Orlando International Airport braces for busy holiday travel season – WFTV

ORLANDO, Fla. — Travelers at Orlando International Airport are seeing a rise in activity for the holidays, but so far things have been moving forward.

READ: Passenger accused of running from Atlanta airport after gun discharged facing 3 charges, police say

A scare Saturday with an accidental gun discharge at the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport only delayed three flights in Orlando, officials said.

Saturday is predicted to be the third busiest travel day of the holiday season and airport leaders are expecting a busy weekend.

WATCH: Tears and hugs as Thanksgiving travel season takes flight

Lines were seen throughout the airport on Saturday, but nothing too terrible.

Some passengers said they have been dealing with delays throughout the day.

READ: Florida woman arrested after Canadian border agents seize 56 illegal weapons

Officials said Sunday is expected to be the fifth busiest travel day at Orlando International Airport.

See more in the video above.

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Orlando International Airport travelers happy to see U.S. allowing more international travel

Travelers at Orlando International Airport said it’s a good thing that the U.S. will allow travel from countries previously banned due to COVID-19 as Central Florida continues to rebound from the pandemic. Airport and tourism leaders say they agree.

This comes as a new virgin Atlantic flight is scheduled to arrive to Orlando International Airport Monday afternoon from Europe.

“We can’t close it forever,” said Tabitha Wringle, who is traveling from Wisconsin.

Jerry Leonard, who is from Ireland but lives in Atlanta, agreed.

“I think it’s good,” Leonard said. “I’m glad to see it opening back up again.”

Beginning Monday, the U.S. will allow international travel from countries that were previously banned because of COVID, such as South Africa, Brazil, China, and most of Europe.

But for the most part, passengers MUST be vaccinated.

“We have to get there eventually,” Wringle said.

At OIA, the first Virgin Atlantic flight from Manchester, England is scheduled to arrive at 3:05 p.m. Monday.


“I came from overseas so it was a long time before I was able to get back again and I want to go back and see family,” Leonard said. “People want to see each other face-to-face again.”

Visit Orlando said it has been running international campaigns this fall promoting travel to Central Florida.

“We’re excited to have travel back, especially for the holiday season,” said Denise Spiegel, a Visit Orlando spokesperson.

With the border reopening Monday, international seat capacity on flights through OIA has risen by 40,000 from October to November.

It’s scheduled to increase by an additional 88,000 seats from international destinations in December.

“Pre-pandemic international visitors spent more than $6 billion in central Florida, so we excited for that recovery,” Spiegel said.

Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.

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Listen in: Travel writer Simon Veness talks the next British invasion, as Orlando prepares to welcome back UK travelers next week – Central Florida News

Orlando International Airport will begin welcoming back fully vaccinated international passengers on Monday for the first time since the start of the pandemic. 

In 2022 alone, some 765,000 people from the UK are expected to visit the theme parks bringing in an estimated $765 million dollars to the local economy.

WMFE spoke with Simon Veness of Veness Travel Media about this latest tourism-based British invasion.

Read the full interview below or listen to it by clicking on the link at the top. 

Simon: Virgin Atlantic will set the ball rolling with two flights, I believe, from the UK, one from London and one from Manchester. And they’re going to be using their A350, which is the best part of 400 passengers per plane. We understand that they are absolutely full for the first few flights. So we’re certainly going to see, you know, nearly 1,000 people a day coming into MCO from the UK via Virgin Atlantic, and then British Airways will chip in from November 15th, with a daily flight from London, and probably another 350 plus. So it’s going to be an exciting and busy time for Orlando International Airport.

Danielle: You know, I have a question about pent-up demand. When I think about the Midwest, where I’m from, there are so many people that were so excited to come back when they thought it was safe. Do you think that’s going to be the case? We’re just going to see this huge surge?

