Princesses With A Plan: Choosing Our Flight to Walt Disney World

For Susan and me, choosing our flight to Orlando wasn’t as difficult as for some people. Three things made it a little easier for us:

  1. We live about 25 minutes from our nearest airport and about 1.5 hours from the next closest.
  2. The airport nearest our home is smaller, easier to get around in, and is more familiar.
  3. We both prefer Southwest Airlines as we have had excellent service from them in the past; and Southwest not only flies to Orlando, but our closest airport happens to be one of its hubs.

Don’t think that convenience far outweighs cost in our travel plans, though. We are smart girls, so if there had been a large price difference on another airline or from the farther airport we would have definitely considered it seriously. It would have needed to be a great deal, though, and there were no such deals at our time of booking.

How did we choose our specific flight?

There were a few things we were looking for when we started researching our flight options: pricing, timing, and nonstop options.


Pricing on flights today is much higher than it was a few years ago. There was not much variability in the cost of flights so we were able to go with our airline of choice.

Timing Options

Our timing requirements were to arrive as early as possible and leave as late as feasible. For us, we wanted to arrive in Orlando early to achieve maximum time in the park on our day of arrival; and leave as late as we could while giving us time at home to prepare before going back to work the next day.

Preferably Nonstop

With the flight costs being pretty uniform between nonstop and flights with stops, we opted for nonstop. This is simply because we prefer not to take off and land several times. To us, it is safer taking off once and landing only once.

But what about travelers from all around the country and abroad who will be traveling to Orlando? What are some tips for finding good flights in their areas? Well, here are some tips that I hope may help you as well:

Research Pricing/Allow for Fees

Make a price-comparison chart for pricing on different airlines. Include all flights in which you are interested. Be sure to note differences in stopping vs. nonstop flights. Then rank the data in order of preference.

When doing a price comparison, be sure to remember that different airlines have different baggage allowances. On some airlines this can create fees so be sure to factor that in when you are doing your comparison.

Ignore the Boards

Sometimes message boards are useful, but sometimes they are just a haven for disgruntled, cranky people who want to spout off in the heat of the moment about one bad experience they had. My point is that the boards like TripAdvisor and Frommers are not always totally objective, so I really avoid reading those forums.

Just like any customer service industry, airlines do make mistakes, cannot please everyone all the time, and have from time-to-time ticked off a traveler or two. The best thing I can suggest is checking the sites below for specific information useful to you.

Check the Safety Record

You can check an airline’s safety record from reported incidents at They track air crashes and other safety-related incidents. They can tell you the rate of fatal events per million flights, and when the airline had its most recent incident.

You have to read this data with a discriminatory view, though, because you must remember that only one crash can result in devastating numbers so a record with one crash in the last 50 years may appear to be worse than 5 crashes in the same amount of time with fewer casualties.

Any Awards?

If airlines have received any awards, these can be found on Skytrax and Conde Nast. On these sites, you can find out about the airlines that service Orlando from your area.

Skytrax is very comprehensive, including ratings from 1-5 for everything from ease of reaching customer service reps to food quality. Skytrax’s list of traveler reviews is a forum you can ascertain valuable information from as well, as most of the information is provided by seasoned travelers.

Conde Nast has information and ratings on airlines but is less comprehensive than Skytrax.

Compare Seats

If you are trying to decide between two airlines in which the price, safety record and other information is running parallel or extremely close, you might want to check out seat information and choices. The comfort and location of your seat definitely plays a part in your travel experience.

On our airline of choice, there is no seat assignment. This can be bad as you have no choice ahead of time with the location of your seat but good because you can choose the seat you want once you see where others are seated. You can check out a huge amount of information on airline seating on Seatguru.

I hope these tips will help you when planning your next trip to Walt Disney World.

Which factors do you consider when choosing a flight? If you have any tips for our Affordable Mouse readers on airline travel, won’t you post your comment? We are happy to share your thoughts and ideas as well.

Want help planning your Disney vacation? Find out how the FREE services of a Disney World travel agent can make it all simple…and save you time and money too!

Brenda is a native Texan born and raised on the Gulf Coast. She visited Disney World twice as a teenager and always dreamed of growing her family Disney. She took her first-timer husband and their three children to Disney World in 2000 and they now spend every Thanksgiving there. Brenda writes with a comedic twist on various Disney topics. She will be sharing tips she has learned during her travels and also hopes to enlighten people on little-known freebies that Disney has to offer. She wishes she could have met Walt Disney and considers herself to be a student of Walt. In parallel to his dream it is her wish that everyone would take at least one trip to Disney World in order to share in its magic with their families.

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