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Orlando, BA, American or Air Canada(25 Posts)
Thanks everyone so much for all your help.
New favourite thins please come back after your hols and let me know how the travel was. Lots of luck and have a super time.
I fly to Florida about twice a year and always fly LHR to Tampa with United. The route usually goes via New York (Newark) and is fairly hassle free.
Would it not be cheaper and easier to fly charter with someone like Monarch?
Having driven both Miami to Orlando, and London to Blackpool I can assure you that it's a completely different, easy, fast, stress free, enjoyable drive. It gives you a chance to see the Everglades, and/or take the coast road and spend a couple of hours on the beach.
The price is also because BA have a monopoly on that route.
Chicago is better than Miami but Chicago airport (do google this) is huge; it may well be that you will arrive into one terminal and have to depart from a completely separate one (therefore having to go through security again). All this has to be borne in mind when working out how much time is required between the flight from the UK landing and the onward flight down to Orlando. I would allow a window of 3 hours and no less between the first and second flights; better to be a bit early and at the gate than to potentially miss it. Am not suggesting you avoid Chicago but same day internal transfers like this does take up lots of time.
Driving distances can be easily underestimated. Miami to Orlando driving distance is just shy of driving from London to Blackpool!.
We're flying AA to Tampa via Chicago next month - I can let you know better then! Have been through Chicago before, but can't remember much about it so it can't be too bad! We always fly with whoever is cheapest - I don't see it as a big thing - get on a plane, eat, sleep, get off - I would recommend a minimum of 2 hr layover though.
Have you considered flying to Miami and driving to Orlando - it's a really easy drive. Also, there's some very cheap flights from Norweigan Air from London Gatwick to Fort Lauderdale direct - would be just over £1400 for 2 adults and 2 children next Feb (just been looking!)
Chicago much better IMO.
Thanks for all your advice. The other choice we have is to go via Chicago, does anyone know if this is better than Miami? I've looked at Tampa and its the same price almost as Orlando direct.
I would recomend BA to tampa and drive to Orlando only takes 50-60 mins.
I paid the premium too and upgraded to extra room seats and it was about £120 for three of us one way. Also I noticed there were lots of other families on our flight doing this to get to Disney- luggage was transferred straight to connecting flight etc
We went with United when we travelled last Easter. We flew from Edinburgh so no direct flights and transferred at Newark.
The flight had been delayed due to bad weather so we weren't sure if we would make our connecting flight, but amazingly we did. There was a huge queue at immigration - I have a US passport so we managed to skip that, but also another Scottish family were directed to our US queue so they didn't miss their flight.
I really liked United ( disclaimer we normally fly Ryanair/Easyjet). We each had screens with all the latest films and some games to play, the hostesses were really nice ( not so much on the internal flight), they came by every hour or so with water and I thought the food was pretty good. But then we're easily pleased !
I wish we had paid the extra at the time of booking for extra leg room or better seats - it was ridiculously cheap if we had done it then, but expensive if you wanted to do it nearer the time. Oh and also they changed one of our flights and didn't automatically reassign us seats together, so luckily I had been on the website and managed to get us together.
No, not Miami!!!. That is an exercise in frustration; the immigration lines there can be massive on occasion. That airport in particular has received a lot of federal cutbacks and there are not so many immigration staff working in the booths.
The first time I went there on holiday (we, were staying there so not transferring) we were in line just under 2 hours and that was after a bloody long walk from another terminal to arrive into a packed hall of humanity. I think there must have been 1000 plus people in that hall that evening.
Honestly, look at another airport rather than Miami; Tampa is a lot quicker to go through (BA are the only carrier that flies there) and also a lot closer to Orlando to boot. Its about a 60-90 minute drive from there into the Orlando area.
Going through immigration and passport control can be somewhat problematic as it's an airport which serves a city with a high immigrant community. I have waited 4 hours plus to process through Miami (although I've also done it quite quickly too). On that routing, other services on the same day might well fly via Dallas which I think is a lot more reliable - it's well worth checking/calling BA direct.
Thanks for so much help, this is really valuable advice.
The cheapest flight with BA is via Miami, can I ask what you think of stopping in Miami?
Having flown with Air Canada I would never recommend them - no provision for children, crappy food and rude stewarding staff on our Glasgow-Vancouver flight.
AA was much better, I've never gone long haul with BA.
Sorry tired :/
We we're in the same position and found it ok saved loads of cash too. We went via Washington out and were supposed to fly out via Newark on the way home and that was changed to Dallas due to the hurricane.
We fly with American Airlines which was great.
And YY to avoiding NYC as a transit point. Charlotte is okay as is Dallas. I'd also avoid Miami.
My husband is American and from our experience I would always fly BA where possible. Air canada and American don't come close in terms of service, entertainment, space. Make sure it is definitely a BA flight and not American as other posters have pointed out.
American Airlines were code sharing with BA and did 3/4 legs of our honeymoon. The service was poor and the hostesses were unfriendly, but the seats were okay and the food was fine. IFE was a bit crap. I would always fly BA for preference if I possibly can and the cost differential isn't too high. Air Canada used to be nice but I think standards have dipped over the last few years. We fly to the States and Canada usually once or twice a year and in order of preference my carriers are:
I actively avoid Norwegian Air because they aren't linked in with any other airlines so any delay is serious; Delta as they've lost our bags 3 times out of 4; Kuwait Air on cleanliness and comfort grounds and Air Transat.
BA definitely your best bet OP.
I would agree with Sam100 here about time needed to clear US immigration and customs upon initial point of arrival into the US.
I would personally allow around 3 hours between your initial flight from the UK landing and the flight out from that US airport to Orlando. It may seem like a long time but the clock will start ticking on you as soon as the wheels touchdown on the runway and the plane out to Orlando will not wait for you.
BA's website does codesharing flights with AA so that is worth looking at as well. If you do choose to fly indirect, avoid all the New York airports and Philadelphia.
If you can fly back direct with no stopover I would certainly do that.
Well American and BA are all part of Oneworld so you may even find yourself with a code share and flying on the other! We used flight checkers and they found us a good deal with American. We change in Dallas which is a bit further over than I would have liked. We did have a set of flights via Atlanta on the way out and direct back but had gone by the time DH agreed!
If you are booking yourself then do be aware that you need to leave yourself a good 2 to 3 hours to clear immigration. You also have to allow time to retrieve your bags and then check them in again for your next flight. When I tried to find flights myself I was getting connections with only 1 to 2 hours between them which were just unrealistic.
Thank you Attila for your really helpful reply. We are a family of 6 so every holiday is really expensive. We are thinking of going in Oct half term and can save over £2500 by going for a flight with one stop over. Thanks for your really helpful advice re customs etc. My kids are all over 10 so I think can cope with a long day.
If we had to fly direct we simply could not afford to go.
Honestly I'd take the extra cost and fly direct using BA because they are the only direct carriers into Orlando apart from Virgin. What time of year are you thinking of going there?.
Going indirect with one stop can put hours on an already long day. You will need bags of time to be able to clear immigration and customs at the initial arrival point of entry, US immigration can take a long time to clear and sometimes the second domestic flight will depart from another terminal which could also entail a long walk. Also you will have to likely fly indirect on the return leg to the UK (which is overnight) which can be hard going as well and just adds more hours to overall travel time.
If you have children do not rely on the airline fully to provide them with food; take what they like and enough of it.
I'm hoping someone out there can help me. We are planning a holiday to Orlando and will fly with one stop to save money. We have the option for a similar price to fly BA, American or Air Canada.
Please can I have your views on which airline is best.
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