Mouse House Travel
July 5, 2012 3:10 PM   Subscribe

I'm hoping to find someone with some insight on why we're being presented with really pricey flights from Milwaukee to Orlando, and what options we may have come this November.

Some background: We have 6 people flying (3 adults, 3 children: ages 16, 9 and 4). We're tentatively flying to Disney on the 17th, and returning on the 24th, but we haven't made reservations yet, so nothing is concrete. Our goal is to spend Thanksgiving there.

So far, hunting around online, we've hit a minimum total charge of 3100.00 for round trip. I did the math, and even if we stayed in a hotel driving down and driving back, it would only cost us around 1000.00 (current gas prices, 23mpg van, about 150 a night hotel), but that's a 19 hour trip, and I don't want to completely ruin my vacation by driving.

Due to the lead time, we could easily fly out of any of the major cities in the area (Chicago and Twin Cities are options).

Any ideas? I've recently read that booking this far in advance actually makes the tickets more expensive, but I don't want to risk not getting all six people in on the plane.
posted by thanotopsis to Travel & Transportation around Orlando, FL (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Just did a search on Kayak with flexible dates, and it looks like your exact dates are the problem. Can you change the date of either leg?
posted by lukemeister at 3:19 PM on July 5, 2012

Response by poster: Yep, nothing's set in stone, just looking to spend Thanksgiving there.
posted by thanotopsis at 3:20 PM on July 5, 2012

Take the bus or train down to Chicago, and fly out of O'Hare or Midway. The bus/train trip should be less than two hours each way, and you can save serious $$$ by flying out of a major hub.
posted by spinifex23 at 3:21 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm hoping to find someone with some insight on why we're being presented with really pricey flights from Milwaukee to Orlando

That is one of the most popular travel weeks of the entire year due to Thanksgiving. Supply and demand, baby! Worse, you're going to Orlando, which means entire FAMILIES travel at the same time, so instead of business travelers booking one or two seats, you've got bookings of four, five six and up seats being taken.
posted by HeyAllie at 3:22 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't think you'll have trouble finding an airline that can accommodate six on within a day or two of those dates even a month out.

That said, Delta (who I do not recommend but many people are happy to fly) would be $1510 or so from the 19th to the 27th. ITA's (now owned by google) fare search tool is IMO the best one around if you don't need to see exactly what fares exist, only what is available.
posted by wierdo at 3:22 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Just another data point- I did a search with Bing (they bought Farecast, so have their airfare predictor) and they show 80% confidence that that price per ticket for those dates will go down at least $50.
posted by matcha action at 3:22 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Looking on Southwest it seems like you could leave from Chicago on the 16th and return on the 23rd for around $2300 (at least that's what they're showing me, and for crappy times).
posted by ghharr at 3:23 PM on July 5, 2012

Playing on Hipmunk with your dates and travel party, I'm seeing $421 per-person round-trip ($2526 in total), which seems rather reasonable all told for a holiday week out of Milwaukee, which doesn't have a ton of competition. That's for direct flights on AirTran at reasonable enough times, which doesn't have cheaper kids fares. Since you're flying with younger kids, the direct flight is likely a real plus. If you push the dates around a bit, I can get closer to $275 or so per-person, or about $1650 in total.

Perhaps you can get a cheaper deal booking as a Disney vacation package along with a hotel room and/or park tickets? I'd try both through Disney travel and through the airlines' own vacation sites.
posted by zachlipton at 3:27 PM on July 5, 2012

Check out Allegiant airlines. You can fly into Sanford, Florida, which is a half hour drive to Orlando.

I live in Central, FL. Flying out of Sanford is easy and affordable.
posted by Fairchild at 3:40 PM on July 5, 2012

You should check out Spirit Air from Chicago. Their tables show you how much less it would be each day of the month (going there & return).
posted by Kronur at 4:29 PM on July 5, 2012

UGH, for all that is holy, do not fly on Spirit, especially with kids. Their tix are cheaper, but you get nickle-and-dimed: pay to check bags ($30 each), pay per carry on bags ($30 each), pay for water ($1/glass), PAY TO SELECT A SEAT (as in, people who pay $50 can pick whatever seat they want; if you don't pay, you get one assigned when you show up, and they will move you around if someone else wants to pay for your seat, even after you check in and have a boarding pass). By the time you get onto the plane, you've paid enough to take a second flight.
posted by holyrood at 4:37 PM on July 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Regarding Sanford, it is clear across the metro from Disney. The drive is actually about an hour, presuming good traffic, which is not very likely if you aren't arriving late. If you're willing to do that drive, you should also look at Tampa. It's about an hour and a half from Disney.

And I echo the previous comments about Spirit. I did that once and will not do it again. Despite being one of the few round trips where I had no delays, it was one of the most demeaning and annoying experiences in my history of flying.
posted by wierdo at 5:33 PM on July 5, 2012

Any flights around Thanksgiving are going to be problematic. That is the most heavily traveled holiday on the calendar and domestic flights are a nightmare. Also, be aware that flights are typically over-sold and chances are that your family will not be seated together on the airplane.

Arrive early, check in and don't wander away from the gate! (Watch On The Fly to see what I mean.)

You'll have good luck on Southwest, they fly from Midway to Orlando. You'll check bags free. By getting there early enough, you'll get the best boarding cards and you can all sit together.

Disney has a thing where they'll pic you up at the airport if you're staying on-property. They take you and your bags to the hotel and you don't have to do anything.

Also, have you thought about doing a Disney package? We drove down from Atlanta, but the Hotel/Meals thing is awesome!

Southwest offers Disney packages that may make the trip more affordable for you.

If you want to be transported, but don't want to drive yourself, you can do Megabus. The route would be Milwaukee to Chicago, Chicago to Nashville, Nashville to Atlanta, Atlanta to Orlando. That sounds brutal to me, but you might save a buck or two.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:01 AM on July 6, 2012

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