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My Vote For Worst: MCO  
User currently offlineJFKLGANYC From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 3431 posts, RR: 5
Posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 5371 times:

I think I posted this a very long time ago on one of my prior visits to Orlando Int'l:

Fountains are pretty, skylights are airy, trains are fun, and classical music is soothing . . . BUT THEY DON'T MEAN ANYTHING IF THE LINE FOR SECURITY IS LONGER THAN THE LINE FOR SPACE MOUNTAIN.

Consistently the worst, absolute worst lines I have ever seen in any US airport.

For those of you that don't know, MCO was designed with a separate checkpoint for each airside satellite. Airsides 1 and 2 had adjacent checkpoints on the West side of the terminal. Airside 3 had a checkpoint on the East side. When Airside 4 opened, it shared a checkpoint with Airside 3.

After 9/11, the Airport Authority reconfigured security creating 2 major checkpoints. One on each side of the terminal. Within the checkpoints, they realigned the metal detectors from a North-South axis to 2 parallel East-West axis.

What this inadvertantly did was combine two separate lines into one very long, very ominous looking que that snakes 4 or 5 times under the rotunda before it enters the security checkpoint to snake some more.

Now, in addition to the snakes under the Rotunda, the line jumped across the East Side rotunda with a break in the middle and continued back to the connector hallway with the West Side of the terminal.

As you approached, if the checkpoint line was on your left, you were directed to a second line on the other side of the room. You waited there until there was enough room to fit you on the line at the checkpoint . . . at which point you started your journey to the TSA.


So my questions for all you MCO buffs:

1. MCO was supposed to be the poster-boy for airport expansion. Its terminals, runways, and facilities were designed in a way to expedite expansion with ease. How then, was the security capacity issue clearly overlooked?

2. What is being done to rectify the mistakes? Does the Greater Orlando Airport Authority have any plan to fix this deteriorating situation anytime soon?


MCO is not a major hub. It's not a congested airport. It's not an old airport. Yet ORD, LAX, SFO, JFK, LGA, EWR, DCA, and BOS (each considered inefficient because of the many different security checkpoints) all do a better job at flowing passengers through security.

PJ

31 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineDeltaMIA From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 1672 posts, RR: 17
Reply 1, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 5344 times:

Quoting JFKLGANYC (Thread starter):
It's not an old airport. Yet ORD, LAX, SFO, JFK, LGA, EWR, DCA, and BOS (each considered inefficient because of the many different security checkpoints) all do a better job at flowing passengers through security.

Well being you listed business oriented airports compared to a predominantly leisure only airport it is a tough comparison. When you were standing in line waiting to ride Space Mountain at MCO did you notice mostly businessmen in suits or did you notice families with little children and travelers that didn't appear as experienced as yourself. TSA does a good job with the minds they are working with. They can only tell someone to take out all the metal in their pockets, but they aren't going to staff someone to physically take out the metal or remind people that keys are made of metal. They will tell you what a jacket is, but its up to the traveler to realize they are actually wearing one. There are plenty of reasons why MCO is slow at times, but it isn't because of an inefficient setup.

Quoting JFKLGANYC (Thread starter):
How then, was the security capacity issue clearly overlooked?

It has a larger checkpoint than ATL.



It's a big building with patients, but that's not important right now.
User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21499 posts, RR: 60
Reply 2, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 5312 times:

Which airlines are you talking about.

I've flown CO, DL and AA out of MCO over the years and never remember the security being longer than space mountain (pre and post 9/11). It most, 15 minutes for me, and honestly, that isn't bad considering I've gone there around Thanksgiving and Christmas times.



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineDeltAirlines From United States of America, joined May 1999, 8897 posts, RR: 12
Reply 3, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 5302 times:

I've never even had to use the Medallion/F line at MCO at the times I've been (about 5x a year)...even when the line snakes a bit, it moves pretty fast, since they do have 10 lanes open, which can move a lot of people through quickly...I've never waited more than 5-10 minutes at MCO.

