Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   United States (
-   -   Tampa & Orlando (MCO) airports (

quiUK Jul 18th, 2005 10:16 AM

Tampa & Orlando (MCO) airports
I am travelling from London to the Homosassa area in November and can get a good deal on flights to either Tampa or Orlando Intnl airports. Can anyone give any advice as to which might be most convenient for getting through customs/immigration, then picking up a hire car and driving to Homosassa.

Any advice from people who know the area better than me would be appreciated!


AAFrequentFlyer Jul 18th, 2005 11:06 AM

Only one choice - Tampa(TPA)!!!

Don't even think about MCO.

TPA is a great mid-size airport. Personally I never flew into TPA from an international destination so I don't have any first hand experience with customs, but I can't imagine that it would be a big problem. TPA has very few international arrivals, unlike MCO. I'm a very frequennt flyer in/out of TPA, connecting to international flights in Chicago, Dallas, etc., and I could tell you that TPA is just a wonderful airport.

I believe the drive time/distance would be about the same.

Have a great vacation.

Tandoori_Girl Jul 18th, 2005 12:00 PM

If money is an issue, check into the cost of your rental car from both locations. As for driving from either city, I would much rather take the wonderful Veterans Highway to Homosassa from Tampa (which you will hop on as you exit the airport) than drive hellish I-4 or any part of it heading west from Orlando. So I agree that Tampa would likely be better based on that criteria.

quiUK Jul 18th, 2005 02:21 PM

Thanks for your recommendations - Tampa it is then! Looks like rental car cost will not differ between the two, and so convenience wins every time.

I appreciate your input and am really looking forward to my first visit back to the USA since 1992/3!


i_am_kane Jul 22nd, 2005 01:06 PM

I'm from Connecticut, but have been visiting Florida frequently this year (2005). We have flown into Tampa and Orlando with our destination Crystal River (15 min. north of Homosassa). Abolutely use Tampa airport.

I would like to point out that the Manatee State Park is in Homosassa. We were there last week (HOT), and met some very nice Londoners. The Manatees are an endangered species (8 -15 ft. long aquatic mammal).

Enjoy your trip.

Tandoori_Girl Jul 22nd, 2005 05:37 PM

i am kane, did you mean Homosassa Springs St. Park? Or is there a Manatee Park in Homosassa that I don't know about?

All londoners are welcome to Florida. And others too -- we just like our londoners right now extra special because they're going through some difficult times.

help Jul 22nd, 2005 06:32 PM

there is another airport that might work for you...SFB...the Sanford/Orlando Airport...try that would be further up from Orlando...the AutoTrain comes into that town also......

kswl Jul 22nd, 2005 09:21 PM

The Tampa airport is much closer to Homosassa than either Orlando or Sanford. However, many extremely inexpensive charter services fly into Sanford, such as Monarch Air. If you got a truly great deal on your flight it would certainly be worth the extra hour or so of driving.

The Tampa airport is far superior to Orlando and, in fact, any other airport I've ever been in. It is very well-thought-out, a manageable size, and runs so smoothly you'll wonder if a governmental authority is even at work there! We lived in the metro Tampa area for 10 years and the airport--accessibility, ease of use and presence of Southwest Airlines was the area's best transportation feature.

Wayne Jul 23rd, 2005 09:26 AM

One caution--when leaving the airport, look carefully for signs showing either Veterans Expressway or Suncoast Parkway (Highway 589-toll). The Veterans Expressway become the Suncoast Parkway toll road as you go north on it. Then simply look for your desired exit. It's best to get a local highway map that will show you all the latest roads and the exits off the Suncoast Parkway. The tolls will add up to a few dollars, but it is really worth it. Good luck.

Tandoori_Girl Jul 23rd, 2005 09:46 AM

Good suggestion from Wayne as that road gets a little convoluted as the Veterans heads north and becomes the Suncoast Parkway. I've had good luck with the Fl. Dept. of Transportations web site for the latest on the roads and the toll spots.

i_am_kane Jul 23rd, 2005 11:12 AM

Tandoori_Girl, Yes, I meant to write Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park, which has the Manatees as well as other wildlife living in the park.

