airport in Orlando, Florida, United States

Orlando International Airport (MCO IATA) is the primary airport serving the Orlando metro area. Large, crowded, and chaotic, it is the second-busiest airport in the state of Florida, and the largest airport serving Central Florida. At 1 Jeff Fuqua Blvd, Orlando, +1 407 825-2001.

The Orlando area is the most popular travel destination in the United States, with over 50 million visitors every year. As a result, Orlando International Airport serves a large number of destinations nationwide, including almost every large and medium-sized city east of the Mississippi River and several major hubs in the Western United States. International connections are from within the Americas, Europe and Dubai.

Understand edit

See also: Air travel in the United States

The airport is southeast of downtown but is conveniently located close to the region's attractions.

The airfield was established in 1942 as Orlando Army Airfield #2, a supplement to operations at Orlando Army Air Base (originally Orlando Municipal Airport, now Orlando Executive Airport). It was renamed Pinecastle Army Airfield a year later. After the end of World War II, it was transferred to the city of Orlando, but with the advent of the Korean War, the Air Force retook possession in 1951 and named it Pinecastle Air Force Base. In 1959, the base was renamed McCoy Air Force Base in honor of Colonel Michael N. W. McCoy, the commander of the base's B-47 bomber fleet, who was killed in a crash the year prior.

In 1962, with passenger flights to Orlando exceeding what Orlando Herndon Airport (now Orlando Executive) could handle (both in passenger volume and aircraft size), the Air Force agreed to share the McCoy airfield (and its longer runways) with the city of Orlando. Orlando–McCoy Jetport opened in 1964, its terminal a converted missile barn. With the ORL airport code assigned to Orlando Herndon, the new Jetport was given the code MCO, for McCoy. The opening of Walt Disney World in 1971 brought enormously increased traffic, and the civil facilities were greatly expanded in response.

With the end of the Vietnam War, McCoy AFB was among dozens slated for closure. The airfield was transferred back to the city in 1975, and in 1976 the Orlando–McCoy Jetport became Orlando International Airport. The U.S. Navy took over some of the military facilities for a Naval Training Center, which remained active until 1999. Today, the only military presence remaining on the grounds of the old base is an Armed Forces Reserve Center, a Florida Army National Guard armory, and a Navy Exchange retail store serving the area's large number of retired military personnel.

Orlando International's massive main terminal opened in 1981, with the original Jetport terminal going through several subsequent tenants before being demolished in 2006.

Flights edit

A Delta Air Lines aircraft on the tarmac at MCO.

Orlando International Airport is a focus city (or minor hub) for Avelo, Frontier Airlines (serving about 10-12 cities), JetBlue Airways (20-25 cities), Southwest Airlines (40-45 cities) and Spirit Airlines, all of which fly numerous routes to/from Orlando. MCO regularly sees large jumbo jets from Virgin, British Airways, & Lufthansa; however, and despite being one of the first prepared to handle it, there has yet to be an A380 seen on routes to/from MCO.

Note: If you're traveling with Allegiant or Flair they are at Orlando-Sanford International Airport (SFB IATA), another airport further north/northeast in Sanford. If you're flying with TUI Fly (from Great Britain) they are at Melbourne-Orlando International Airport (MLB IATA) 64 mi (103 km) southeast of Orlando in Melbourne. American/American Eagle, Avelo, Delta and Sun Country serve both Orlando (MCO) and Melbourne (MLB) while Allegiant serve both Melbourne (MLB) and Sanford (SFB).

See also: to view full list of airlines at Orlando International Airport.

Departures edit

Orlando has a clever hub-and-spoke layout that's quite easy to navigate. One large building houses all of the landside functions (ticketing, baggage claim, etc.). Signage divides it into Terminal A and Terminal B, with the dozens of airlines spread evenly between them. Broadly speaking, the larger mainline carriers — American, Delta, Spirit and United — are on the B-Side with a few others (domestic & international); while Frontier, Southwest and several international carriers are on the A-Side. In any case, check signs to find your airline's ticketing and gates. All ticketing is on Level 3, but major U.S. airlines also have check-in on Parking Level R-1. Jetblue and other foreign carriers are relocated to Terminal C. The following Airlines serve Orlando at:

