View Full Version : Which flight would you take?

01-21-2010, 03:31 PM
We need to book our airline tickets... and I'm stuck between two choices.

We can either:

Option #1 Fly Airtran. Our flight would leave at 7am and we'd arrive in Orlando shortly after 9am. We'd have several hours to swim at the resort, before going to dinner at Chef Mickey at 5pm. The airport we're flying out of is an hour away. Plus we'd need to be at the airport in advance. This means we'd leave home around 4am. We're able to pick our seats (for free through Kayak), but will be charged for our bags that we check. Without taking bags into consideration, these tickets will cost us $120 more than option #2.

Option #2 Fly Southwest. Our flight would leave at 12:30pm, and we'd arrive in Orlando just before 3pm. I think we'd be pushing it to get to our resort on time (CBR) and then over to the Contemporary for dinner at Chef Mickey by 5pm. If one small thing holds us up, we'll miss our reservation. We also wouldn't be able to swim at the resort before going to dinner like we would with option #1. We could skip going to CBR from the airport, and just go to the Contemporary and hang out for a little bit before dinner. Then we could head over to our resort, check in, and get our room after dinner. Or, we could cancel our Chef Mickey dinner, head to our resort, swim for a couple hours, and then just eat at our resort. With Southwest, we don't get to pick our seats... but since we have kids we can board the plane after group A if we don't have group A. We also aren't charged for baggage with Southwest because we'll have way less than 2 bags to check per ticket (we have 4 tickets). Southwest is $120 cheaper than Airtran.

There are pros & cons of both options. I need to talk to my husband. I think he'd prefer to have a 12:30 flight, as he's not a morning person and it would save us some money. We already have an early morning planned the day after we arrive (DD's 8am BBB appointment on her birthday). However, I'd love to be able to hang out at the resort and swim for a few hours before dinner. But now I'm thinking, what if it rains? Then we got up early and didn't get to swim LOL

Choices choices! What would you do? Our kids will be 23 months and 5 (turning 5 the day after we arrive at WDW), if that makes a difference.

01-21-2010, 03:48 PM
I like option 2 better myself. A WDW vacation is tiring enough, with out starting it out exhausted. If you had to get up at 3am in order to leave for the airport by 4am, what are the chances your kids (and you) will even be able to enjoy dinner at Chef Mickeys at 5pm? That is a LONG day, and not a great way to start the vacation. I would take the later, less expensive flight and have dinner at the resort. Then get to bed early and be ready to enjoy your first full day and your DD's special day and BBB appointment!

Have fun!

01-21-2010, 04:17 PM
As much as I would rather be at WDW earlier in the day, the money savings is big. If you are not going to a park the first day anyway, go with Southwest.

Diz Kids
01-21-2010, 05:02 PM
I would normally recommend the AM flight, but I have had many friends book a flight on Airtran and then have the flight times move. My In-Laws just had a flight move out about 3 times. It started at 9AM and is now scheduled at 1PM. I wouldn't spend the extra money when that could happen. Maybe you could try and move your Chef Mickey's to 6? I know that may be tough. Good luck with your decision and enjoy your trip!

01-21-2010, 05:12 PM
I was actually just checking to see if I could get a later ADR for Chef Mickey's, and they have a 6:55 available. I could take the later flight, still have dinner at Chef Mickey, then go back to the resort and go to bed since we'll have to be up early the next morning. We might have a couple hours between arrival at our resort and leaving for CM, so while we probably won't swim... the kids could still play on the playgound and we could take a nice walk around the resort. This would save us about $165 if I estimate luggage fees.

01-21-2010, 05:13 PM
Hi Erica! :)

I would go with the Southwest flight if you can earlier reservations at Chef Mickey's. Gives you plenty of wiggle room!

01-21-2010, 05:17 PM
Everything I have read about Air Tran on these boards indicates they are NOTORIOUS for changing flight times over and over.....Southwest is very, very reliable. I prefer an am flight myself, but would not pay extra and then have the flight time changed ! I say save the $$ and your sanity and go with Southwest!

01-21-2010, 05:24 PM
With younger kids (under 8ish) I would take option 2. Getting them up really early for a flight on your first day just to add swimming time sounds like a good way to start them off on being over tired. Plus you save a lot of money which I am sure you can spend on the trio somehow:rolleyes1 Though I think I would pay the $120 more to NOT start the kids off over tired even if the moneyworked the other way around. I also am biased because I really like Southwest.

