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View Full Version : 1st time Flying from Buffalo - questions


angelkk
11-17-2008, 10:43 PM
This will be our 1st time flying with Southwest (evening flight 6:35pm). According to Google Map it will be 2 hour 13 min drive from home to Buffalo airport (excluding border wait time). A few questions for frequent (buffalo) flyers ...

1. Coming from Toronto, which bridge would be the best (less wait)? Google suggested Queenston/Lewiston.
2. What would be the busiest time of the day (weekday/weekend) we should avoid at the border?
* with my parents-in-laws, we could hardly leave home before 10am.
* would there be more or less traffic in weekend?

3. How far is walden galleria away from the airport?

4. Buffalo airport questions - I haven't been there so I am asking questions with a big picture like Pearson.
a). Can DH drop us off and unload luggage at the departure level first, and he drive and park at the Preferred long-term parking lot? Will that be a big loop for him (just like Pearson)?
b). Long-term parking - how does it work? I believe DH will get a ticket when he drives in, does he need to leave the ticket on dashboard?
c). Do we have to leave the key to the parking attendant? I heard for Park N fly in some airports (e.g. Vancouver), you have to leave the car key with them since they may move your car.
d). Do we have to specify the duration (i.e. how long we park the car)?
e). Payment (when we return from Orlando) - does DH has to pay first (at somewhere like a kiosk), or he just drive to the exit of the parking lot to pay the cashier?

5. Southwest -
a). I assume we will print boarding pass from home. But I have a 18-month-old sitting on my lap, so I will have to visit ticket counter to pick up a documentation. Is the ticket counter far away from the check-in counter? Sorry again I am thinking of Pearson (Terminal 1) - where the ticket counter is far away from the check-in counters.
b). Sorry again Pearson addicted. How does domestic flight work in US? At Pearson, we have to visit (e.g. Air Canada) check-in counter to weight our luggage, then take everything (cabin and carry-on) to US immigration, and then drop off to luggage belt, then go thru security ....finally done.
c). Is there any restaurant beyond the security gate? Since our flight is at 6:35pm, we wanted to buy some dinner to eat on board.
d). For our flight 6:35pm - what time should we be at the airport? Southwest customer service told me that it really depends on the security gate line at the airport, and she still suggest 2-hour in advance.

Sorry asking so many questions. First time dummy family driving and flying out from Buffalo. Thanks. :cutie:

encinc
11-18-2008, 04:38 AM
I can't answer all of your questions, but I can answer some of them:

1. Coming from Toronto, which bridge would be the best (less wait)? Google suggested Queenston/Lewiston.

I'd suggest the Peace Bridge at Fort Erie. Mapquest and GPS units generally suggest Q/L, but the wait is typically much shorter at the Rainbow or Peace Bridges. The drive to the Peace Bridge is longer in Ontario, but much shorter after you cross the border. I drove through with no wait on a weekday morning a couple of weeks ago.

2. What would be the busiest time of the day (weekday/weekend) we should avoid at the border?

Border wait times are typically shorter earlier in the day, but as long as you aren't traveling on a holiday weekend, I think you'd be fine all day.

3. How far is walden galleria away from the airport?

About 5 minutes drive.

4. Buffalo airport questions

a). Can DH drop us off and unload luggage at the departure level first, and he drive and park at the Preferred long-term parking lot? Will that be a big loop for him (just like Pearson)?
I believe so, but I've never done that, so I'll defer to someone else.

b). Long-term parking - how does it work? I believe DH will get a ticket when he drives in, does he need to leave the ticket on dashboard?
Doesn't matter where the ticket is left, just DON'T LOSE IT.

c). Do we have to leave the key to the parking attendant?
NO WAY!

d). Do we have to specify the duration (i.e. how long we park the car)?
Nope - you pick up your ticket at the gate when you drive in, and you hand it to the gate attendant when you leave.

e). Payment (when we return from Orlando) - does DH has to pay first (at somewhere like a kiosk), or he just drive to the exit of the parking lot to pay the cashier?
Pay the cashier at the exit

5. Southwest -
a). I assume we will print boarding pass from home. But I have a 18-month-old sitting on my lap, so I will have to visit ticket counter to pick up a documentation. Is the ticket counter far away from the check-in counter?

Definitely try to print boarding passes from home. I have no personal experience flying with a lap infant, but I believe you should be able to get any documentation from the kiosk where you check your bags. There are SW staff members working there who are happy to help out.

b).. How does domestic flight work in US?
Go to SW kiosk, enter your itinerary number or credit card, enter number of bags for each person, put bags on scale, bags are checked, get handed baggage claim tags, and proceed to security. Show ID at security. Then put your ID away. It's that simple.

c). Is there any restaurant beyond the security gate?
YES

d). For our flight 6:35pm - what time should we be at the airport?
Even during the busy periods at BUF, I've never waited more than 1/2 at security. 99% of the time, there has been no wait at all. For an evening flight, I'm sure you'd be find with 1 1/2 hrs ahead. Our hotel shuttle always thought we were nuts wanting to be at the airport 90 minutes ahead - they suggest an hour is sufficient, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

Flying out of BUF is so easy compared to Pearson. Relax, and enjoy your vacation!