  • Terminal A: Air Transat (Gates 70-99); Avelo (A3, Gates 100-129); Avianca (A2, Gates 70-99); Frontier (A2, Gates 1-59); Copa (A2, Gates 70-99); Spirit (International) (A1, Gates 1-29 (dep) & 70-99 (arrivals)); Southwest (A4, Gates 100-129); Spirit (Gates 1-29 & 70-99); Virgin Atlantic (A3, Gates 70-99);
  • Terminal B: Aeromexico (B3, Gates 70-99); Air Canada/Air Canada Rouge (B3, Gates 70-99); Alaska Airlines (Gates 30-39);American Airlines (B2, Gates 30-59); Bahamasair (B4, Gates 70-99); Breeze (Gates 30-59); Delta (Gates 70-99); Latam (B4, Gates 70-99); Jetlines (Gates 30-59); Silver Airways (B1, Gates 1-29); Sun Country (B4, Gates 70-99); United (B1, Gates 30-59); Volaris (B3, Gates 70-99); Westjet (B3, Gates 70-99)

In between the Terminals A & B there are two separate security checkpoints, depending on which gate you're going to. One leads to gates 1–59 (West Hall), the other to gates 70–129 (East Hall). The People mover train connection to Terminal C and Parking Garage C board at the East Hall outside of security (to Airside #4 (Gates 70-99)). Security lines can become extremely long (1 hr), especially during the summer tourist season and near holidays. Combined with long check-in lines, it is advisable to arrive 2-3 hours before your scheduled departure. From the security screening stations there are people mover trains connecting the main terminals to airside only satellite terminals where passengers board their flights:

  • Gates 1-29, Airside 1, NW
  • Gates 100-129, Airside 2, NE
  • Gates 70-99, Airside 4, SE
  • Gates 30-59, Airside 3, SW
  • Gates C230-C245, Terminal C, South Terminal with pre-security people mover train connection back to Terminals A & B (North Terminal).

Terminal C / Intermodal Terminal JetBlue, Aer Lingus, Azul, British Airways, Caribbean Airlines, Discover/Lufthansa, Emirates, Eurowings, Icelandair, Lynx Air, Norse, Porter, Sunwing and Brightline.

Signature Flight Support Terminal (4215 Lindy Circle) is a separate FBO Terminal for private VIP flights and for JSX

Arrivals edit

Baggage claim for most airlines is on Level 2, except for the airlines, Emirates and Virgin whose baggage claim is on Level 1.

If you are arriving via an international flight, and are a member of CBP's Global Entry program, take note that the kiosks are different than at every other airport. Orlando is the pilot location for the new facial recognition-based re-entry kiosks. Instead of scanning your passport and taking fingerprints, you'll simply line your face up to the camera on the kiosk and press the button to take a photo. It will then print out the receipt with your information like normal, but with your picture also on it. If you have a connecting flight, you there is a connecting baggage drop off just after you clear customs but before you leave the restricted area that you can use if your bag has been tagged through to the next destination. There is also a separate screening station back into airside of the departures area, so you can skip the long lines at regular security.

Ground transportation edit

Overview of Orlando International Airport.

Level 1 is the Ground Transportation level, where rental car offices are located inside and public buses, airport shuttles, and taxis are accessed outside.

By car edit

Most tolled expressways in the Orlando area require drivers paying cash to exit off the right side of the highway at toll plazas, while drivers with electronic transponders ("SunPass") or registered to be billed/pay by mail continue on a straight path at highway speeds through the plaza. Most rental vehicles either include use of a transponder or are registered to use the SunPass lanes, with the rental company billed later and billing tolls to your credit card.

Orlando International Airport is sandwiched between two tolled expressways (motorways), with easy access to several major roads crossing the Orlando metro area. The airport is conveniently located within the Orlando metro area and without traffic congestion, it should take no more than 30 minutes to reach most of Orlando and the Kissimmee/Disney World area. Cities & towns on the northern side of the Orlando metro are, such as Sanford, should take no longer than 45 minutes to reach (again, without traffic congestion). The cities and beaches of the Space Coast, Daytona Beach, and Polk County are 45-90 minutes from the airport. Further away, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Ocala, Gainesville, Vero Beach, & Fort Pierce are 1½-2 hours away.