Can you give me the web site for the Florida of Transportation? I would like get current information on Florida roads.

Heading down TPA August 8th.


Tandoori_Girl Jul 23rd, 2005 05:52 PM

Here it is, i am (scroll down the page):

You can get Florida maps at the Highway Patrol offices -- and also the Marine Patrol offices. They have up-to-date information.

quiUK Jul 28th, 2005 04:55 AM

Thanks for all your helpful responses. Looks like we are going to have to fly into Orlando now after all (due to a long story about the American Airlines website and how far down the booking process they let you get before telling you your chosen flights are unavailable....).

It's a shame we won't be flying into Tampa now after all your recommendations, but we're definitely planning to go to The Homosassa Springs State Park.

Tandoori_Girl - thanks for you kind thoughts towards Londoners. Hope to be able to make you all feel just as welcome when/if you visit London!

AAFrequentFlyer Jul 28th, 2005 06:16 AM

As posted by quiUK -

(due to a long story about the American Airlines website and how far down the booking process they let you get before telling you your chosen flights are unavailable....).

I'm confused????

AA does not have direct, non-stops from UK to either TPA or MCO. You will have to connect somewhere. MIA, NYC, ORD or DFW.

If you are trying to price the itn by "schedule", you have to make sure that all the flights are in proper time sequence, otherwise you WILL get the "flights unavailable" message.

Try to price by "fare" from UK to TPA and you will get many AVAILABLE flight options. I fly from/to TPA and UK all the time.

If you need help, please post your dates and departure point here and I will find many options to TPA for you.

i_am_kane Jul 28th, 2005 06:28 AM


I would take AAFrequentFlyer up on his offer to help you.

He is well-versed on American Airlines.

AAFrequentFlyer Jul 28th, 2005 06:56 AM

Thank You <b>i_m_kane</b> for the vote of confidence... :-)

I just picked random dates in November and here is the first of the MANY results:

<b>Average Fare Per Person - 470.00 USD

Fare Alert: Nonrefundable fare. Change fee associated with fare.
Carrier Flight
# Departing Arriving Aircraft
Type Cabin On Time
Base Miles Meals Travel Time
City Date &amp; Time City Date &amp; Time

13 hr
39 min

87 LHR
London 11/08/2005 10:15 AM ORD
Chicago 11/08/2005 12:55 PM 777 Economy
View Seats N/A 3953 Lunch

1960 ORD
Chicago 11/08/2005 03:15 PM TPA
Tampa 11/08/2005 06:54 PM M80 Economy
View Seats 60% 1012 N/A
Alert: Terminal change.

12 hr
7 min

2367 TPA
Tampa 11/22/2005 01:43 PM ORD
Chicago 11/22/2005 03:29 PM M80 Economy
View Seats 60% 1012 N/A

86 ORD
Chicago 11/22/2005 05:15 PM LHR
London 11/23/2005 06:50 AM 777 Economy
View Seats N/A 3953 Breakfast

Alert: Overnight flight. </b>

The fare above does not include taxes and fees.

You can also depart from LGW, but that means limited options with connections through DFW or RDU only. LHR has almost unlimited possibilities and many available through MIA if you want, but personally I would choose ORD. MIA is a very hectic, busy international airport that has tons of flights arriving from Caribbean, Central and South Americas, so the customs and immigration agents could be overwhelmed at times, and to add to the confusion there, it's under total construction. AA terminals are all still under constructions. It's not as bad as some say, but it could be confusing and many long walks for the uninitiated. :-)

quiUK Jul 29th, 2005 12:33 AM

Hi All,
To clarify the AA issue, I used their website (the UK version) to search for direct flights from LGW to TPA or MCO. The flights are operated by British Airways as part of the Oneworld alliance, so whilst booking with and paying for AA, you actually fly BA.

My problem with it was, we searched for the flights on the days we wanted, entered all passenger details, credit card details and security numbers, and submitted the information only to be told that those flights were unavailable. Just seemed to me that the website should make this clear before taking payment details!

Our priority was to fly direct from London, and we have now booked with Virgin Atlantic.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:27 PM.