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Florida Guide > Travelling

Flying to Orlando via Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

Searching for flights to Orlando one Christmas we happened upon a new route, which we had never undertaken before, despite using indirect flights with American carriers for a number of years. BA, in conjunction with American Airlines, were offering flights from London Gatwick to Orlando via Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, in Texas, at a price we could not resist, and with a direct BA flight home we decided to try this route out.

We much enjoy visiting different airports, and as we no longer have young children to worry about we find indirect flights interesting as they require a landfall in the USA before taking an internal flight to Orlando. An indirect flight also means that immigration and customs procedures take place at the first landfall, meaning that on arrival at Orlando International Airport it is possible to get straight off the plane and collect luggage before departing the airport. We also enjoy having a while to enjoy a relaxing meal or snack, and maybe do a bit of shopping before catching the domestic flight onwards.

Our BA flight left Gatwick pretty much on time and we settled into our seats anticipating an uneventful journey. However, the pilot soon announced that due to very strong headwinds our flight would not take just over 10 hours but would be over 11 hours long. We were not unduly concerned as we knew we had nearly 5 hours in DFW before catching our connection, so we sat back to enjoy the flight.

The flight was very good, with a pleasant meal and good service from the staff, who brought round drinks on a regular basis. With seatback screens to amuse us, and plenty of reading material, the time went surprisingly quickly. Luckily I had a window seat so was able to watch the changing panoramas below as we flew over America. Although we were glad when our final approach was announced, we felt that it had been a good flight.

The plane made its slow way down with a few bumps on the way, due again to strong winds, but we landed safely and arrived at the gate where we sat and waited for the rest of the passengers to hurry off, whilst we made our way leisurely off the plane as we had plenty of time before our next flight.

We proceeded through Immigration, and then collected our suitcases prior to clearing customs. Having dropped our suitcases off ready for our next flight, we then made our way to the next terminal where our AA flight was to depart. DFW is a huge airport with 7 runways, the most of any airport in the world, so it covers a vast area, but it has a very up to date transport system which we boarded, and which took us, at speed, across the airport to our next terminal. It was fascinating to view the airport from this train, and we enjoyed our brief journey.

By this time we were feeling a bit hungry, and somewhat tired after our long flight, so we looked around and saw a small food court where we found a table and wearily sat down. We thought we had better check our flights and on doing so were told that our next flight was delayed, by about an hour, so we had plenty of time to relax. Frequent checks at the flight desk followed, and our flight was more and more delayed. Finally, two hours after it had been due to depart our plane landed, and we were at last allowed to board. Our seats were right at the back of the plane, almost in the tail, and I was surprised to find that the engine was located right up against the window. Thankfully I could just about see out but it turned out to be a somewhat noisy flight.

The pilot was able to make up quite a lot of time on the journey down to Orlando, and we were delighted to see the twinkling lights of the airport below us. At last we had arrived. As our flight from Gatwick had departed at 10. 00 am and we had arrived at the airport at 6. 00 am we had, in fact, been travelling for 24 hours by the time we reached our destination. Thankfully our return flight was a direct BA flight, so considerably shorter.

Would we consider this route again? Well, yes, if the price was right. Would we recommend it to those with young children? We would have to say, ‘no. ’ It is a long way round to get to Orlando, and it was quite tiring with the delays, but with just the two of us it was not a great problem, so we would not be put off from taking this route again. And I certainly enjoyed seeing yet another American airport.

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Page added on: 31 December 2008
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