Jeff


User currently offlineMadairdrie From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2006, 119 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 5234 times:

I have been to MCO a few times over the years, and it has been a while but as they say at my little part of the world "ma heed is scrabbled" trying to work out where all these people are and if they are on east/west north/south directions and what line they are in. (Sorry JFKLGANYC) But seriously I think DeltaMIA has a good summing up the issue. I would also agree with that a long line does not equal a long time to be processed if it looks bad it can move very quickly. I have been in a few airports with a very short line which has taken 15-20 mins as there is only one machine working!

In my experience American Airports are getting better at their security, which has not been easy for them since 9/11 and very few of their airports were ever designed for post 9/11 security. I remember many years ago on my first visit to the USA (when I was only 9) being amazed that non pass angers could get anywhere near the gate - as I had never seen this in Europe. I also remember meeting my Aunt about 3 years ago at O'Hare when I was transiting through and discovering it was very difficult for us to sit down anywhere and have a coffee as everything seemed to be beyond security.

Kenneth


User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21499 posts, RR: 60
Reply 5, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 5194 times:

Quoting Madairdrie (Reply 4):
I also remember meeting my Aunt about 3 years ago at O'Hare when I was transiting through and discovering it was very difficult for us to sit down anywhere and have a coffee as everything seemed to be beyond security.

That is a result of your other statement. Because, unlike Europe, our air travel system revolves around domestic travel, we allowed people to go the gate even without a ticket. So many airports built everything inside security. Now, without that access, many airports have nothing to offer people outside security.

But it depends on the Airport.

DFW, IAH, LAX, EWR T-C etc. have nothing much pre-screening in terms of shops or food. Horrible airports to pick people up at.

EWR, MCO, TPA, EWR T-A etc. have most of the concessions outside security. Great airports to pick people up at (if you want to get out of the car).



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineSrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 5185 times:

Quoting DeltaMIA (Reply 1):
It has a larger checkpoint than ATL.

Prior to the opening of four additional screening stations, ATL would routinely during busy travel periods see 2+ hour wait times. My last trip out of ATL, it took me maybe 15 minutes to clear security, and this was on a Friday Afternoon.

Some airports do a really good job with managing the crowds going through security. ATL does a pretty decent job at it, although they tend to be a bit hit or miss (especially when dealing with those employees with ATL badges [both SIDA and Non-SIDA badges]). Both times I have flown out of LAS in the last two years, I was impressed with the swiftness of their security lines. Even early on a Sunday morning those folks are running a speedy operation (ATL on most Sunday mornings is a slower affair).

Having not been to MCO in almost 6 years, I can't really comment on the current setup there. To me the previous way they did security was fine, and probably really didn't need to be tweaked.


User currently offlineExFATboy From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2974 posts, RR: 9
Reply 7, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 5126 times:

Quoting DeltaMIA (Reply 1):
There are plenty of reasons why MCO is slow at times, but it isn't because of an inefficient setup.

Well, based on JFKLGANYC's description, I'd say it IS because of an inefficient set-up. MCO's design is based on the "groundside/airside" concept pioneered by TPA, but it looks like there's a flaw in their ripoff...I mean interpretation of TPA's design. Security at TPA is on the airside end of the shuttle, giving each airside its own dedicated security checkpoint. MCO appears (and I say "appears" because I can't see the actual security checkpoint location on their poorly designed website) to have combined checkpoints for multiple airsides at the groundside terminal.


User currently offlineDw9115 From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 449 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 4527 times:

MCO lines are not as bad as 99.99% of airports in the U.S. and if you want a really fast line to go through get a clear card ( http://www.flyclear.com/ ) it is great I got one and will never give it up.

User currently offlineIsitsafenow From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4984 posts, RR: 23
Reply 9, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 4053 times:

MCO can be a hassle at the wrong times...been there-done that.
The long lines for killing time on your feet is MIA and FLL on cruise day when the ships come in the morning. The pax need to catch those noon to 2pm flights out of town.
I stood in the security line at MIA for 40 minutes once and at FLL for 25-30 minutes twice.
I was told by other pax that FLL can be longer.
With the airline check-in kiosks, that time was minimal
safe



If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
User currently offlineIFLYMCO From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 482 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 3912 times:

MCO can be a hassle (just like any other airport) at peak times: morning, afternoon... For instance try DCA or another "smaller" airport at rush hour.. GOOD LUCK.