Simon: Yes, I mean, within reason, yes. I think that there is a huge pent-up demand for Florida because it’s such a popular long haul market for the UK. And we have so many people who are dedicated to coming here, you know, every year pretty much. So there are an awful lot of people ready to come back. Obviously, the one sort of not necessarily snag, but the one possible drag on the proceedings will be the new regulations that everyone has to follow to visit the US from outside countries at the moment by air in terms of being fully vaccinated, in terms of taking a COVID test no more than three days in advance of their flight here. And also, for children under 18, they will also be required to take a second COVID test, once they’ve you know, once they’re here between three to five days after arrival. So there are quite a few hoops that people will need to jump through, which I think might just act as just a little bit of a an inhibitor for the initial rush. But I think once we get through this opening period, and we can see how everything works. I’m sure we’ll see even more people coming in and more flights, especially in the run up to the Christmas period.

Danielle: You know, do you think we’re gonna see kind of that sector of our tourism industry, you know, kind of come back to what it was before the pandemic right away? Some people are saying 2023? Are you still hearing some people even maybe have concerns coming to Florida after what they’ve seen in the news about the Delta variant?

Simon: Yeah, I mean, I think that there’s a there’s a very realistic understanding that that the virus hasn’t gone away. It’s still part of our lives, and we still need to take account of it. But you know, once we’ve got people fully vaccinated, I think that will act as something that really gets people comfortable with the idea of traveling again, especially, you know, a long haul flight when they will still be required to wear masks. It’s going to be a little bit awkward at first, but I do think people will get into the routine very quickly. And once they can see that the new systems are in place and are working and it’s smooth and it’s just one more process if you like in the long haul travel. I think we’ll see the UK market come back to Florida very consistently in 2022. And not only that, we’re gonna see some new faces here as well. Because with all that Disney are doing for their 50th anniversary, it’s going to be very much in the hearts and minds of the UK audience.

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Visit Orlando expecting influx of international tourists as travel ban gets lifted

ORLANDO, Fla. – The U.S. will lift its ban on international travelers effective Friday, Nov. 8, and it appears folks from all over the world are itching to get back to America’s tourist destinations.

The announcement from the Biden administration is a big deal for so many parts of the country, including Central Florida, and Orlando tourism officials have already started marketing to Europeans.

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President and CEO of Visit Orlando Casandra Matej spoke with anchor Justin Warmoth on “The Weekly on ClickOrlando.com” while on her trip to London to discuss the impacts the move will have on tourism and the local economy.

“We are so excited, and it couldn’t have been better timing,” Matej said. “Visit Orlando is in London literally inviting our UK friends back to Orlando because we’re open, we know you can travel safely and we now know the protocols.”

Those protocols include proof of vaccination and enhanced testing.

International tourists contribute an estimated $6 billion to the Central Florida economy every year, according to Matej.

Watch the full interview in the video player above.

Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.

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10 Tips For a Trip To Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL

Are you planning a trip to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL? This October, Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, will begin an 18-month long celebration of its 50th Anniversary, providing generations of kids (and kids at heart) with lifelong memories. 

“The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, will last from October 1, 2021, until April 1, 2023. That means there’s still time to save up for and plan your family trip to the most magical place on earth! 

Kidding Around Contributor and former Florida resident, Melanie, shared some of her secrets to getting the most out of a trip to Walt Disney World Resort. So grab those Mickey Ears, and let’s get busy planning a trip to visit him in sunny Orlando, Florida. 

Disney World fireworks

Planning A Trip To Walt Disney Resort in Orlando, Florida 

Whether this is your family’s first trip or you’re a seasoned Disneyphile, planning a trip to “The Happiest Place On Earth” can be a stressful, confusing undertaking. Constantly changing health protocols and planning deadlines, make a trip to the Walt Disney World Resort more work in advance than most domestic vacations. 

But it’s ok. You can do this, and you have a seasoned Disney visitor who’s been through the “Disney College of Knowledge” training that travel reps go through on your team! So let’s get started with those tips! 

1. Do Your Research 

If you’re a fan of podcasts, then I highly recommend Shannon Albert’s WDW Prep School! She has all the info you’ll need to stay up-to-date with policies and changes at the park. She’s an excellent free resource, and with everything surrounding COVID-19 changing things continuously, it’s good to have the latest info. 

