Below Average (+/-28")
Above Average (+/-33")
*Subject to plane type. Information subject to change and is meant as a guide only. Contact individual airline for more details.
Under the Visa Waiver Program, all international travellers who wish to travel to the United States from 1st January 2009 are now subject to enhanced security requirements. If you are travelling to the United States from the 1st January 2009, entry requirements have changed and a Visa Waiver Form must be completed and approved at least 72hours prior to departure.
If you do not have approval prior to embarkation you may be denied boarding.
For further information on the Visa Waiver Program and how to proceed with your application please visit the US Department of Homeland Security website: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov.
If you hold a passport that is not participating in the Visa Waiver programme, please consult the US Embassy for Visa requirements.
Most standard charter flights are non-stop to the chosen destination however the US based airlines (Delta, etc) offer flights via Chicago, New York, Philidelphia & other cities. These flights can offer good value travel and a chance to stretch your legs for a couple of hours before continuing on the journey - a worthy consideration.
Direct Flights Required?
Orlando (MCO) or Sanford (SFB) Airports?
Sanford Airport (SFB) is almost exclusively geared up for the Brits so arriving and departing is relatively simple. A fair drive to the Resort Areas after a long, tiring flight but car hire collection couldn't be simpler. Consider transfers and book your car hire for the next day or later in the week. Orlando International Airport (MCO) is much closer offering a short drive or taxi ride to your hotel - ideal for non-drivers visiting the Resorts.
With average flight times of around 10 hours, the standard of entertainment is vital - especially when pacifying the kids! Seat back screens are an advantage, offering full control of many entertainment features. Aisle monitors are OK but some smaller children may struggle to view properly from mid-plane or window seats. Our personal dislikes are the big-screen, projected images often found on Jumbos without aisle screens - almost impossible to view unless seated directly in front!
Seat-back screens are becoming more of the norm on long-haul flights - ideal for family travel!
It's a long flight so consider what are the most important factors to you when choosing. Budget flights usually indicate average or below average features however the savings offered against the cost of above average flights may help fund your Disney Tickets or increase your spending on Hotels or shopping! Kids don't need huge seats so seatpitch may be less of a consideration than seatback entertainment systems. Premium seating areas are usually kids-free and offer other benefits - ideal for the more senior travellers.
When browsing for flights check if the price shown includes in-flight meals. They could be add-ons at around £10 per person. Do you have special dietary needs to consider? Child meals available? Choice of menu? Most flight search boxes show the options on offer - please make sure the appropriate boxes are checked!
Planning - before you book
Planning - other options
Standard allowance is 20kg per person however some airlines offer 15kg with 5kg offered for a premium. The US Airlines can offer substantially more allowance - please check with individual operator for more info.Consider the reurn flight - you may have considerable extra luggage from your shopping expeditions! If an extra allowance is available when booking this may be the cheapest option rather than face the stiff penalties payable for excess luggage at the airport check-in.
Seat pitch is not to be confused with legroom however it is a guide to the overall space available to you. Larger passengers (like the author!) struggle with the pull-down trays & reclining seats in front of you so pitch is a real consideration. Average on most charter flights is 29-31 inches, the US airlines usually offer more than average and some operators like First Choice, Thomas Cook & Thomsons offer a generous 33" which may justify premium pricing at peak times.
FIRST CHOICE / THOMSON/THOMAS COOK
US AIRWAYS/ AMERICAN AIRWAYS*
VIRGIN ATLANTIC/ CONTINENTAL/ B.A.
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