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Service rents out traveler's car while they're away

PHOENIX -- A new service is helping travelers pay for their vacation while they're away.

Instead of letting their car sit in the airport parking lot racking up charges for a week, a company called Flight Car will rent the car to a visitor.

"It's fully insured up to $1 million dollars," said Rujul Zaparde, Flight Car's 19-year-old CEO. "We pick you up and drop you off curbside at the airport in a town car service, which is like a limo. We'll vacuum and wash your car, regardless of whether it gets rented or not, and the parking is always free."

Owners can make $20 to $40 per car by allowing Flight Car to rent their vehicle.

The vehicles must be newer than 2001, in good condition, and have 150,000 miles or less. The travelers must be willing to make their cars available to Flight Car for a minimum of seven days.

The company will, in turn, rent the cars out to customers at as much as 50 percent less than what agencies like Hertz and Avis charge for a comparable rental.

The service is available only in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Boston right now. There are plans to expand, but no word on when the company might set up shop at Sky Harbor.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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