If podcasts aren’t your thing, or you don’t have the time to do homework for a vacation; then I encourage you to at least keep these links handy: 

  • WDW COVID-19 Response
  • WDW Face Covering Guidelines
    The Resort has specific requirements for what they will accept as a face mask, so unless you want to get stuck at the gate paying $2 for a disposable mask – make sure you have the proper masks for your trip if they are currently required within the resort. 
  • WDW Crowd Calendar on WDW Prep School
    Most families have a restricted window for when they can visit due to school schedules. If that’s the case, this information won’t be as helpful. However, if your schedule allows for some flexibility, use this crowd estimator calendar to help you plan your trip around busier days in the parks. 

It’s also worth looking at the changes planned in the coming months: 

  • The new WDW Annual Pass options will begin September 8th, 2021. The price increase, and restructured benefits now exclude some popular perks for pass holders. 
  • FastPass and FastPass+ will be retired and replaced with Lightning Lane. This new fee based option ($15 a day) will allow guests to schedule a ride time, one at a time, for popular attractions. 
  • The addition of a personal concierge type service on the My Disney Experience app – Disney Genie will assist guests with planning out their day. 
Wyndam Disney Springs Resort lobby
The Wyndham Disney Springs Resort

2. Stay At A Walt Disney Resort Partner Hotel 

This section contains Stay22 Affiliate links.

While I used to advocate staying on property and in a Disney-owned hotel, several things have changed my thoughts on that. First, I now recommend people select a Disney Springs Resort Area Hotel. There are six hotels to choose from, and while Disney doesn’t own them, there are still WDW perks included! 

My kids and I discovered Wyndham Lake Buena Vista/ Disney Springs Resort Area last year. We loved it so much this past fall; we visited again in the spring! The value, location, and amenities at this hotel make it a perfect choice. Depending on the location your room window faces, you’ll be able to enjoy the Epcot fireworks from the comfort of bed like we did!

Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels all provide transportation to the parks, a discount booklet for use at Disney Springs, and the use of “Early Magic Hours” daily. The only *benefit given at an on-property resort location that isn’t at these is the “complimentary” magic bands. But, that’s ok, with the money saved, you can purchase your own from the Disney Online Shop. *The perk of free Magic Bands with a stay at a Disney Resort is being phased out in the fall of 2021.

The Wyndham has Mickey waffles for breakfast and one of the only Character meals outside the park! The pool area has a splash area for kids, a lap pool, a hot tub, and a snack bar. If you do stay at the Wyndham, and I can’t stress this enough – DO NOT leave without getting one of the massive donuts from the lobby Jeoffrey’s coffee shop. Trust Me.

donut collage

3. Pay For Your Trip With Disney Gift Cards

Take the money you will use for park tickets, food, and other Disney Purchases and use it to buy gift cards. No, this isn’t some crazy scheme. 

Ok, maybe it is. 

But, as expensive as it is to take a trip to WDW, saving at every possible opportunity is ideal. Wholesale stores like Costco and Sam’s sell multipacks of Disney Gift Cards to reduce the face value. It’s not much, only about 3%, but if you spend several days at the parks with your family – the savings add up. 

Disney palm trees

4. Don’t Opt-In For The Park Hopper Ticket Option 

Before I get angry emails from people, let me just preface this by saying: every family is different, and what doesn’t work for me might be perfect for yours if you use Park Hopper religiously; great. 

Depending on the age of your children, I would say skip the Park Hopper Tickets. Travel agents will push them, but you should consider the inflated ticket price carefully first. In my experience with young children, it’s just not worth the extra cost for the privilege to come and go from parks throughout the day. During a week-long stay – we used it twice. The hundreds of additional dollars to our trip for that luxury could have been spent on something else. 

Having said that, if you are traveling with teens, and your itinerary includes split days where half the day the family is together, and the other half teens and parents go their separate ways, it would not be a terrible idea. That way, the family can spend the afternoon in one park and then explore other parks on their own at night. But, of course, I still would only recommend this if you have the money to check off all the other boxes on your WDW bucket list. 

Disney pins
This is one of my most cherished memories of that trip to Disney! 