Overall, I have never found it to be significantly more inconvenient than any other airport. Perhaps you feel like it is more of an inconveneince as once you clear security you still have a very long trek out to the gate? (Getting on the trams, then walking out to the correct pier at the particular airside once you get there).



Now it should be "IFLYDCA"
User currently offlineNW747-400 From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 502 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 3847 times:

I frequent MCO and have never had a problem with their security. Lines can be ominous looking but theymove very quickly.

PHL on the other hand...I always have a problem with security when travelling from Terminal E. Back in December I was flying United PHL-ORD-MSP. Arrived 1hr 30m prior to departure and just barely boarded the airplane in time. The security line was over an hour long just for that one terminal. CO, DL, WN, and UA all had several early morning departures around the same time and only 2 screening machines were available to process well over 500 people.


User currently offlineBobnwa From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 6463 posts, RR: 9
Reply 12, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 3696 times:

Worst-PHX

Best-TPA

I also agree with the above member; the more vacationers there are, the longer the lines!


User currently offlineNavairjax From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 3608 times:

While MCO may have extremely long lines they seem to move rather quickly in comparison with lets say PHL or BWI. Considering the number of leisure traveller I think they do a fine job.

User currently offlineMich From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 36 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 3574 times:

Went through mco on thursday to get to ord with no wait. 4 lanes were open to get to terminal 42.

User currently offlineThorny From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 3242 times:

Quoting JFKLGANYC (Thread starter):
I think I posted this a very long time ago on one of my prior visits to Orlando Int'l:

Consistently the worst, absolute worst lines I have ever seen in any US airport.

It took me about five minutes to get checked in and go through security at Orlando just after the New Year, for a flight to DFW around 11am.


User currently offlineN766UA From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 8227 posts, RR: 23
Reply 16, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 3212 times:

I agree 100%. I've flown to 20 different airports over the past 6 months and MCO is the worst line for security by far. ATL and CVG get up there, too, at busy times.


This Website Censors Me
User currently offlineGnomon From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 3130 times:

At MCO not too long ago, I checked in 1:15 prior to departure, went straight to security with no delay (about a five-minute walk from the ticketing counter), and nearly missed my plane.

I was in line for a good 50 minutes, perhaps one hour, on a Friday morning around 0930. It was absolutely absurd.

This is particularly a problem on the east complex, with pax for DL's sizeable MCO operation and all the LCCs -- WN, B6, FL, etc. -- sharing the same busy space. The west complex isn't nearly as busy. I'd guess there's a huge disparity between the number of pax using the east side and the number on the west. An interesting exercise would be to determine whether staffing levels at each checkpoint reflect that disparity.


User currently offlinePlanesarecool From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 4121 posts, RR: 11
Reply 18, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 2898 times:

I've flown into Orlando International 4 times from the UK. The first time we were situated at the back of the aircraft (a VS B747-200) and the security process took forever, and this was pre-9/11. The last time, we were at the front of the economy cabin and it was a breeze as we managed to get out before most of the other pax. I guess its best to get a flight that doesn't coincide with the British lot, otherwise you're in trouble - up to 5 plane loads (747s and 777) of Brits coming in within about 2 hours of each other cannot be great

User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21499 posts, RR: 60
Reply 19, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 2870 times:

Gee, I see a pattern here: DL. CVG, ATL long lines, MCO longest lines at DL.

I've never had lines longer than 10-15 minutes on CO or AA, and I've always gotten to the airport well in advance thinking I would because of the holidays, only to have to sit around for a long time before my flight.



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineRwSEA From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 3091 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 2841 times:

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 19):
Gee, I see a pattern here: DL. CVG, ATL long lines, MCO longest lines at DL.

I've never had lines longer than 10-15 minutes on CO or AA, and I've always gotten to the airport well in advance thinking I would because of the holidays, only to have to sit around for a long time before my flight.

Intersting how a completely unrelated thread only takes 19 posts to start DL bashing.


User currently offlineSCXmechanic From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 534 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 2833 times:

Well I went to http://www.orlandoairports.net/goaa/finance/CAFR_2005_d.pdf and added up each airlines ENPLANED passenger figures for each Check Point that feeds their respective Airsides and this is what I found.

