldn't be the first time that someone steals your car hire vehicle using this tried and trusted method.
10 : Take the elevator to the 4th floor of the parking lot.
Even if you've returned your car hire vehicle to Goldcar (who are on the ground floor of the airport), I'd recommend you find the lift ("elevator") and take it UPSTAIRS to the 4th floor of the airport. Okay, Okay I can't force you to do this but if you exit the parking at ground floor level you'll have to negotiate 4 lanes of traffic, including some ramps while balancing your baggage etc...trust me : this is my home airport.
Taking the upper tunnels takes you straight into the check-in/departures floor. Like I said, I know things.
11 : Hit the lobby
the lobby area
Ad you come out of the lifts, head into the "lobby" - frankly I have no idea what this space is supposed to be for. I suspect the architects who designed the place have no idea either. It's huge, beautifully lit with natural daylight and apart from a couple of vending machines, it appears to serve no purpose at all. Hell, you could house a supermarket in this space it's so big!
This area also has a flight departures/arrivals information screen (showing the desks for check-in) and has one the few working toilets you'll see until you get past airport security so, particularly if you're travelling with kids, this might be time to take advantage... In the photo above, you'll see the entrance to the tunnel that leads into the airport terminal building.
12 : Cross the bridge into the airport terminal building
bridge into the airport
Yes, you've spotted the dodgy rubber flooring! In a staggeringly beautiful and well-designed airport (we'll skip the €629 m price tag), for some reason these bridges somehow got left behind. Where elsewhere we have marble floors, some idiot decided to put the old stuuded rubber matting down.
It's noisy, hot (it's not air-conditioned) it's already peeling away and it's hard to push heavy bags accross ... definitely something for the airport to "review" in the future. Anyway, full-speed straight ahead and at the end are some glass doors taking us into cool air-conditioned calm of the new terminal building.
Whilst you're crossing the bridge, have a peek out the windows. The scale of the place is pretty amazing.
13 : Escalators, Moving Ramp or Lift/Elevator Sir?
up to departures
Straight ahead of you, when you leave the tunnel are the escalators. These go up into the left-hand side of the departures hall where airport security screening is located. If you need to check-in baggage, better to use the moving ramp to your right (next picture down). In the picture above, you'll also see the doors to 2 large lifts ("elevators") that go up to departures as well. No expense spared in this bit of the project, evidently.
14 : Moving ramp to check-in
Moving ramp to check-in
Like I said before, if you're going to check-in baggage, take the moving ramp to your right - it leads to the check-in desks area. I will do a separate article on check-in and what's airside at the airport on another occasion.
Now I know why I never did this before .. it take's ages!! Anyway, hope you found it useful..