ORLANDO, LOCATED IN CENTRAL Florida, is the 24th-largest metropolitan area in the United States and the third-largest metropolitan area in Florida. As one of the world’s most visited tourist destinations — thanks to attractions like Walt Disney World and Universal Studios — it is also home to Florida’s busiest airport.
Orlando International Airport ranks as the 13th-largest airport in the United States, with 44.6 million passengers a year. Many travelers fly in to visit the “Theme Park Capital of the World,” its tourist attractions drawing around 68 million visitors in 2016 alone. The airport’s central location, within a two-hour drive of more than 60 percent of Florida’s population, makes it well-positioned to support the region. It currently generates more than $31 billion in revenue for the regional economy.
Orlando’s airport, also known as McCoy Air Force Base, hit record traffic numbers in 2017 and continues to grow. In January 2018 MCO served more than 3.9 million travelers, an 8 percent increase from the same time last year, and is projected to break 45 million annual passengers in the coming year. The airport currently sees 123,796 passengers a day on more than 40 airlines flying to 84 domestic and 53 international destinations.
In response to an increase in passenger numbers, MCO enjoyed an increase in the number of available airline seats. Frontier, Spirit, Southwest, JetBlue and Azul airlines made an additional 250,000 seats available as of November.
In March several airlines added or increased flights to multiple domestic and global destinations, including Virgin Atlantic’s route to Belfast (BFS), Delta Air Lines’ route to Amsterdam (AMS) and Southwest Airlines’ service to Oakland, Calif. (OAK).
Aside from being the most frequented airport in the state, Orlando strives to value and delight its customers through an airportwide design concept known as The Orlando Experience. Exciting features of the experience include a 1,560-foot video wall running behind check-in and more video walls throughout the terminals that create a unique, immersive and sensory experience for passengers. In December MCO unveiled a series of vibrant “welcome mats,” creating a colorful, floor-to-ceiling design that immerses visitors in the Central Florida theme.
Orlando International Airport was ranked No. 1 for overall customer satisfaction in the 2017 J.D. Power North American Airport Satisfaction Study released in September. The study was based on performance in six areas including terminal facilities, airport accessibility, security check, baggage claim, check-in/baggage check, food, beverage and retail. MCO had the widest margin over second place in any of the three size classifications.
Also new to Orlando is the construction of the South Terminal Complex. The $2.1 billion project began in 2017 and will rank as one of the most costly public works projects ever in Central Florida over its three years to completion. Phase one of the STC includes a 2.7-million-square-foot, world-class domestic and international terminal building, including 16 new airline gates and a landside terminal.
In January a new “C” garage and Automated People Mover Complex opened to accommodate the new record-breaking number of travelers. The structures were built to relieve some of the parking and roadway congestion in the north.
The future looks bright for MCO as it continues to expand, break records and satisfy passengers across the board.
ARRIVAL/CHECK-IN: Climbing along the coast, I was trying to snap pictures of the cool-blue Puerto Vallarta waters outside my car window (I know, it never works) when we started winding along stone walls draped in jungle-like foliage. Annoyed my view was blocked, I looked around to see where we were just as we were parking at Hotel Mousai — I audibly gasped. The all-glass, chic and incredibly grand entrance was so well-secluded, it somehow snuck up on me.
Finding a beachfront Punta Cana all-inclusive resort for all ages can be daunting when you want to take home great memories with loved ones but also experience a sophisticated escape. Now, you can have both thanks to a new resort: Finest Punta Cana.
Emirates added Seychelles (SEZ) to its list of recent flight resumptions, including Stockholm (ARN) and beefing up services to the Maldives (MLE). Emirates resumed Seychelles services Aug. 1, alongside the country’s re-opening to international tourists.
ARRIVAL/CHECK-IN: Arriving in Singapore is an easy affair as there are plenty of taxis for the 15-minute ride from Changi Airport, with little traffic. Coming into the circular drive of the famed Raffles hotel, you take in the view of this historic 1887 property. The equally famed doormen, dressed in traditional Sikh livery, greet guests and help with any requests.
IHG® Business Edge provides small- to midsized enterprises with benefits and confidence to navigate the evolving business travel environment.
The United Arab Emirates announced all inbound travelers are required to carry proof of a negative COVID-19 test to show upon arrival. This requirement will be upheld by all the country’s airports and applies to residents and tourists alike.
Take Five at Saint Lucia’s famed Jade Mountain. The resort’s deal allows guests booking the signature Sky, Star or Moon sanctuary to receive their fifth night free, an offer valued at a savings of more than $1,200. The offer is valid for travel through Dec. 19. Learn more and book.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, small businesses create two-thirds of net new jobs and account for nearly 48 percent of the U.S. private sector workforce. And small- and medium-sized businesses outpace all other sectors as one of the fastest-growing in the United States. InterContinental® Hotels Group (IHG) goes above and beyond to create opportunities for this segment with its IHG® Business Edge program, voted Best Small- to Mid-Sized Business Program in Global Traveler’s 2019 GT Tested Reader Survey awards.
Looking for a romantic getaway? At Couples Resorts in Jamaica, travelers can earn up to $500 in instant cash credits when booking a stay of five nights or more with the Couples Comeback offer. The offer is valid at all properties for bookings through Sept. 30. Travel by Aug. 31 for $500 in cash credits and Sept. 1–Dec. 24 for $400 in cash credits. Guests who provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result will receive a $100 resort credit. Book online.