Year Ending Sept 30th 2005
(I assume GOAA's fiscal year runs Sept to Sept by that statement on their financials)

East Checkpoint: 9,231,934 passengers passed through security.

West Checkpoint: 7,583,488 passengers passed through security.

That's a little better than 17.8 percent more people though the East vs. West checkpoint

Obviously there is the possibility of some error in these figures but they are as close as I could get with the information at hand.

With Airside 2 adding those new gates and the expansion we're (WN) going to be doing at MCO in the future coupled with the idle gates over by Delta. That could mean a total meltdown at Security on the East in the future as passenger levels increase.

I hope GOAA has some tricks up their sleeves in fixing the checkpoint issues!


User currently offlineJetpixx From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 850 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 2827 times:

Quoting Isitsafenow (Reply 9):
MCO can be a hassle at the wrong times...been there-done that.
The long lines for killing time on your feet is MIA and FLL on cruise day when the ships come in the morning. The pax need to catch those noon to 2pm flights out of town.
I stood in the security line at MIA for 40 minutes once and at FLL for 25-30 minutes twice.
I was told by other pax that FLL can be longer.
With the airline check-in kiosks, that time was minimal
safe

YES! I totally agree. FLL is my hometown airport and I will pay extra to fly out of PBI or even drive down to MIA. Those security lines are no picnic, either, but way better than FLL. I've been to MCO and that does not even hold a candle to how much of a clusterf@$# FLL can be.

I believe most of the problem with these airports in Florida are you get doddering old people who need to have their hand held, complaining about the whole process and pretending (or simply not remembering) that it is their first time through security.

You get all kinds of people like this - anywhere. Just do what they say - take the laptop out beforehand, take the shoes off, etc.

I take all of the things in my pocket and put it into my backpack, carry-on, etc. It eliminates any room for error and makes the process quicker. If you simply have a clue, things work out so much better.

My best experiences -- CAK, DTW, EWR, JFK, TPA
My worst experiences -- BOS, CLE, FLL, MCO, PHL


User currently offlineBeertrucker From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 403 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 2757 times:

If your going to sit here and bash DL and MCO for the lines there. U want a way past all the kids and mom and dads with ther kids. Then here do I did. I don't wait anymore at MCO. www.flyclear.com now you don't have to. It works and gets you past a lot of the lines.


Fly HI
User currently offlineFlyibaby From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 1017 posts, RR: 6
Reply 24, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 2727 times:

I worked down at MCO for approx. 8 months before transferring, and I can only remember two occassions within those eight months when security was really really bad. On both of those occassions it had to do with Southwest's computer system crashing and having to do everything in manual mode. As a result, the checkin line alone went from the SW ticket counter over through the food court to the TSA checkpoint on the other side of the airport, back across the airport again, past the SW ticket counter, and then streched outside on the curb. Obviously, this didn't help security either having to verify manual boarding passes. Average checkin time that day was upwards of 2.5hrs and TSA was over an hour.

25 CRGsFuture : I went to MCO in August of 05' and I came home the 31st. My line wait was 45 minutes but, we were first using the east gate peers and second a VS flig
26 PHLJJS : Your right, Terminal E can be a zoo especially before 9am, but if you were flying UA, you flew out of Terminal D and there is no way of getting from
27 Kanebear : You must never fly out of LAS. Try it on a Sunday morning. You have no idea what a line is until you've seen that particular snake from the peoplemove
28 Ikramerica : How is it unrelated? Don't DL fly out of MCO? Didn't they have a large operation there? Aren't people above complaining about long lines in the DL ar
29 Post contains images SkyexRamper : My worst vote is Louisville (SDF), they check your ticket 3 times! First time by some old person, then twice by TSA. When you enter the line, when you
30 Tommy767 : MCO is fine. I've flown DL, CO, US, and AA out of there numerous times. There are low wait times for security lines, an efficent monerail system, and
31 Turnit56N : As others have said, the security at MCO looks worse than it is. I've been there when the lines did go halfway down the connecting hallway, but it onl
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