5. Pin Trading At Walt Disney World Is A Must Do For Young Kids

Pin trading is the solution if you are looking for a clever way to get your child distracted from all the shiny expensive souvenirs in the parks. 

Disney fans take pin trading very seriously, but it can also be a fun distraction in the parks and a way for your child to interact with cast members that aren’t in character costumes. 

You can start by purchasing a bulk set of trading pins off of Amazon or eBay. It doesn’t matter what pins you get because trading them is more challenging if you start with ones you like. You just need to ensure the pins are backed with the authentic black, rubber Mickey head backing. Cast members can only trade for those. 

My kids and I try to collect a theme. We’ve collected Alice in Wonderland theme (Cheshire Cat), The Muppets, The Little Mermaid, Character Cupcakes, Star Wars, and others. Cast members all wear lanyards, and each gift shop has at least one pin trading board to pick from. 

The distraction of seeking out pins, cast members, and pin trading boards helps distract kids from the souvenir onslaught coming from every direction. Plus, it makes for some incredible memories. 

Speaking of souvenirs. 

Disney souvenir secrets
My secret souvenir spot is a great place to get matching family shirts! 

6. Head Here To Buy All The Disney Souvenirs 

I have a secret spot where you can find authentic Disney brand souvenirs at a fraction of the cost. 

  • The ponchos you’ll need when it starts to downpour in the park
  • Mickeys ears 
  • Disney shirts 
  • Stuffed animals
  • Key chains 
  • Tote bags
  • Beach towels 
  • Disney hats 
  • Anything you can think of to purchase! Even Disney pins, with the year, stamped on them. We like to get them every time we go to mark the occasion. 

So, where is this magical place? This well-guarded secret of mine? 

Walmart, but not just any location. It needs to be the one at this Kissimmee, FL Walmart location. The Disney souvenir section is half the size of a Walmart neighborhood market. It’s massive and worth a stop when you get into town. 

Disney Springs

7. Get A GPS locator tag for your stroller 

If you don’t have young children, you can skip right over this and head to the next tip. 

However, if you have stroller-age children and plan to utilize a stroller in the park, invest in a GPS tag to zip tie to the bottom of it. One of the most problematic things that occur within the Disney parks is the moving of strollers. Depending on when it happens, it can chew through an excessive amount of time while you search for it or completely ruin the day if it’s raining. 

It took us an hour in the rain to find our stroller after lunch when it happened to us. That was the end of our day. The $30 apple tag investment will pay for itself multiple times over in the time not wasted within the park if it happens to you. 

Disney at Walmart

8. Pack Young Children’s Lunches 

The kids’ meals in the parks mainly consist of chicken fingers or Uncrustable brand sandwiches. However, the parks allow you to bring in soft-sided coolers, so we took full advantage of that. 

I found a cute Mickey-themed soft-sided lunch bag in the dollar bin at Target and used that each day to create a “Happy Mickey Meal” for my son. It included the same Uncrustable food the other kids in the park were eating, and a Good 2 Grow brand juice sipper with a Disney character topper, a snack, and a little piece of Mickey candy. Packing a kid’s lunch allowed him to start eating as soon as he became hungry without waiting in a line to order and receive food. 

Meeting Mickey at Disney World

9. Choose Your Sit Down Dining Reservations Wisely 

Keep in mind that even with reservations at some in-park restaurants, you’ll need to wait. This is problematic in that: a) you’ve already paid handsomely to be there, b) now you are paying to wait so that you can pay some more. 

For this reason, if you’re visiting the parks during peak time, I would skip the in-park meals that are hard to book. Instead, there are opportunities to do meet and greet character meals outside of the park. 

The only in-park meal that I highly recommend is the Tusker House character meal at Animal Kingdom. It’s easily one of the most under-appreciated character meals within the resort. Tusker House Restaurant serves a buffet of African, Middle Eastern, and American cuisine. Guests are guaranteed to meet some of their favorite characters, including Donald, Goofy, Minnie, and Pluto, dressed in their Animal Kingdom safari outfits.

