Maybe I spend too much time at the Orlando airport watching the people rush to the gates and baggage claim, but I would like to suggest some tips to have a better experience while going through the airport and getting on the plane to Walt Disney World.
1. Note where you park your car at the airport. This sounds easy enough, but every time I am at the airport I see people wandering around looking for their car.
2. When you are packing your suitcase be sure to take any old tags off the luggage. Just to be sure your luggage makes it to you, put a luggage tag on the top and side handles. I also put a luggage tag inside my suitcase. You should put your cell phone number on the tag so the airline can reach you while you’re traveling. For good measure I also put a copy of my itinerary on top of the clothes in the suitcase. That way they have all the details of my travel and can reunite me easily with my suitcase if it is lost or delayed.
3. Put something on your luggage that will identify it from all the other black suitcases out there. I have a bandanna on mine so I can spot it quickly on the baggage carousel.
4. Get to the airport early so the luggage has enough time to be loaded onto the plane. Check with the airline with the cutoff time to check your luggage. Make sure you check the destination on the airline tag is correct.
5. Put an outfit or two in each suitcase for everyone. That way if one suitcase is delayed you still have some clothing for the next day. Don’t put your prescriptions in the suitcase. If you are taking Disney’s Magical Express have a carry on bag that has the clothes you will need for the first twenty hours. Items like your bathing suits, sunscreen, toothbrush and toothpaste. If you are arriving later in the evening pack your pajamas in that bag.
6. When you get to the TSA security checkpoint at the airport be prepared. If you have young children at home you might want to practice so they aren’t scared. Be sure to have your boarding passes and identification ready. You might want to visit the TSA website to learn about what you can take on the plane.
7. When the time finally comes for you to board the plane be sure you don’t approach the gate until your zone is called. There is always a large crowd of people that rush the gate and make it harder for you to get through and board the plane.
8. When the time finally comes for you to board the plane make sure everyone is holding their own boarding pass when they get to the gate agent.
9. Now that you are on the plane this is a good time to remind everyone to pack their patience and their manners. You don’t own the overhead compartment above your seat so you may find you need to use the bin in front or behind your row. You shouldn’t put your luggage in the first bin you find if you are in the back of the plane. If your luggage is heavy or bulky don’t expect someone to put it up or take it down for you. Checking your luggage is quick and easy, check your airline for the cost. It makes it much easier to get off the plane if you have checked your luggage. Just remember if you have two carry on items one goes under the seat in front of you. That way everyone can share the overhead space.
10. Some of my personal pet peeves on a plane: if you have to get out of your row to use the bathroom don’t use my seat back as a lever to get up. Also pay attention to the seat belt sign!! If the sign is on that means you need to stay in your seat, it doesn’t mean you can get up to get your laptop out of the overhead bin or take a walk down the aisle. If they are starting the beverage service try to avoid using the bathroom so that the flight attendant doesn’t have to move the beverage cart to let you pass them. I have seen people not get served a beverage because the flight attendant ran out of time because they had to keep moving the beverage cart.
11. Don’t let your kids wander down the aisle of the plane if you aren’t behind them. The airplane isn’t a playground. You should pack a small bag with toys, coloring books, etc. to keep the children entertained. If they are going to watch videos be sure to bring earplugs. Not everyone wants to watch Frozen. Also don’t take your shoes off and wander up and down the aisles and use the bathroom barefoot. That is just nasty.
12. If you were unable to get your family seated together it is okay to ask the other people in your row if they wouldn’t mind moving to another seat. Just be aware they may say no to your request. You will have a better chance if you are changing an aisle seat for an aisle, a window seat for a window. Don’t resort to saying, I will just leave my child here and you can babysit them. You don’t know the reason the person doesn’t want to move. They shouldn’t have to explain their reasons. You can also check with the gate agent before boarding to see if they can help with new seats.
13. Once you arrive at the airport don’t take too long getting to baggage claim. You should try to get there before the luggage starts coming around. That way if someone else grabs your bag you can correct the mistake before they leave the airport. If you are taking Disney’s Magical Express you don’t need to worry about grabbing your luggage. Disney will take of it for you. Be sure to check the name on the airline tag once you grab the bag to make sure you have your own luggage.
If you pack your patience and your manners you will have an enjoyable time when flying. I love exploring new airports, seeing new cities, meeting new people. It doesn’t have to be hard to navigate the airport and airplane. Relax, you are on vacation!
“Til next time, See you in the parks!