The main airport terminal and parking structures are surrounded by a circular drive, which has numerous off-ramps (off both the left & right) leading to the various parking structures and to connecting roads. This can be confusing/disorienting for some drivers, especially foreign drivers leaving the airport in rental vehicles and unfamiliar with the area, road system, and the vehicle they are driving. Be especially alert to signage and it is better to circle the terminal than swerve across multiple lanes of traffic and risk having an accident.

  The Beachline Expressway (also State Road 528) runs along the northern edge of the airport and runs west to Interstate 4 (the primary north-south artery through the Orlando metropolitan area) and runs east to the beaches of the Space Coast, which includes towns such as Cocoa Beach, Titusville, & Melbourne.

  The Central Florida GreeneWay (also State Road 417) forms a half-loop around the eastern side of the Orlando metro area, beginning at Interstate 4 near Kissimmee/Walt Disney World and running north to Interstate 4 near Sanford. It passes a couple miles south of the airport and is reached via Boggy Creek Rd. State Road 417 is the fastest way to reach Kissimmee, Walt Disney World, and Polk County (via I-4). If using S.R. 417 to travel north to eastern suburbs of Orlando or to Sanford or Daytona Beach (via I-4), take the Beachline Expressway east to reach the GreeneWay.

At the airport, you can drop off departing passengers on Level 3, and pick up arriving passengers on the baggage claim level, Level 2.

Parking edit

There are large parking garages flanking the north and south sides of the terminal building, signed as "A Garage" and "B Garage" corresponding to the neighboring terminal. Rates are $19/day. To access the main terminal from the "A Garage" or "B Garage", take the elevator to the lowest level, the Pedestrian Tunnel, walk through the tunnel (or ride the moving sidewalk), then take the long escalators to Levels 2 or 3 or use the elevators to access all levels of the main terminal building.

While most people search for parking spaces on the lower levels of the A or B Garage, continue up to Level 4 to access the Terminal Top parking garage (Levels 4-10), which permits both short & long-term parking. The benefit of driving up to these levels is that the Terminal Top parking structure is located directly above the main terminal building and the elevators in this parking structure travel directly down to ticketing & baggage claim areas of the main terminal building.

C Garage is located 1 mile south of the airport, and is slightly cheaper than A and B Garage at $17/day. A tram connects the garage to the terminal.

Cheaper still are the North and South Park Place economy lots, at $10/day. (However, if you're parking for no more than 1 hour, the garages are a better deal.) Shuttles connect to the terminal every 10 minutes.

By rental car edit

Orlando is the "rental car capital of the world" and, as can be expected, there are many car rental agencies offering a large number and wide range of vehicles for rental. These agencies have desks on the first level of the main terminal, on both A and B sides. Additionally, there are numerous car rental agencies located off-site which provide free airport transfers from their location and may offer lower prices (See OIA website). Alamo, Enterprise, National and Sixt are issuing rental car contracts in Terminal C, Level 6 (Bag Claim) for pick-up in Terminal B, except Sixt which has vehicle pick-up in Terminal C. Cars can be returned at either Terminals A, B or C.

Beware: Several gas stations near the airport prey on visitors topping off the tanks of rental cars by charging extraordinarily high prices ($2-3/gallon above local prices)! The practice has made national news and local ordinances require all stations to conspicuously display their prices on road-side displays. Nonetheless, there are still many unsuspecting visitors who are shocked to pull up to a gas pump with regular unleaded gas for $6.50/gallon, when stations 2-3 miles away are charging just $3.50!