Outside of the parks, I would attend this Disney Resort meal every day if time, money, and distance were different – the Luau at the Polynesian. The dinner is served family-style, and it’s worth every penny. If the Luau isn’t in the budget, you can also visit the Polynesian to grab a dole whip and admire the view. Every year, my kids and I snap a family photo in the unique “Great Ceremonial House,” which serves as the hotel lobby. 

Dole Whip at the Polynesian
Dole Whip at the Polynesian Walt Disney World Resort 

10. Enjoy The 50th Anniversary of the Walt Disney World Resort

Beginning October 1st, 2021, the Happiest Place on earth will begin its 18-month, 50th-anniversary celebration! 

If you want to visit the park during the celebration, you need to book your trip as soon as possible. Within minutes of the anniversary announcement, days at the park started selling out at the current reduced capacity. That was months ago when the information about the anniversary was made public. 

Changes made in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World include: 

  • Mickey and Minnie will dress for the occasion in outfits fit for a celebration as big as this!
  • Cinderella’s Castle will be decorated for the occasion in Gold bunting and a 50th-anniversary plaque. 
  • Spaceship Earth at Epcot will have new reflective lights added to the surface permanently. 
  • Magical fireflies will surround the Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom Park.
  • The Hollywood Tower Hotel at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will have new unique features for the celebration.

More information about the 50th Anniversary Celebration at Walt Disney World Resorts can be found online. 

Disney character autographs

Bonus Tips! 

  • Skip the autograph books and opt instead to bring a photo mat for characters to autograph! Then frame your vacation photos with them! 
  • Check out the event schedule at the WDW resort locations. For example, Fort Wilderness offers a campfire moonlight movie that features Chip ‘n Dale, which is free to attend. Fort Wilderness also has horse stables that offer pony rides for a minimal fee. (Check the status of events – they are currently suspended due to COVID-19)
  • Unless the promotion you book includes the meal plan for free, or you have ravenous teenagers to feed, do the math before paying for the meal plan. People often struggle to eat all of the food included, and eating ala carte is usually less expensive than the meal plan. 
  • Venture outside of the Walt Disney Resort Property. Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando is gorgeous and includes a Disney Amphitheatre! 
  • If you travel the east coast often, invest in a UNI pass.
    It’s a universal car toll transponder that covers systems in 18 different states on the eastern seaboard. For example, the toll roads in Orlando sneak up on you, and having this pass on your car is a great stress reducer for when you are stuck in Orlando traffic and get pushed into a toll road (it happens); you can just zip through stress free. It also makes travel into Atlanta easier if you frequently do that. It also discounts the toll rate, so if you travel frequently, it will pay for itself quickly.

Do you have a great hack for a trip to Walt Disney World?

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Southwest blames travel woes on hourslong shutdown at Orlando airport

ORLANDO, Fla. – Southwest Airlines issued a statement on Thursday about its recent travel woes, saying they were caused, in part, because Orlando International Airport was closed for seven hours late last week due to weather.

Southwest later amended the letter from airline President and COO Mike Van de Ven, saying OIA was closed for several, not seven, hours.

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Storms moved through Central Florida on Friday, but it’s not known if OIA was shut down for hours. News 6 has reached out to the airport for comment but has not yet heard back.


The airline said it was unable to fly in or out of Orlando while the airport was closed.

“About a quarter of Southwest’s Crew assignments include at least one Florida city. One of our largest Crew Bases is at Orlando International Airport, and that airport was shut to departing and arriving air traffic for several hours on Friday—preventing the flow of aircraft and Crews into the network,” the statement reads.

Southwest canceled thousands of flights earlier this week, leading many to speculate that the airlines’ recent COVID vaccine mandate prompted a “sickout” from pilots and staff. The airline and the pilots union, however, dispute that claim.


Five days after the cancellations began, the airline said it was mostly back on schedule.

No other airlines suffered any similar setbacks over the past week.

In its letter, Southwest apologized for the delays and flight cancellations and promised to make changes to avoid similar issues in the future.

