We all know that flying is pretty much terrible these days.
A recent survey from the research firm J.D. Power, found that now more people are comfortable flying, bringing the global passenger levels nearly back up to 91% of pre-pandemic levels, customer satisfaction with airlines has fallen since last year.
The firm found that overall customer satisfaction is down 25 points, on a 1,000-point scale, to 777.
Some of those complaints owe to the frequency of cancellations and flight delays, which are increasing due to pilot shortages, worker shortages due to covid-19 outbreaks, and delays due to climate change-induced weather disruptions.
The issue has gotten so bad that Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has announced a proposal that, as we’ve reported, “would guarantee that customers would get a refund for a canceled flight or a flight delayed by more than three hours, if they chose not to take a later flight.”
But an interesting wrinkle in J.D. Power’s survey is that “58% of airport travelers describe the airport terminal as severely or moderately crowded.”
While traveling might be a pain for many, it’s also unavoidable. But for people who have a holiday family trip planned at Orlando’s Walt Disney World Resort (DIS) , or who have plans to attend Universal Studios’ (CMCSA) Halloween Horror Nights, then good news. Your flight to Orlando just got a bit easier, and much less crowded.
What Happened To Orlando Airport?
Orlando International Airport’s Terminal C is now open for business, and it was inaugurated with an incoming flight from Aer Lingus.
The terminal cost $2.8 billion, and took five years to complete. The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority estimates it will have an annual economic impact of $5.6 billion in Central Florida.
The terminal might be able to help with overcrowding complaints, as it is set to have 120 gates and to increase Orlando International Airport’s capacity by 25%, which roughly translates to 10-12 million additional passengers each year.
In recent years, there’s been an emphasis to make airports look nicer and more pleasant to be in. For a very long time, New York residents considered LaGuardia Airport a dump that happened to have planes. But after years of renovations, it is, to quote New York Magazine, “no longer a hellscape.” High praise!
Similarly, Orlando's Terminal C is designed to leave an impression, with The Orlando Sentinel waxing poetic about its “enormous interior spaces framed by dramatic skylights and windowed walls, the terminal is dedicated to delivering a powerful, lasting impression not so much to departing passengers but to those arriving for vacations.” But notably, the Terminal will not have the carpet patterns of MCO’s other two terminals.
It does comes with 33 retail and food and beverage locations, including stores from Disney, Universal and SeaWorld and a Shake Shack and a Raw Juice. More than half of the stores will be local brands, such as the eatery Cask & Larder and celebrity Chef Art Smith’s “Sunshine Diner.” There will also be more than 1,000 video screens that have directional and flight information.
JetBlue Will Serve As The Anchor
JetBlue (JBLU) will anchor the domestic flights in Terminal C, while international flights will also be available from Aer Lingus, Azul, British Airways, Caribbean Airlines, Emirates, GOL, Icelandair, Lufthansa, and Norse. The first JetBlue flights are expected to begin later in September.
The Terminal will have its own parking garage, as well as a Terminal Link Station to connect passengers to flights on different airlines.
Florida’s Brightline railway is currently operating throughout South Florida and is expected to extend service to MCO in 2023.