Today Melinda shares with us her recent experience at Orlando Airport. A few months back, Melinda wrapped up a blog series on the Calgary International Airport (YYC), United YYC-IAH flight and the Houston Airport, as well as her blog on the United E145 IAH-LFT Express flight. Melinda is a self-described epitome of the reality side of ‘expectation vs reality’ in business travel. You’ll find her taking steerage class cabins to exotic locales like Elliot Lake, ON and Elko, NV, chasing her company’s aerial survey aircraft! You can check out more about Melinda on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter @. In this blog, Melinda and some colleagues made it through Orlando Airport, so she wrote up a review of her experience.
Here’s Melinda for her Orlando Airport Review
I always find arriving at an airport feels a bit like a funnel; somehow, intuitively, everyone deplanes and follows signs, follows each other, follows a flow, to find baggage claim. The funnel feeling likely has more to do with the single corridor that guides you swiftly past the TSA checkpoint, backed up with much slower moving passengers going the opposite direction. (A crowd certainly does move a lot faster when we all get to keep our shoes on.) On this trip, both my coworker and I took note of the massive throng of would-be passengers in the queue, and tucked that knowledge away for our eventual departure. Disneyworld was obvious in the overwhelmingly family crowd.
Once past security, everything in the expansive terminals is clearly marked. The baggage claim carousel was longer than those at most airports, so one didn’t feel so pressed by a crowd. Also, the staff was friendly and helpful to offer assistance, especially if you looked a little confused. Exiting Orlando Airport was easy.
Getting back in for our departure…was actually pretty easy too! Like most major airports, everything on the drive in was well marked so that you have enough time to change lanes if needed. There is also a circular route around the terminal so that if you miss your turn, you simply go around until it comes again. Our rental company had a shuttle right to the ticketing door, where we even found a curbside check-in (unfortunately for domestic only). Ticketing is as expansive as baggage claim, with a low roof but in a space that goes on for what looks like miles – so be sure you come in at the right door/terminal or you’ll be walking! It seemed like all the airport’s stanchions were at security, so folks somewhat congregated in a loose queue where needed, but we all made it through OK. I definitely ducked into the Magic of Disney shop, where I was disappointed to find no Planes merchandise – I know it’s not a recent movie anymore, but we ARE at the airport! (My wallet was thankful.)
Orlando makes very short work of dividing people into smaller more manageable groups – starting with offering the “choice” of Terminal A or Terminal B (north or south side of the building). Then you must chose the TSA checkpoint for your gate, splitting the crowd in half again. A quick monorail hop and you’re split again by Terminal wing, and then each gate. While efficient, this left rather minimal options for exploring and is probably a missed revenue opportunity for the airport! I was herded through a very busy TSA checkpoint (this airport knows how to move families, the queue of strollers was as speedy as any other line) and down to Airside 3 where everyone is greeted with an airy vaulted skylight ceiling. There is no feeling of congestion here.
There are just enough shops so you don’t feel lacking for being trapped (lest you brave TSA again) – healthy and fast food, souvenirs, jewelry, news, even an Xpress Spa. Lots of seating and an open feeling carries down the halls thanks to continued skylights. You may be on your way out of sunny Florida, but Orlando Airport ensures you still feel on vacation until the last minute!