Home Airports First Time This Has Happened To Us At Orlando Airport

First Time This Has Happened To Us At Orlando Airport

by joeheg

In early December 2021, we arrived at Orlando Airport for a flight to New York on JetBlue. Before leaving the house, I checked the flight status using FlightAware (which is one of my seven must-have travel apps) and everything looked on schedule.

We have a system worked out for how early we have to leave for the airport, which takes into account the time needed to drop off our dog at “camp,” drive to the off-site parking lot and get a shuttle to the airport, check in and drop off our bags, get through security and to the gates on the tram. We build in a buffer in case we experience any delays, which means if everything works as planned, we get to the airport earlier than necessary.

On this day, everything went like clockwork. Camp, no traffic, parking lot bus to the airport, only carry-on bags so skipped the counter, no line at CLEAR and short wait at TSA Precheck luggage check, tram to the gates with 60 minutes to spare before boarding time.

At MCO, the amenities at gates 1-29 are the least appealing of the four departure areas. There’s a food court, On The Border restaurant, and a Starbucks in the central area with other restaurants by the gates. Fortunately, there is also The Club MCO lounge. We prefer the other The Club MCO lounge near the Delta gates (which is our favorite of the lounges at MCO) but you can’t pass up convenience.

We walked through the open doors and waited for the guest at the deck to finish checking in. When we got to the counter, the agent said that the club was at capacity and if we wanted, we could leave our phone number and we’d get a text when space was available.

Since we had plenty of time, we found two seats in the main area and waited. It took about 10-15 minutes but as promised, we received a text.

When we entered the club, it was the emptiest we’d ever seen. While it can sometimes be difficult to find a seat, we had our choice of getting a table by the window, a recliner chair, or seats in the work area.

The Club MCO has made several changes since reopening which are still in place. You are no longer able to get your food. Instead, you tell the staff what you want, and they plate it if the items are not pre-wrapped. The same goes for coffee or soft drinks. The breakfast menu is limited to a few items.

The Club MCO has its own bathrooms, including a shower room. However, that’s also closed until further notice and is being used to store the bath furniture.

The lounge is capping capacity and I’m not sure if this is a COVID precaution or because they’re not able to fully staff the lounge.

All things considered, this was not a major inconvenience to our trip. It was just interesting that in all the times we’d used the club before, we’d never been told it was full. We still got to visit and grab some food before our flight. It was more comfortable than the alternative of waiting in line for 30 minutes for a Starbucks coffee and heading to a crowded gate area before our full flight to JFK.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

5 comments

Tammie January 13, 2022 - 2:22 pm

Similar thing happened to us at the Puerto Vallarta airport. Both lounges had signs saying they were full. I ended up asking the one next to our gate when we could get in since our flight got delayed and he just let us right in. We went in and although it wasn’t empty, it was hardly full. I’m just glad I asked since we ended up waiting 3 hours for our flight to board! It was much more comfortable instead of hanging out in the crowded and loud terminal that day.

Reply
CHRIS January 13, 2022 - 4:15 pm

Florida has no restrictions. This is just mismanagement.

Reply
joeheg January 13, 2022 - 4:19 pm

While Florida has no restrictions, management can choose to operate at whatever capacity it wants. That’s not the same as mismanagement.

Reply
DaninMCI January 13, 2022 - 5:46 pm

I hate to disagree but it is mismanagement. They are either using Covid as an excuse not to offer services or they haven’t handled their staff properly. The shower being closed is a good example of this.

Reply
Harrison January 14, 2022 - 8:10 am

I just went through yesterday and it was back to capacity but still with staff picking the items for you. We hit it right before 11am so we had breakfast and lunch.

Reply

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