By bus edit

Public transportation in the Orlando area is provided by Lynx (+1 407-841-5969) bus system. Lynx buses can be found on the Ground Transportation Level (Level 1) of the Main Terminal's "A" side at Commercial Lane spaces A38-A41. Fares are $2/ride with free transfers within 90 minutes. Day passes are $4.50 and a 7-day pass costs $16. Discounted fares for Youth/Elderly requires riders to present a Lynx-issued ID, available only by applying at the Central Station Terminal with a 5-7 day turnaround and therefore not viable for short-term visitors. Routes (known as links) from the airport are:

  • Link 11—Lynx Central Station in Downtown Orlando via Orange Ave & McCoy Rd. Passengers transfer to Link 25 to get to the Greyhound bus station (555 John Young Pkwy) or Link 40 to get to the Orlando Health/Amtrak Station from the downtown Orlando Super Stop (which is also a Lynx Central Station). Likewise one can also get off the Link #11 bus at Orange Ave & Columbia St and go 3 blocks west along Columbia to Sligh Blvd. Turn left (south) on Sligh Blvd to the Orlando Health/Amtrak Station.
  • Link 42—Destination Pkwy Super Stop near Convention Center via International Drive, Sand Lake Rd, Florida Mall. Passengers transfer to Link 350 to continue to Disney World from Destination Pkwy.
  • Link 51—Downtown Orlando via Conway Rd, Lake Underhill, Primorose, Colonial Super Stop & Robinson St
  • Link 111— Seaworld via SR-528, Sand Lake/McCoy Rd and Destination Pkwy Super Stop/Convention Center. Passengers transfer to Link 350 to continue to Disney World (Disney Springs Transfer Center) from Destination Pkwy and to SunRail trains at the Sand Lake Rd Station (nearest to the airport).
  • Link 436S—Crosstown route to Fern Park Super Stop in Casselberry in Seminole County via Semoran Blvd (SR-436). Link 436N continues the rest of the way from Fern Park Super Stop through Altamonte Springs (including the Altamonte Springs Sunrail Station) to Apopka via SR-436.
  • FastLink 407—Connects Kissimmee Sunrail/Intermodal Station to the Lake Nona VA Hospital with a detour to the airport. The Kissimmee station is also an Amtrak station for Kissimmee.

Click here for a pdf page from of the bus routes serving the airport, and where they go from the airport.

The "Super Stops" are the transfer stations or bus stations for multiple Lynx bus routes to converge at to facilitate transfer from one bus route to another. The nearest Sunrail station is the Sand Lake Road Station which is served by the #11, 42 and 111 buses from the airport. See By train in the below.

There are a couple of intercity bus companies that serve the airport. One stops into the ground transportation zone at Level 1 of Terminal A while other have a station nearby:

  • Flixbus, (bus stop) Terminal A, Level 1, Stop 31 (Bus will stop at Terminal A, Level 1, in ground transportation area designated for buses and taxis. Bus will stop at stop number 31. If stop 31 is occupied, bus may instead use any stop between 29 and 33 as an alternate.). Service between Orlando and Ft Myers via Lakeland, Tampa and Sarasota along I-4 & I-75 on one route and to Miami through Port St Lucie, W Palm Beach and Ft Lauderdale on another route. They also have additional local stops at International Premium Outlets at 4953 International Dr; McDonald's on 8060 S Orange Dr; Kissimmee and University of Central Florida. See tickets and schedules as to where to catch the bus at (or where you will be dropped off at).
  • 1 Redcoach, (bus station) 1777 McCoy Rd (Next to Days Inn Hotel east of the intersection of McCoy & Gandola.), +1 407-851-2843, toll-free: +1-877-733-0724. Service from Tallahassee (via Gainesvile, Ocala); Miami/Ft Lauderdale (via W Palm Beach, Ft Pierce); and from Naples (via Ft Myers, Tampa). They also have an additional local stop at University of Central Florida. Their bus station is the nearest to the airport and the Sand Lake Rd Sunrail Station which is connected to both places by Lynx #11, 42 and 111.

By shuttle edit

Disney Magical Express Buses

Almost every medium to high priced hotel in the city offers airport transfers. Additionally, there are several shuttle services options that run from the airport to various points, including Kissimmee, theme parks, University of Central Florida, and the cruise port at Port Canaveral. Approximate rates for shuttle vans range from $18-29 o.w. depending on your destination (see OIA website for details on local transport). Nearby hotels surrounding the airport may offer a free shuttle to/from their respective properties. Some may band together to contract a company to provide a free shuttle to/from several properties on one route. You may wish to contact your hotel or cruise line (if leaving from Port Canaveral) to inquire about discounts on certain shuttles or possibly free airport transfers.

