Our family flies a lot and we've picked up a lot of tips over the years. Today, I have info on booking your flights, things to pack at home before you head to the airport, how things work at the airport, in-flight tips and some info on navigating the Orlando International Airport.
I also have a quick tip to help make it easier for you to find things as you travel.
These are notes from this episode. There's much more info included in the audio so be sure to listen to the episode for a better explanation.
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Booking your flight
- Try to avoid connections (allow about 90 minutes between flights if layovers are required)
- Pay for assigned seats
- Consider booking an aisle and window seat
- Factor in all costs when comparing prices (luggage, assigned seats)
- Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday are often the cheapest days to fly
- Use Hopper or bing.com/travel to research best times to buy and what price to expect to pay
Before you leave for the airport
- You will be allowed a carry on and personal bag (purse, backpack)
- Spread things evenly between checked bags
- Make sure checked bags are marked so they can be found easily
- Verify that checked bags fall within the weight limit and that you know the charges per bag
- For any liquids that you want to carry on, make sure they are
3 ounces or smaller and fit into a quart-sized Ziploc bag
- Check in online and print boarding passes
- Dress in layers, avoid jewelry and belts if possible, wear slip-on shoes
- Pack things in a carry-on bag for kids to do - new toys, electronics
- Consider packing medicine in your carry-on bag such as Sudafed and children's Dramamine
- Can pack food and drinks in checked bags - use Ziplocs in case there's a leak
- Pack ear buds or headphones and external battery charger
At the airport
- Allow plenty of time
- If checking bags, go to airline desk to check them (will need ID and boarding pass)
- If finished checking bags or only have carry ons, proceed to the security checkpoint with boarding passes and ID
- Go through security - take shoes off, place laptops in their own bin, take off all jewelry and take quart-sized bag of liquids out and proceed through security (explain to kids how this will work)
- Gather belongings, head to a nearby bench to reassemble items, can put ID away
- Proceed to gate
- You can buy drinks, snacks and even food from restaurants to take on the plane
- Most flights start boarding about 30 minutes before departure. Early boarding is available for families; if you need the extra time, board early. Otherwise, I recommend waiting to board to allow kids to move around as much as possible
- Your personal bags will go under the seat in front of you, carry ons go in overhead compartments usually
- Trays stay up on take off and landing, electronics can now be used during the whole flight in airplane mode
- Take off and landing are when ears will hurt so have little ones suck on a bottle, chew gum, etc.
- Many flights now have wifi but often don't allow streaming of things like Netflix or Hulu because it takes too much bandwidth
- Temps often get cold in flight so having a jacket or sweater for everyone to wear will come in handy
- Keep your seat belt on at all times and only remove it when the seat belt sign is turned off and you need to get up
- Drinks and snacks are usually served in flight at no extra cost and international flights often include alcohol
- Surprises are hard to keep on Orlando flights
- Plane will pull up to a gate and everybody will get their carry on bags and exit toward the baggage claim area
- Flying into Orlando: will fly into a satellite, take the tram to the main terminal. if you're using Magical Express and allowing them to get your bags, go directly to Magical Express on level B1 and use your MagicBand to check in
- If getting your own bags, go to baggage claim and then proceed to Magical Express on level B1 or to your form of transportation (rental car, private car, etc.)
- On departure day, take checked bags to airline check-in desk at your Disney resort (this works for anybody flying a participating airline - not just those using magical express)
- Participating airlines include AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, Northwest Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Air Lines, and US Airways
- Take carry ons to luggage services at resort
- Magical Express buses will pick you up 3 hours before your flight time (more for international flights) - don't be late
- Orlando airport security lines are often very long
- There are food court and sitting areas after security
Quick tip of the day
Take pics of things like your parking spot, luggage or your child each day of your trip to make them easier to find later.
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Any other flying tips you'd add? Or questions about any of the tips I had? Feel free to leave them in the comments.