Air Travel

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TRAVEL TIPS

Air Travel

Average flying time to Florida's international airports is 3 hours from New York, 4 hours from Chicago, 2¾ hours from Dallas, 4½–5½ hours from Los Angeles, and 8–8½ hours from London.

Airports

Florida has 21 commercial airports; the busiest are Orlando International Airport (MCO), Miami International Airport (MIA), Tampa (TPA), and Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport (FLL). Flying to alternative airports can save you both time and money. Fort Lauderdale is close to Miami, Palm Beach International (PBI) is close to Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota Bradenton International (SRQ) is close to Tampa. FLL is a 30-minute drive from MIA. And what you might lose in driving time between Sarasota and downtown Tampa you'll make up for in spades with shorter security lines and fewer in-terminal navigation woes at SRQ.

Flying to secondary airports can save you money, so price things out before booking. Sometimes one-way car rentals in Florida can be more cost-effective than shared van shuttles.

Airport Information

Daytona Beach International Airport. Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB)—southwest of the city and next to the international speedway—has service from American, Delta, and jetBlue. Car rentals from Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, and Thrifty are available, as well as other transport from assorted cab companies, shuttle services, and Votran, the Volusia County bus transit. You can park just steps from the terminal and your gate, or take advantage of curbside pickup or drop-off. Senior discount info is available at the information booth on the first floor. 700 Catalina Dr., Daytona Beach, Florida, 32114. 386/248–8030; www.flydaytonafirst.com.

Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport. South of downtown Fort Lauderdale and north of Hollywood, just west of Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport (FLL) offers more than 300 departures and arrivals daily. It's located adjacent to Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale's cruise complex. Many major airlines serve FLL, and the four terminals have free Wi-Fi. All major car-rental companies are represented. If you have a late-afternoon flight after a cruise, you can explore Fort Lauderdale by taking the free Sun Trolley to the beach, Las Olas shopping, or the riverwalk along New River. 100 Terminal Dr., Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 33315. 866/435–9355; www.broward.org/airport.

Jacksonville International Airport. Jacksonville International Airport (JAX), minutes north from downtown and the beaches, offers free Wi-Fi, convenient parking, and an array of shopping and dining options. It is served by many major airlines and car-rental companies, with Gator City Taxi and Go Airport Shuttle & Sedan of Jacksonville also authorized on-site. It's also the closest airport to St. Augustine. 2400 Yankee Clipper Dr., Jacksonville, Florida, 32218. 904/741–4902; www.flyjax.com.

Key West International Airport. About two miles east of downtown's Duval Street and the southernmost airport in the continental United States, Key West International Airport (EYW) is a single-runway facility serving carriers large and small. There are more than a dozen car rental options on arrival. 3491 S. Roosevelt Blvd., Key West, Florida, 33040. 305/809–5200; 305/296–5439; www.eywairport.com.

Miami International Airport. Subtropical, chaotic Miami International Airport (MIA), gateway to the Americas and a hub for American Airlines, is one of Florida's busiest airports, with service from more than 100 international and domestic carriers. There's the rather basic but soundproofed 259-room Hotel MIA (smack within Concourse E). The MIA Mover (a 1¼-mile-long people mover) connects to the Miami Car Rental Center, with nearly two dozen rental agencies. N.E. 20th St. and LeJeune Rd., Miami, Florida, 33126. 305/876–7000; www.miami-airport.com.

Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP), opened in 2010, with service from several major airlines. There is free Wi-Fi, and major car-rental companies operate out of the terminal. 6300 W. Bay Pkwy., Panama City, Florida, 32409. 850/763–6751; www.iflybeaches.com.

Orlando International Airport. As the second-busiest airport in Florida (after Miami), Orlando International Airport (MCO) seems to be in a constant state of upgrades. It is served by all major domestic and many international carriers and has an extensive car-rental facility, as well as a bus terminal for the Walt Disney World resorts. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the terminals. It's the closest airport to the major cruise terminal at Port Canaveral, about an hour away. 1 Jeff Fuqua Blvd., Orlando, Florida, 32827. 407/825–2001; www.orlandoairports.net.

