The price of flights for a trip to Orlando can vary massively so to help you get the best deal possible we have listed a few tips, tricks and things to look out for.
Where can you get cheap Orlando flights?
It’s pretty difficult to do, especially if you are confined to flying in the school holidays. The airlines and travel operators know it is peak time and you will have to pay a premium for it. However, this does not mean that there are no good deals to be had and if you are able to be flexible then you may even surprise yourself at how cheaply you can do it.
We are unfortunate that where we live there is only one airline that flies direct to Orlando and it only operates for a part of the year. The good news for all of you is that this means we have spent many days, weeks and months figuring out all of the other tricks for getting the best flights deals and keeping as much of our cash in our pocket as possible!
What do we do first? Off to the comparison sites we go! We love these and all of the features they have for finding bargain flights. Use all of the filters to narrow down the search to what is best for you. We have included Skyscanner below but you can also try Priceline and Kayak
When to book?
The scheduled airlines such as Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and Norwegian release their flights about 11 months before the date of the flight. If you are looking to go for 2 weeks then you will see the return prices for your dates becoming available 11 months before your return date.
They are often a bit high during the first few days of release as they know a lot of people are excited to book and will pay the inflated price. Often, although not always and it will depend on the time of year you are going, if you can wait another few days or weeks the price can drop by a good amount.
Alternatively there are often good sales from mid-December and into January where you can find good prices.
The other kind of flights that you can get are chartered flights and these are offered by your travel agents like TUI.
They release their prices much earlier than the chartered airlines and so if you are eager to book well in advance then you can look into these. Prices tend to be more volatile with chartered flights in our experience and go up and down regularly. Of course, you can get these as part of a package holiday as well.
If you are extremely flexible and are happy to book a couple of weeks or months before you go then chartered flights can be found extremely cheap. In the past Ticket Rangers have booked a month in advance with a travel agent and paid just over £900 in total for 2 adults, 1 child and an infant for direct flights, hotel and car hire for 2 weeks!
Who to fly with?
This is quite a contentious issue with many people having a favourite airline and others having many favourites depending on price. You may be unsurprised to know that Ticket Rangers love whichever airline gets us from A to B safely and cheapest.
Having flown with many of them we do not feel there is a great deal of difference between the major players and not enough of a difference that would make us pay more for one over another.
Having said that, Virgin Atlantic are often very highly regarded and booking a seat on the upper deck (also known as the bubble) on one of their 747s is a highlight for many. Fly often enough with Virgin Atlantic and you will build up enough miles to start putting towards miles and money flights which can make future trips a bit cheaper.
British Airways are a popular choice and you can find some good bargains with BA, especially if you combine flights with car hire or hotel bookings. An added bonus of doing this is that you can pay a deposit on your booking. Their car hire partner is Avis and you can collect a good amount of Avios by flying with them.
TUI operate a number of Dreamliners to Sanford Airport and the planes are very comfortable and state of the art. The drive/transfer from Sanford is further than it is from Orlando International but the extra distance isn’t enough to turn down a bargain flight. You can fly with TUI as part of a package or just a regular air passenger.
Norwegian can prove to be a very budget friendly airline. They offer popular routes to Orlando International and their prices are often very, very low. They are the 3rd largest low-cost airline in Europe but don’t think that this means service and experience suffer. Norwegian’s reviews and reputation are extremely good but you do have to pay extra for certain extras. As an added bonus and perhaps surprisingly, Norwegian fly Dreamliners to Orlando International so not only are you going to get a great price, but you're going to be on a really impressive aircraft as well.
Aer Lingus are Ireland’s flagship airline and offer some competitive flights direct from Dublin. They are another airline with a good reputation amongst Orlando travellers and if you can get to Dublin airport then there’s also an added bonus awaiting you. You clear US Customs in Dublin airport and can beat the often lengthy queues on the other side of the Atlantic. This may not sound like much but if you have ever arrived at Orlando International after er a 9 hour flight had a mammoth wait then you will know how valuable this can be.
Generally speaking if you are willing to stop off somewhere en route the price can drop dramatically. This is scary to a lot of people but we have no issues with it as we have to do it for most places we travel due to a lack of availability at our local airport.
If you manage a layover in the States, for example, New York or Philadelphia, then you will clear customs there and not in Orlando. Why is this good? It saves you a bit of time once you arrive at the final destination as you will be deemed as an internal passenger and breeze through.
Queues in the Orlando airports can be rather lengthy. So, say you have 3 hours between flights but during that 3 hours you clear customs, you could possibly save 90 minutes in Orlando meaning the trip is ‘only’ 90 minutes longer than direct in effect. There’s a good filter on Skyscanner where you can specify the total journey time and try to find something without a 12 hour layover.
If you are happy to go indirect then it is certainly worth investigating. Just leave yourself enough time to make your connection. If you do miss it, don’t panic, the airlines are obliged to put you on the next available flight as long as you booked the trip on one ticket.
Are you willing to travel to an alternative airport either at home or in Florida? You open up the possibility of finding some great bargains. Use the Add Nearby Airports feature on Skyscanner.
Here are some examples... The summer school holidays are different in Scotland than they are in England so if you can travel to the airport that in the country where the kids are still in school you will find the prices reflect that.
This is probably not much use to anybody living in Penzance but Glasgow and Edinburgh airports are not too far away from many Northern parts of England. Manchester is the main airport to keep an eye on for any Scottish readers.
There are a number of airports in Florida that can be used if you are heading to Orlando. We often see great prices to fly into Tampa, Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. You will have a bit of a drive once you land but you can weigh that up against any potential savings.
Tampa is roughly an 80 minute drive to the Disney area, Miami will take approximately 4 hours and Ft. Lauderdale is around 3 hours away. Ticket Rangers flew into Miami last year, stopped in a hotel then drove up to Orlando the following morning when we woke up at 3am due to the time difference. It worked out really well and saved us a small fortune.
Things to look out for
Take advantage of any membership clubs and the benefits that they offer. British Airways have their Executive Club which can help you accrue and spend Avios. Every little adds up plus as you advance through the different tiers you will get things like Avios bonuses, priority check-in and use of the lounges in airports. The Virgin Flying Club is similar and well worth a look at if you are flying with Virgin.
At certain times of the year, usually around Christmas, New Year, Easter and Black Friday the airlines will have sales and you will be able to find flights that suit your budget.