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jfklganyc
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My Vote For Worst: MCO

Sun Apr 30, 2006 12:58 am

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
 
DeltaMIA
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Sun Apr 30, 2006 1:12 am

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.
 
ikramerica
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Sun Apr 30, 2006 1:27 am

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.
 
deltairlines
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Sun Apr 30, 2006 1:30 am

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
 
madairdrie
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Sun Apr 30, 2006 1:56 am

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
 
ikramerica
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Sun Apr 30, 2006 2:13 am

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.
 
srbmod
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Sun Apr 30, 2006 2:17 am

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.
 
exFATboy
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Sun Apr 30, 2006 2:51 am

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.
 
dw9115
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Sun Apr 30, 2006 8:03 pm

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.
 
isitsafenow
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:00 pm

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.
 
IFLYMCO
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:25 pm

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"
 
NW747-400
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:36 pm

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.
 
bobnwa
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Sun Apr 30, 2006 11:04 pm

Worst-PHX

Best-TPA

I also agree with the above member; the more vacationers there are, the longer the lines!
 
navairjax
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Sun Apr 30, 2006 11:18 pm

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.
 
Mich
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Sun Apr 30, 2006 11:25 pm

Went through mco on thursday to get to ord with no wait. 4 lanes were open to get to terminal 42.
 
Thorny
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Mon May 01, 2006 12:21 am

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.
 
N766UA
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Mon May 01, 2006 12:27 am

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
 
Gnomon
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Mon May 01, 2006 12:40 am

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.
 
planesarecool
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Mon May 01, 2006 2:59 am

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
 
ikramerica
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Mon May 01, 2006 3:17 am

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.
 
rwsea
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Mon May 01, 2006 3:27 am

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.
 
scxmechanic
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Mon May 01, 2006 3:32 am

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!
 
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jetpixx
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Mon May 01, 2006 3:34 am

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
 
beertrucker
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Mon May 01, 2006 4:47 am

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
 
flyibaby
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Mon May 01, 2006 5:02 am

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.
 
CRGsFuture
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Mon May 01, 2006 5:20 am

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 flight was departing in about 1hr 30 min. so we got a huge amount of international passengers. I think it went fast for the amount of people on the line, but because the time we choose for departure that hurt us. VS counters were really backed up that day as well.
Flying you to your destination; your girlfriend to her dreams.
 
phljjs
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Mon May 01, 2006 7:37 am

Quoting NW747-400 (Reply 11):
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.

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 E to D inside of security. CO and UA are in D along with WN, which also uses E for most of thier operations. DL and NW are in E with WN. YX and AF recently moved to Terminal A. I'm flying out of MCO on tuesday may 30th at around 8pm on WN. Any advice as to what time I should arrive at the airport?
 
kanebear
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Mon May 01, 2006 7:51 am

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 peoplemover all the way back to the escalators.
 
ikramerica
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Mon May 01, 2006 8:04 am

Quoting RwSEA (Reply 20):
Intersting how a completely unrelated thread only takes 19 posts to start DL bashing.

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 area? Aren't they comparing it to similar experiences at CVG and ATL?

Well, if I'm not allowed to comment on that, considering I had the same experience with long lines for DL not just in ATL and CVG but also T5 at LAX, at EWR, and in SLC, then sorry for daring to question if DL might be part of the problem...
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
SkyexRamper
Posts: 1952
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Mon May 01, 2006 8:13 am

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 get up to the end of the ropes to the screener (thats another issue) and then before you walk through the metal detector. So back to that other issue. Unlike any other security line, where you go to the line you like the best, TSA has a person to direct you to which ever has an open spot, you'd think to keep things moving smoothly, but it slows the whole process down. After waiting 15 mins in the line, then getting stuck at the front for 2-5mins, then it takes another 2-3 mins to actually make it through the metal detector. It once took me 30mins to get through the line! There was maybe 40 peope in front of me but since they only let 1 through at a time it takes forever. TSA could get rid of 3 of those people at the checkpoint and save money..but its for the good of our nation isn't it.  Angry  Confused And because they are sooo screwed up at SDF, I missed my flight home because it took forever and American closed my flight early! Yep, American does the gate for Skyway at SDF, a bunch of heartless people. So my friend had to drive me up to Indy so that I could make the last flight out of there.
Good Luck to all Skyway Pilots! It's been great working with you!
 
tommy767
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Mon May 01, 2006 9:29 am

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 for the most part a condensed rental car garage. Most airports wish they could have all that. If you want the worst security lines, try CO at EWR.

Tommy in EWR/LAX.
"KEEP CLIMBING" -- DELTA
 
turnit56N
Posts: 230
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RE: My Vote For Worst: MCO

Mon May 01, 2006 11:09 am

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 only took 15 minutes to go all the way through. Yes, the lines look outrageous and they do make walking across the terminal a mess sometimes because the line completely bisects it. However, when the line feeds into the secure area there are so many screeners lined up that people are processed pretty quickly. So, while the lines at MCO look as bad as SEA during "rush hour", I've never had 20 minute plus waits at MCO.
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