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MCO Crowds...Get There Early

DISR

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Just a heads up...MCO is really, really mobbed...at least when I was there.

I am used to showing up at the airport 1 hour prior to my flight and not having any issues. I have Clear/TSA Pre-check and any other timesavers I can get. Last Saturday, the line for Southwest check in stretched as far as I could see past the other airline check in counters. It was by far the worst line I have ever seen at an airport. Fortunately I was A-list and able to use that dedicated check-in (I didn't even know it existed...found it by accident). This was around 8:45 am on Saturday, so take my observations for what they are worth.

Just wanted to share this heads up for those who are used to being able to cut things close. Summer travel is back, but staffing is not.

On the arrival end, I have never seen lines at the rental car counters like I saw upon arrival. If you can sign up for a loyalty program that lets you skip the counter, it would be well worth your time.

On the plus side, TSA seemed to be on top of things. Waits (even for non-Pre-Check) seemed short.
 

DisneyJoe

Well-Known Member
Southwest has been having MAJOR MAJOR issues over the last few weeks in all airports. many hundreds of flights cancelled, thousands more delayed.

There are nationwide issues with rental cars, even in Alaska and Hawaii. Some rental agencies sold large portions of their fleets last year to stay solvent when facing money issues, now they are having trouble restocking.
 

DISR

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Southwest has been having MAJOR MAJOR issues over the last few weeks in all airports. many hundreds of flights cancelled, thousands more delayed.

There are nationwide issues with rental cars, even in Alaska and Hawaii. Some rental agencies sold large portions of their fleets last year to stay solvent when facing money issues, now they are having trouble restocking.
I know Southwest has had computer and flight cancellation issues, but that did not seem to be the problem Sat. I think it was pure volume vs capacity. All the systems seemed to be working fine and the vast majority of flights were running as scheduled. Maybe there were extra travelers from previously cancelled flights, but there was no way to tell that.

I am doing extensive travel this summer for work and leisure. I am very familiar with the rental car fleet limitations. I believe Orlando is one of the best positioned locations for car rentals. I usually rent with National, and the garage was absolutely packed with inventory. Other locations have been really limited when I booked or upon arrival.

I'm sure some of the gridlock at MCO is the novice traveler...it probably gets more than its fair share of 1st-time or very infrequent flyers. That always creates delays as hundreds of people in line are figuring out travel processes they are unfamiliar with.
 

imahistorygeek

Well-Known Member
Same experience at 4:30 am on a Tuesday leaving out of MCO. The lines for Delta bag drop off where huge and security was pretty backed up. We've never seen it like this before.
 

Lilofan

Well-Known Member
Same experience at 4:30 am on a Tuesday leaving out of MCO. The lines for Delta bag drop off where huge and security was pretty backed up. We've never seen it like this before.
I was there also at MCO during the day. Busy but half the food court restaurants are still closed? And $3 plus for a cup of coffee at MCO?, no thanks. I drank the complimentary coffee on my United flight.
 

danv3

Well-Known Member
I am used to showing up at the airport 1 hour prior to my flight and not having any issues.
You have amazing risk tolerance. I'm getting anxious just imagining myself arriving to an airport that close to flight time! 😅

Biggest issue I found driving to MCO last week was car traffic outside. It's a confusing airport to begin with, but add in so many tourists and it's a nightmare. That alone got me to the door 15+ minutes later than I expected.
 

Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
Has anybody been through MCO more recently? Is it still super-crowded?

We get our boarding passes online, travel carryon-only, and have TSA Precheck. If we only have to pass through expedited security and can then head straight to our gate, is there any need to arrive at MCO earlier than, say, 2 hours before scheduled departure (with the boarding process starting about 30 minutes before that)?
 

DISR

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Has anybody been through MCO more recently? Is it still super-crowded?

We get our boarding passes online, travel carryon-only, and have TSA Precheck. If we only have to pass through expedited security and can then head straight to our gate, is there any need to arrive at MCO earlier than, say, 2 hours before scheduled departure (with the boarding process starting about 30 minutes before that)?
Even as crowded as the airport was during my trip, security to the gate was probably 10 minutes with CLEAR/TSA-pre-check. Online check-in and no checked bags should get you there in plenty of time. 2 hours would be too much time for me, but everyone has their own risk threshhold with being on time.
 

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