READING, Pa. - Rental cars are in short supply after Thursday's huge hailstorm. Combined with the Memorial Day holiday weekend, it means lots of empty spaces at rent-a-car lots.
Outside the Reading Airport, Dennis Betham of Fleetwood is checking out his new car. It's not his to keep; it's just a rental.
"It's a car that came in from Maryland," he said.
His loaner came all the way from Maryland because rental car shops are running out of cars. This week's storm sent thousands looking for new wheels while their old cars await repairs.
"I called Enterprise yesterday morning, looking for a rental car, and they said they had about 400 people lined up in that particular location, and that Enterprise was looking for about two thousand cars to come in," said Bethem.
Chris Powelson wasn't lucky enough to find a rental. She had to shell out the money for an emergency windshield repair.
"We just needed to drive because there's actually not even any cars that you can get in the area to rent from the rent-a-car places," she said.
At the airport, Avis brought in cars from as far away as Scranton. Even though Hertz consolidated rentals through its Lancaster Avenue office, officials there say they remain open for business and are committed to helping as many people as possible.
Outside, Betham was lucky enough to find a rental, but his regular car may be a total loss.
"It's not drivable because my rear window's gone and it's full of water and glass," he said.
At this point, Betham doesn't know how long he'll be stuck with that rental car. He hasn't even been able to see an insurance adjuster yet, so rental car companies predict high demand for quite awhile.
Allentown, PA 18102