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.
As I arrived at the Air Canada check-in counter, the helpful staff directed me to the security checkpoint. Once through the line, and a bit strapped for time, I walked quickly to my gate, where an extremely kind concierge service member greeted me. She asked how my trip was and said she had been watching for me so she could assist me with boarding early to ensure a calm and easy departure. She assisted me earlier that week when I processed through security from Toronto to London, so it was nice closing my trip with a friendly face. She escorted me onto the plane and to my seat in the beautiful Signature Class cabin of the Boeing 787-8, introducing me to the flight attendant who would be directing cabin staff during my flight. I thanked the concierge for her hospitality throughout my journey.
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Travel insurance comparison site InsureMyTrip ranked the best and worst U.S. cities for cleanliness, and Long Beach, California, is No. 1, rated the cleanest U.S. city. InsureMyTrip examined city- and state-level data on key categories, including hand sanitizer demand, restaurant cleanliness, quantity of recycling collectors, garbage disposal satisfaction, electric vehicle market share and pollution.
Meliá Hotels International announced the expansion of its ME by Meliá, Gran Meliá and Paradisus brands in 2021.
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As more destinations around the globe reopen to travelers, we are ready to get back to one of our favorite activities. Join us over the next several weeks as we take you to places around the world saying #WelcomeBacktoTravel. Take a visual journey through Portugal with us.
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The first Six Senses in the Americas arrives early next year with the opening of Six Senses Botanique in Brazil. In the Mantiqueira area, 2.5 hours from São Paulo and 3.5 hours from Rio de Janeiro, Six Senses Botanique will sit amid 700 acres of lush, mid-tropical Atlantic forests.