01-21-2010, 05:24 PM
I would go with option #2.

01-21-2010, 05:35 PM
Just remember if you having the dining plan, you'll need to check in at your resort before before going to Chef Mickeys. I would go with the SW flight. What you save will be enough to cover the cost of the Chef Mickey's meal.

I've never had any trouble with ME. We usually give ourselves 1 1/2-2 hours from arrival in the airport. It's never taken that long.

01-21-2010, 05:40 PM
We do something very similiar to your first option, including getting up at 4 am and really like it. We get to our resort, check in, head to MK for a few hours, have a 5pm ADR for Chef Mickey. After dinner back to the resort to unpack and an early bedtime for everyone. We have done this three times so far.


01-21-2010, 05:54 PM
For me, option 2 wins, hands down. I wouldn't want to be leaving for the airport, then swimming, going to dinner etc...it would be too exhausting. I'd rather sleep normally, go to the airport leisurely, have dinner and check into my room later, then find something fun to do for the evening (swimming maybe?)

01-21-2010, 09:06 PM
Option 2! Option #1 has you paying more for the privilege of cranky tired kids AND a cranky tired spouse! Not a great way to start a vacation. :sad2:

I'd bump back or even cancel the ADR, and enjoy the evening relaxing at your resort.

01-21-2010, 09:31 PM
I am going along with PPs as well. Go with Southwest and cancel or change Chef Mickey. That $120 can buy a lot of souvenirs. By the way I am very frugal. One year we landed at 330 and Chef Mickey reservations at 630. In my mind that was plenty of time. But did plan on it taking an hour to check in. It started the vacation off wrong. Good luck with whatever you decide.

01-21-2010, 09:41 PM
Last year we took an early morning flight with our two young children. We reached the resort nice and early, but we were exhausted! The kids were just so tired and over-stimulated.

This year were are taking a late flight. To make up for the "lost time", we are taking an afternoon flight home, which will give us time for a character breakfast and bit of time at the MK before the Magical Express picks us up. I'm hoping this will fit the kids' rhythms and make for a happier family.

01-21-2010, 10:22 PM
Hands down - flight 2.

SW is the best! No baggage fees is the best! Not to mention, getting to the airport with the kids on time for a 7am flight would not be fun. Airtran often runs late and SW tries to be on time most of the time.

Easy decision - not to mention the money savings!!

We are going in May and I just checked today and our flight went down $27 a ticket and with SW you can get that back in the form of a travel voucher to use on a future flight.

01-22-2010, 12:02 AM
I would go with option #2 and change your ADR for Chef Mickey to the later one. The kids will be okay without swimming that night I am sure.

01-22-2010, 12:07 AM
Southwest...BEST airline ever!!! I flew them for the first time back in November from Indianapolis to Orlando. Their selection of snacks was AWESOME!!! AirTran--not so much. Sure you get free XM radio but I hardly EVER listen to it...I spend most of my time sleeping :)

The good thing about SWA--they don't charge for bags. :)

01-22-2010, 12:09 AM
Everything I have read about Air Tran on these boards indicates they are NOTORIOUS for changing flight times over and over.....Southwest is very, very reliable. I prefer an am flight myself, but would not pay extra and then have the flight time changed ! I say save the $$ and your sanity and go with Southwest!

When I was working for AirTran (no longer thank goodness) my flight was changed three times before I left to go up to Indianapolis. Southwest---BEST airline EVER!!! I love their way of boarding :) You know exactly what number you are and don't have to worry about people getting in front of you or jockeying for position :)

01-22-2010, 02:51 PM
We do something very similiar to your first option, including getting up at 4 am and really like it. We get to our resort, check in, head to MK for a few hours, have a 5pm ADR for Chef Mickey. After dinner back to the resort to unpack and an early bedtime for everyone. We have done this three times so far.


This is exactly what we do!!:cool1: We love it. However, in your case with the young kids and higher price, I would take option #2.