Below is the full letter from Southwest:

I’d like to address the operational challenges we faced recently and offer an explanation of what happened. But first, let me begin with our heartfelt apology to everyone whose travel was disrupted by these events: we are truly sorry.

The operational disruption began on Friday and was initially created by weather and air traffic constraints that stalled our Florida operations for many hours. As a result, our aircraft and Crews were not in their pre-planned positions to operate our schedule on Saturday. Unfortunately, the out-of-place aircraft and Crew resources created additional cancelations across our point-to-point network that cascaded throughout the weekend and into Monday and Tuesday. Weather and air traffic constraints were not an issue beyond Friday, but it took us several days to re-set our network after the initial challenges.


Despite widespread rumors and speculation, the weekend challenges were not a result of unusual Southwest Employee activity, and there simply is nothing in our data that indicates that particular reason. Our Employees worked heroically in the midst of these adverse conditions and many came in on off days, or flew additional trips, to help the airline recover. I offer my sincere thanks and appreciation for their tireless work and dedication to serving our Customers.

I’m sure you are curious as to why Friday’s challenges impacted Southwest more than other airlines. For starters, flying to and from Florida is a large portion of our schedule, and disruptions to Florida quickly spread throughout our network given our point-to-point flying. In fact, approximately 40-50% of Southwest’s aircraft fly through Florida on any given day.

Additionally, about a quarter of Southwest’s Crew assignments include at least one Florida city. One of our largest Crew Bases is at Orlando International Airport, and that airport was shut to departing and arriving air traffic for several hours on Friday—preventing the flow of aircraft and Crews into the network.


We’ve said numerous times, the pandemic is unprecedented and extremely complex—it was messy going into it, and it’s messy as we fight to emerge from it. Going forward, our number one focus is to hire more people—with a goal of hiring more than 5,000 by the end of the year and with 50% of the goal already met.

Additionally, we continue to evaluate potential network schedule changes to mitigate operational risks as we head into the holidays. There is certainly more work to be done as we approach November, and our Teams are dedicated to doing that work to support a reliable operation.

Again, I fully realize that any attempt at an explanation falls short of our ultimate goal of delivering you to your destination on time with our typical Southwest hospitality. You expect and deserve better Customer Service from us, and we are committed to making necessary adjustments to deliver on that expectation.


We are doing our best to proactively reach out to Customers whose travel plans were impacted to offer our apologies and invite them to give us another chance to earn their business. If Customers require assistance from Southwest, they can use one of the airline’s self-service options for convenience or Contact Us via one of the methods listed on Southwest.com.

I want to thank our People, and especially our frontline Employees, who have worked around the clock to help Customers impacted by these challenges. They are our true heroes.

Finally, I want to offer my sincere apologies once again to every Customer affected over the past week, and I humbly invite you to give us another chance to make it up to you on your next trip.

Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.

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Summer travel rebound continues at Orlando International Airport

The airport saw more than 3.5 million travelers.

Travelers line up to go through a TSA checkpoint at Orlando International Airport before the Memorial Day weekend Friday, May 28, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Travelers line up to go through a TSA checkpoint at Orlando International Airport before the Memorial Day weekend Friday, May 28, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Summer travel made an impressive rebound in Central Florida this past August.

More than 3.5 million travelers came through the Orlando International Airport. This is a 210% increase from last year, according to a release from the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority.

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Compared to numbers before the pandemic, traffic decreased by 15%.


Domestic travel increased by 196.73% in August, and international travel increased by 1,300% in the last year.

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Boscov’s Travel Revives 2021 Charter Schedule from AVP to Orlando

AVOCA — Wilkes-Bar / Scranton International Airport announced on Friday that Boskov’s trip will revive the 2021 charter schedule from Sunday to Orlando, Florida.

Direct flights booked on Southwest Airlines depart early Sunday morning and return the following Saturday night to stay in Orlando for seven days with a vacationing family at the expense of a six-night hotel stay.

This is the 45th consecutive year of Boskov travel and offers a direct charter from Wilkes-Barre / Scranton International Airport to Orlando.

For more information, please visit the following URL: boscovstravel.com..