JustLikeHeaven
11-18-2008, 08:10 AM
We too fly out of Buffalo for the first time next Saturday (Nov 29). We depart at 7 am so we're staying over night across from the airport. Unfortunately, we leave for Buffalo on Black Friday, but we won't be crossing the border til mid to late afternoon... so hopefully it's not too bad.
We're hoping for a pleasant experience. Pearson is NEVER pleasant.

Hope everyone has a safe and fun trip :thumbsup2

biggroofy
11-18-2008, 11:33 AM
Thanks. Very detailed FAQ for 1st time traveler like me too :)

JustLikeHeaven, which hotel will you be staying at? I am thinking if I should stay in Buffalo the night before our flight too.

DISDANCEMOM
11-18-2008, 12:26 PM
We stayed in Buffalo on our trip in August. It was so much easier than travelling through Pearson! We stayed at the Days Hotel across from the airport. We did the stay-park-fly package and they kept our car for up to 2 weeks. They provided a great private shuttle to/from the airport...I would do it again in an instant...much more convenient and less than half the price!!!
:cheer2:

who's ur daddy?
11-18-2008, 02:16 PM
If you're going to park at the lots at the airport, use this link to get a coupon.

http://www.buffaloairport.com/airport_info/parking_coupon.asp

Remember the aisle # where you parked your car (write it down, jot it in the phone notepad, take a pic with your camera, etc.), cuz seriously you may have Disney brain when you come back and once the cold BUF air hits ya, ya ain't gonna remember where the car is parked.

who's ur daddy?
11-18-2008, 02:18 PM
Also recommend the Peace Bridge at Fort Erie. The wait time was ridiculously non-existant when we used it both times this year. Queenston Lewiston can get frustratingly busy - been there, done that.

crash2000
11-18-2008, 03:06 PM
we used queenston bridge, 1 car ahead of us, 2 lanes were open, it was painless, just showed our passports, answered a few questions and we were on our way..( 7am )


yes you and you luggage can be dropped off, and yes its a big loop..

prefereed parking goes like this, you enter and get a ticket for your dash, you park the car, a shuttle follows you around, gives you a ticket with were your parked, and drives you to the airport. you pay on the way out at a kiosk, with an attendent, get the coupon off the buffola airport site, 7 days is $64 U.S with copun.

customs is also a breeze, new thing is taken shoes off also, and they will check the children also, they even checked my duaghters doll purse., and on return checked a flyer of the orlando airport we had with us in hand.

just got back on satruday...

crash2000
11-18-2008, 03:08 PM
also 1 $ u.s toll on the way to airport, and return was $1 toll, plus a niagra bridge toll

dsneygirl
11-18-2008, 03:11 PM
The Buffalo airport is tiny compared to Pearson Terminal 1. From the check in line to security would maybe be a 2 min walk (if that) Then from Security to the SW gates will take you another 4 min. You're in for a treat ;)

crash2000
11-18-2008, 04:10 PM
The Buffalo airport is tiny compared to Pearson Terminal 1. From the check in line to security would maybe be a 2 min walk (if that) Then from Security to the SW gates will take you another 4 min. You're in for a treat ;)

ah now tell them about the orlando airport

dsneygirl
11-19-2008, 07:03 PM
ah now tell them about the orlando airport

Well if you're used to Pearson I don't think MCO is anything to be concerned about.

KerriMc
11-19-2008, 07:22 PM
We flew Buffalo for the first time in March ... couldn't believe the difference b/w Toronto and there!! We stayed at the Marriott I believe which was about a 5 minute drive. It was nice and new.

We got to the airport and the first thing we did was rush to find luggage carts (we must have looked so foolish!!! :lmao: ). My dad and dh asked where they were and they said downstairs ... well my goodness why downstairs when you arrive here??? Well they TAKE your luggage right there at that desk about 20 feet in front of you!!! OK ... no hauling all my 'stuff' through line after line ... AMAZING concept!!! That was really nice!!

We would love to do it again, but this year I am the only family member flying. The rest of my family (parents, dh, and kiddos) are driving down ahead of me and staying almost a week longer. I teach so I shorten their holiday ;) ... so I am flying from Toronto on my own, possibly with my brother. I figure it is just me so it shouldn't be too bad. It is dragging the kids through all that ... especially the part with the security where they scan you ... they are so rude to the little ones (at least the three times I've done it) ... they have no patience for bringing through strollers / babies / put your kids through first (not when an adult isn't at the other side thank you very much) ... oh right this isn't a vent is it??? :goodvibes

Enjoy your flight ... you won't ever want to fly out of T.O. again!!!

Kerri

p.s. we crossed at Queenston too ... no problems at all

p.s. #2 ... as for MCO ... I dont' mind it ... it is big too, but I find it runs much smoother than at Pearson ... although security heading back is busy at times

nat1234
11-19-2008, 08:08 PM
We also flew out of Buffalo when we went to WDW last year. Since we had an early morning flight, we stayed the night before at the Sleep Inn across from the airport. Buffalo airport is a much smaller airport than Pearson. It was so easy, and this was the first time that I had flown by myself with the kids. Even Orlando airport was really simple considering how big it is. Our flights weren't direct and it all went smoothly. Next year though I think that we're going to drive unless I can find a cheap flight out of Buffalo. Have a great time.:santa: