This year, we decided to spend April school vacation at our timeshare in Orlando, Florida, and invited Dave’s sister and her family to join us. We figured we could handle the confusion of the adults basically sharing two names among us — his sister is Suzanne, I’m Susan and both men are Davids — in exchange for the kids, our son and their two daughters, being able to spend a week together.
I’ll have all sorts of stories to share, including how I ended up at the tail end of the python at Gatorland, but for now I want to share two tips.
First, if you are flying Southwest, and plan to check-in online, be sure you do it EXACTLY at the 24-hour mark when the window opens. We forgot, didn’t try until 10 pm, about 22 hours before the flight. and couldn’t check-in because the airline had already used up its quota of online check-ins. As friends on Twitter last Thursday night already know, I was pretty irritated, mostly because I was worried that Douglas might have to sit by himself.
The happy ending to our story is that the Southwest employees on the ground at Manchester Airport were very accommodating and let us board at family boarding. Lesson learned though. Southwest has online check-in for a brief window 24 hours prior to the flight time. After that, you have to check-in at the airport; we got there four hours before the flight and were in the top of the C group. I’m almost certain we would have been split up.
I’m a Southwest shareholder, and it kills me to say this, but: if you are flying with kids between four and 10 years old, who really should not sit alone, and you can’t make that 24-hour check-in window, you might be better off paying more to one of the other airlines with assigned seating and baggage fees.
Tip number two is Orlando specific. If your flight arrives late in the evening, consider staying at the Hyatt in the airport your first night. It is literally right in the airport between the two terminals. Our flight arrived at 10pm, we got our luggage and rolled it over to the hotel and by 11pm we were having a snack in the hotel restaurant. The next morning we had a quick swim in the pool and watched the planes before rolling our bags over to the car rental counter.
Travel Tips in this post:
- Don’t miss the brief window for online check-in for Southwest. Twenty-four hours before the flight EXACTLY or plan on a middle seat.
- Arriving in Orlando on a late flight? Consider the Hyatt for your first night.