01-22-2010, 03:14 PM
The last two times we flew down was on Air Tran and on that 7am flight you are talking about. The first time it was only my daughter (6 at the time) and myself. The last time was this past October....it was DH, me, four kids (9,5,3,2) and my inlaws. The first time we only lived 15 minutes from the airport, but have since moved 45 minutes away. Which means, we would have to wake up at 3am in order to get to the airport on time. We decided to rent a hotel (which included parking our van and shuttle) the night before. We still had to wake up at 4am. Since we were late getting to the airport hotel, the kids barely slept. We managed to get to our hotel (Pop) without too many tears, we had lunch there and then napped. Later, we went to downtown Disney for our T-rex ressies at 5:30. So yeah, we did do it, BUT I really like your second option. In fact, DH and I have talked that if we do it again we might just fly down the night before. Yeah, we will pay for an extra hotel night in Disney, but we would do that anyway at a hotel airport for an early flight. See if you can push your Chef Mickey's ressie to the later one...that sounds great. You guys won't be rushed, enjoy the resort and end the night off with Mickey!!!!

01-22-2010, 04:02 PM
I will never fly airtran again. I can't even remember how many times they changed our flights.....going and returning! It was definitely over 4 times because after the 4th change, I started having little fits with every supervisor I could get in touch with over the phone. They actually changed our flights WHILE I was dealing with the 4th change! Their "solution" was to have us fly into one airport and drive to another airport to catch our connecting flight.

Never. Again.

Anyhoo......I'd take the second option and would probably even reschedule the dinner at Chef Mickey. We did a character dinner for our arrival day the first trip. It was a 5:30 reservation but we waited 45 minutes to get in. My 5yr old was exhausted. It was still wonderful but wow.....long day!

We like our arrival day to be a resort day. Arrive, unpack, explore...etc... Maybe dinner reservations at a non-character restaurant?

01-22-2010, 04:12 PM
SWA is very family friendly--flying is a pain---take the 12:30 flight! Plus, with SWA, if you need to cancel--for any reason, you get a full voucher to use for 1 year--sometimes, we have booked a trip to WDW, then found a date later that worked better for us--no worries--just call and rebook with SWA (you have to pay going airfare rate, of course). My one Bad experience with SWA was when I was stuck on Long Island for hours due to weather delay on the East Coast---not SWA's fault at all--major Tstorms---a few weeks later, I had a LUV voucher in the mail for $75, wishing me better weather the next flight! I had not even complained. They sent eveyone on the flight one!

01-22-2010, 04:21 PM
It would be option 2 all the way for me!

I did option 1 on our first trip (kids were 4 and 8) and let me tell you, getting up that early was not good. The kids were too excited to sleep on the plane, so by the afternoon everyone was completely exhausted and really didn't enjoy things as much as they could have if they were better rested.

01-22-2010, 05:27 PM
I have NEVER had any problem with Southwest... AirTran gets TERRIBLE reviews, especially for being late or cancelling flights; therefore, I have never flown with them.

I also think getting up so early would make you all very tired that night. I'd rather get up early the next morning, well-rested.

All of Southwest's fares are one way... so you could do a different Airline (other than Airtran) to get there earlier, but use Southwest for your return flight maybe?

Southwest has a special early boarding for families with young children. I can also use my iPhone application from Southwest to get my return flight boarding passes while out at the parks and just print them later at the resort. The only possible extra charge I've seen is an overweight bags (more than 50 pounds), but it's usually not a problem because we check 2 large bags per person plus a carry on bag. They will let a few pounds slide... once they waited why I opened my bags and redistributed things so they were all under 50 pounds. It is also pretty easy to change flights if you want without a bunch of high extra costs for doing so.

On our last flight, my DS4 got to sit in the cockpit (once we landed!) with the pilot.

Quote from CR:
If JetBlue, Southwest, Frontier, or Hawaiian flies your route, look no further. All four of those airlines provided a superior experience, according to CR readers, at a price thatís often lower than their competitors.

01-22-2010, 06:06 PM
Whenever we fly we try to get the first flight out (usually 7 or 8am). I like the fact that we have a day to relax and swim etc. Also, first flights out in the morning are usually on time (but not always). However, I have heard some pretty negative things about Airtran as far as flight delays and cancellations. We usually fly JetBlue (my fav.) or Continental so I have no personal experience with either of your airline options.
Good Luck and have a great trip!