  • Mears Transportation, +1 407-423-5566. Provides shuttle service from Orlando International to many hotels in and around the region, including those in the Disney area. Mears, a former operator of the Magical Express buses for Disney, offers shuttle to Disney from the airport for $16 o.w. per adult and $13.50 o.w. per child. Disney no longer offer the Magical Express buses to/from the airport.
  • InterPlex Transportation - Orlando, toll-free: +1-888-398-5392. Provides limousine and car services from Orlando International Airport.

Out-of-town shuttles provide service to destinations within about 1-2 hours' drive. These shuttles are prohibited from serving Orange, Seminole, and northern Osceola counties. A full, up-to-date list of these may be found on the OIA website.

By train edit

The Intermodal Terminal by the existing Parking Garage C will become the airport train station as well as the new car rental center and an additional stop for buses and shuttles at the new Terminal C. The Intermodal terminal is connected to the new airline Terminal C by an overhead structure and to the existing North Terminal Complex (A & B) by an Automated People Mover train that is already operational.

  • 2 Brightline (Virgin Trains USA), Orlando International Airport South Intermodal Center by Parking Garage C, +1 561 537-8059. Daily 5AM-11PM. Brightline connects Orlando International Airport to West Palm Beach, Ft Lauderdale and Miami in South Florida. Plans are underway to extend the Brightline route west from Orlando International Airport to Disney World and Tampa.    
  • 3 Sunrail, Sand Lake Road Station (NW of intersection of Sand Lake/McCoy Rd (SR-482) & Orange Ave. McCoy Rd becomes Sandlake Rd west of its intersection with Orange Ave.). The nearest Sunrail station is the Sand Lake Road Station which is served by the #11, 42 and 111 buses from the airport. Sunrail connects DeBary in the north and to Poinciana in the south through Sanford, Longwood, Altamonte Springs, Winter Park, Orlando proper, Kissimmee and points in between in the Greater Orlando Metropolitan Area. Plans are underway to build a 2 mi (3.2 km) spur to the Intermodal station from the main north-south line. Cross platform connections to Amtrak trains are in Kissimmee, Orlando Health/Amtrak Station, and Winter Park; and to the Lynx "central" bus station from Orlando Lynx Central Station in downtown Orlando.  

By taxi or rideshare edit

Taxi cabs/vans may carry up to 9 passengers/luggage and may be found on the Ground Transportation Level (Level 1) of both the "A" and "B" sides of the Main Terminal. Rates are determined by a taximeter, regardless of the number of passengers, and flat fares are prohibited. Approximate taxi fares from airport to popular destinations may be found in the OIA website.

  • Mears Transportation Group, toll-free: +1 888 983-3346. dominates taxi service in Orlando and operates different brands (Yellow Cab Company, Checker Cab Company, and City Cab Company) with identical rates.

Taxi Cab companies at the airport include:

Ride-hailing services, like Uber and Lyft, can be hailed from level 2 of the arrivals area (not level 1 with the rest of ground transportation).

Get around edit

The 'People Mover' at Orlando International

Orlando International is structured into two components, landside and airside. There is a central landside terminal (one building divided into Terminals "A" and "B"), containing airline counters, baggage claim, rental agencies, numerous shops, and a hotel. This central terminal is connected via trams to four airside terminals, known as Airside 1-4, with the airplane gates. There are plenty of shops and restaurants in both the central terminal and the airsides.

Main terminal edit

The main terminal consists of one large, rectangular structure which has been divided (by signage, not physically) roughly into thirds across the shorter side into two "terminals"—Terminal A & Terminal B—separated by a central concourse with shops, a food court, and two atriums on the ends where security checkpoints and connections to the airside trams are located.

New automated people mover to be operational Fall 2017

The four Airside terminals are connected to the main landside terminal by automated tram systems called the Automated People Mover (APM).

Wait edit

The east airport atrium with shops and the Hyatt Regency hotel.

Lounges edit

Spas edit

Aircraft spotting edit

Aircraft spotting is permitted, however spotters must first visit the Public Affairs office (located on the 3rd level of the Main Terminal to the left of the security checkpoint for gates 60-129) to complete a "use of facilities" form and present a valid photo ID. Level 9 of the terminal top parking garage provides panoramic views of most of the airport as well as great views of downtown Orlando.

Eat and drink edit

If you're departing from the airport and have plenty of time, you may want to grab a meal before going through security. It's risky if you're on a tight schedule, but the landside main terminal has by far the widest variety of restaurants. Take a peek at the security lines; if they're long, better get in line and then see if you have time to eat airside.

If you're flying into the airport, the options in the landside main terminal are the most convenient, because you can pick up your luggage on level 2, then return to level 3 to eat.

The options in each airside terminal are much more limited, and vary widely among them.

As long as you're happy with American chain restaurants, you'll find the selection at Orlando to be pretty good. If you want food that's a little more inspired, the list will be a lot shorter. The hotel restaurants Hemisphere and McCoy's are your best bets in the main terminal. While not as gourmet, each of the Airsides has at least one unique restaurant that may tickle your fancy.

Main terminal edit

All of the restaurants in the landside main terminal are on the mall-like Level 3, where security and the ticket agents are. There's a good-sized food court right smack in the middle of the level featuring the usual American mall fare: Chick-fil-A, Firehouse Subs, McDonald's, Moe's Southwest Grill, Nathan's Hot Dogs, Panda Express, Sbarro's, and Starbucks, along with Auntie Anne's, Carvel and Cinnabon for sweets.

If you have more time, there are a couple of options for a more substantial meal:

The Hyatt Regency hotel also has two full-service restaurants, located within the hotel on the east side of the landside main terminal (to Airside 2 & 4, Gates 60-129):

  • Hemisphere Steak & Seafood (Hyatt Regency, 9th Floor). Breakfast: M-F 6:30AM-11AM, Sa Su 6:30AM-noon; Dinner: M-Sa 5:30PM-10PM. This upscale steakhouse has a great view of the airport's runways, located as it is at the very top of the main terminal. To an extent, you're paying for the view as much as for the food, but the cuisine matches the quality of the scenery. With its subdued atmosphere and small size, it can even be the setting for a relaxing, romantic dinner. entrees $24-40.
  • McCoy's Bar and Grill (Hyatt Regency, 4th Floor). Daily 11AM-12:30AM. Located on the Hyatt's lobby level, McCoy's is a bit bigger, a bit livelier, and a bit less expensive than Hemisphere. The focus is on fresh local ingredients, resulting in a fairly eclectic menu that still manages to include several classic favorites. A very good sushi bar is available 4PM-11PM. Entrees $11-32.

Airside 1 (Gates 1-29) edit

Airside 2 (Gates 100-129) edit

  • Cask & Larder. Daily 5AM-last flight.
  • Kafe Kalik. Caribbean. (probably closed)

Airside 3 (Gates 30-59) edit

Airside 4 (Gates 60-99) edit

Buy edit

Just in case you couldn't find that perfect souvenir before your last day in Florida, Orlando International has you covered. Level 3 of the main (landside) terminal is essentially a small shopping mall, complete with food court. Most notably, there's a Universal Orlando gift shop, and not one but two Disney shops. The other retailers are about what you'd find in just about any mall back home. One shop you might not have at home is Del Sol, where the stock in trade is apparel (mainly T-shirts, but also flip-flops and sunglasses) that changes color in sunlight; the effect is fun to see even if you don't buy anything.

The airside terminals vary greatly in their retail offerings. The newer ones, 2 and 4 (gates 60–129), have a wide variety of shops that go well beyond the usual books, magazines, and trinkets. The older ones, 1 and 3 (gates 1-59), have much more limited shopping options.

Airside Terminals 1 and 4, the only terminals with customs facilities, have duty-free shops.

Connect edit

MCO offers free Wi-Fi throughout the airport. If your device runs out of juice, there are charging stations located in each wing of the airside terminals. If you don't have a device at all, you can also make use of Internet kiosks available in both the landside and airside terminals. Cellular and PCS wireless service is available from all the major providers.

Cope edit

Sleep edit

Full sized hotel, with all amenities and services, directly within Orlando International Airport Main Terminal.

Nearby edit

This huge airport travel guide to Orlando International Airport is a usable article. It has information on flights and ground transportation as well as some complete entries for food and beverage options at the airport. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.