Boscov’s Travel Revives 2021 Charter Schedule from AVP to Orlando

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Orlando International nearing pre-pandemic travel levels

ORLANDO, Fla. — The upcoming Memorial Day holiday is expected to be the busiest travel period at Orlando International Airport since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What You Need To Know

  •  The Memorial Day holiday is expected to be the busiest travel period for OIA since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic
  •  Airport officials expect 300,000 departing passengers in 2021, compared to 45,415 in 2020
  • Experts say traffic levels at OIA are getting close to 90% of their pre-pandemic levels

Often touted as the unofficial start to Summer, Memorial Day is predicted to bring more than 64,000 departing passengers through Orlando International Airport on Monday alone.

The 64,739 passenger mark predicted for Monday is below the same day in 2019 (70,182) but a huge increase compared to Memorial Day 2020 (12,454) when the tourism and travel industry were in the brunt of the pandemic.

In total, airport officials expect 300,000 departing passengers during a six day period around Memorial Day, compared to 45,415 departing passengers at the same point the year before.

“Our Memorial Day holiday passenger forecast indicates that we are approaching 90% of pre-pandemic levels, which is a testament to the resiliency of Central Florida,” said Phil Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority. “A combination of factors, including the vaccines, availability of seats into the market and pent-up demand, all point to a potentially strong summer travel season.”

In May 2020, during the peak of the pandemic shutdown, Brown told Spectrum News air traffic was down 98%

While flights are increasing in and out of Orlando, officials are reminding passengers that pandemic-era rules remain in place.

The Transportation Security Administration extended rules requiring passengers on planes, trains, and buses to wear masks while inside airports, train and bus stations, and while in transit. The requirement is in effect until September 13.

Those who violate the rules could face fines of $250-$1,500.

The FAA just proposed tens of thousands of dollars in fines against five unruly passengers, including some on a series of Florida flights. 

One passenger is facing a $10,500 fine after reportedly becoming abusive after being kicked off a jetBlue flight from Orlando to New York after the passenger refused to comply with mask wearing rules. 

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Preview | Orlando Pride Travel to North Carolina on Saturday

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 21, 2021) – The Orlando Pride (0-0-1, 1 point) head out on the road to face the North Carolina Courage (0-0-1, 1 point) on Saturday, May 22 at WakeMed Soccer Park. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET. The match will be available to stream on Paramount+, with international viewers able to tune in on Twitch.

“They are a very, very difficult opponent. It’s going to be a tough challenge,” Orlando Pride Head Coach Marc Skinner said. “We need to do more than we did last time, however, we’ve got to add more of a threat going forward and the clinical kind of chances we want to create. I think we know how to do that and it’s just us having that consistency playing together that will create more opportunities for us to score and win the game.”

The Pride and Courage will look to break a deadlock dating back their last three contests, with two scoreless draws and a 3-3 result through their last trio of fixtures. Most recently, the Pride brought a point home to The City Beautiful from WakeMed Soccer Park in a scoreless draw on May 1 to conclude play in the NWSL Challenge Cup.

Orlando enters Saturday’s match after battling to a 1-1 draw with the Washington Spirit in its regular season opener this past Sunday. Ashley Hatch opened the scoring late, getting her head on a cross in the 76th minute before being answered by Alex Morgan in the 84th for the equalizer. 

Morgan’s goal served as her first since the 2018 campaign, now the fourth member of the side to find the back of the net in the calendar year. Defender Phoebe McClernon registered the first goal contribution of her professional career on that very finish, earning the assist.

North Carolina also opened their 2021 regular season with a draw, a scoreless outing at Cheney Stadium against the OL Reign. Goalkeeper Casey Murphy recorded three saves for the Courage to keep the Reign scoreless and bring a point back to North Carolina.

Debinha finished as the Challenge Cup’s leading scorer with three finishes, while teammate Jessica McDonald led the league in assists with three to her credit.

Following Saturday’s match the Pride face a quick turnaround, set to take on the Portland Thorns on Wednesday, May 26 at Exploria Stadium before hosting Kansas City for the first time in The City Beautiful on Sunday, May 30. 

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