Palm Beach International Airport. Palm Beach International Airport (PBI), with more than 160 flights daily, has flights to and from about 25 destinations from many major airlines. PBI does have parking at assorted pricing levels, including an economy lot. Fares for accessing South Florida airports can vary greatly, so if you're a penny-pincher, it might pay to check out the smaller, comparatively serene PBI, even if you're heading south to Fort Lauderdale or Miami; the former is less than an hour away, while Miami is a bit more than an hour. 1000 Palm Beach International Airport, West Palm Beach, Florida, 33406. 561/471–7420; www.pbia.org.

Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. Straddling Sarasota County for its terminal and Manatee County for its airfield, Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) offers free Wi-Fi and has service from several major airlines, as well as major car-rental companies. 6000 Airport Circle, Bradenton, Florida, 34243. 941/359–5200; www.srq-airport.com.

Southwest Florida International Airport. Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW), operated by the Lee County Port Authority, serves Fort Myers and nearby communities and hosts more than a dozen carriers that offer both domestic and international service. The LeeTran bus stop is on the arrivals level and an on-demand taxi fleet can take you as far as Everglades City. 11000 Terminal Access Rd., Fort Myers, Florida, 33913. 239/590–4800; www.flylcpa.com.

St. Petersburg–Clearwater International Airport. St. Petersburg–Clearwater International Airport (PIE) was expanded in 2017 and has service from a few smaller domestic carriers; it also has car-rental offices and offers free Wi-Fi. United Taxi, Yellow Cab, and Super Shuttle serve the airport. 14700 Terminal Blvd., Clearwater, Florida, 33762. 727/453–7800; www.fly2pie.com.

Tampa International Airport. Tampa International Airport (TPA), 6 miles west of downtown, is sometimes used as a convenient alternative arrival point for travelers heading to Orlando, about an hour east. TPA connects with more than 80 domestic and international destinations and is a hub for Silver Airways. 4100 George J. Bean Pkwy., Tampa, Florida, 33607. 813/870–8700; www.tampaairport.com.

Ground Transportation

SuperShuttle service operates from several Florida airports: Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando, Sarasota Bradenton, St. Petersburg–Clearwater, Tampa, and the Palm Beaches. That said, most airports offer some type of shuttle or bus service.

If you book a shuttle from your hotel to the airport, allow at least 24 hours, and expect to be picked up at least 2½ hours before your scheduled departure.

Cab fares from Florida's larger airports into town can be high, and there can be a departure fee from an airport. (In Fort Lauderdale, that airport departure fee is $3.) Note that in some cities airport cab fares are a single flat rate; in others, flat-rate fares vary by zone; and in others still, the fare is determined by the meter. Private car service fares are usually higher than taxi fares.

Shuttle Service

SuperShuttle. SuperShuttle's blue vans are a saving grace at many Florida airports including Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, St. Petersburg, and Tampa, Advantages include often cheaper fares than county-regulated cabs. On the downside, you might need to wait awhile for your van to fill up, unless you're traveling with a small group, and drop-offs may require multiple stops. Advance reservations are required, but depending on the city and slow circumstances the "advance" can be after you land. 800/258–3826; www.supershuttle.com.

Flights

American Airlines. Flies to Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Fort Walton Beach, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Key West, Melbourne, Miami, Orlando, Pensacola, Sarasota, Tallahassee, Tampa, and the Palm Beaches 800/433–7300; www.aa.com.

Delta. Flies to Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Fort Walton Beach, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Key West, Melbourne, Miami, Orlando, Panama City, Pensacola, Sarasota, Tallahassee, Tampa, and the Palm Beaches. 800/221–1212; 800/241–4141; www.delta.com.

Frontier. Flies to Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Tampa. 800/432–1359; www.frontierairlines.com.

JetBlue. Flies to Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Key West, Sarasota, Tampa, and the Palm Beaches. 800/538–2583; www.jetblue.com.

Southwest. Flies to Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Key West, Orlando, Panama City, Pensacola, Tampa, and the Palm Beaches. 800/435–9792; www.southwest.com.

Spirit Airlines. Flies to Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Orlando, Tampa, and the Palm Beaches. 801/401–2200; www.spirit.com.

United. Flies to Daytona, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Fort Walton Beach, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Key West, Miami, Orlando, Panama City, Pensacola, Sarasota Bradenton, Tallahassee, Tampa, and the Palm Beaches. 800/864–8331; 800/538–2929; www.united.com.

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