Disney World Travel Chaos: More Airlines Suspend Operations, Leaving Visitors Stranded

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A woman dressed as Cinderella at a Disney theme park with a castle in the background, viewed from a sunlit patio with chairs, as a plane flies overhead in a clear sky.

Credit: Inside The Magic

Concerns are mounting as more airlines cease operations at Walt Disney World Resort.

The interior of a United Airlines flight on its way to Walt Disney World Resort.
Credit: United Airlines

Another Budget Airlines Ceases Operations Into Orlando, Making Things More Difficult for Disney World Guests

As airport director Craig Williams confirmed, Avelo Airlines has temporarily suspended its direct flights from Kalamazoo to Orlando. This pause in service, described by Williams as a “season hiatus,” is expected to be temporary, with plans for the service to resume later.

The last scheduled flight to Orlando departed on April 8, and Avelo has indicated that the service is slated to recommence in November. However, a specific date for the resumption of flights has yet to be announced. This temporary suspension of service mirrors similar actions taken at several other small airports in the Midwest also served by Avelo, where this flight option has been temporarily halted.

This marks the fifth or sixth airline to pause or do away with direct flights into MCO in just a few weeks. Avelo joins Lynx Air, Spirit Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and JetBlue Airlines. Here are the specifics surrounding these operational closures.

Canada's Lynx Air airline with the Magic Kingdom castle and crowds in the background.
Credit: Inside The Magic

Spirit, JetBlue, Lynx, and Others Stop Operations Into MCO to Disney World

In October 2022, Lynx Air unveiled plans to introduce flight services to and from Orlando International Airport (MCO). By January 2023, the airline had successfully launched these flights. However, nearly a year later, Lynx Air was forced to halt its operations, effective February 26, 2024. The decision to cease operations was attributed to a combination of factors, including escalating operating expenses, elevated fuel prices, and mounting airport charges.

A recent development brings disappointing news for travelers who fly non-stop from Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina to Orlando, Florida. Spirit Airlines has opted to discontinue its non-stop flight service on this route. While there is a possibility that this route may be reinstated in the future, at present, travelers seeking a non-stop flight will need to explore alternative airline options.

Frontier Airlines has initiated route adjustments at Harrisburg International Airport in Middletown, PA, marking changes in their service offerings. Among these alterations is discontinuing the non-stop route from Harrisburg to Orlando. This particular route is scheduled to cease operations on May 13. Furthermore, additional route adjustments are anticipated, potentially leading to the termination of more flights to Orlando from Harrisburg International Airport.

A Frontier Airlines plane on route to Walt Disney World Resort on a clear, blue, sunny day.
Credit: Frontier Airlines

After June 2024, JetBlue has outlined plans to discontinue 15 routes from its flight network. Notably, one of these 15 routes includes service to Orlando. JetBlue’s decision is rooted in its objective to cease operations on financially unsustainable routes. Consequently, passengers departing from Salt Lake City will be required to seek alternative non-stop routes not serviced by JetBlue following the cessation of service in June.

In a statement issued on Thursday, February 22 of this year, Canadian budget airline Lynx Air disclosed its decision to file for court protection from creditors. The airline revealed its intention to cease operations by February 26. This strategic move comes in response to a series of formidable challenges, including the continuous rise in operating expenses, soaring fuel prices, and escalating airport charges.

Various airlines’ cancellations and cessation of operations are raising significant concerns for Walt Disney World guests.

A person with luggage inside of an airport on their way to Walt Disney World Resort.
Credit: Inside The Magic

Concerns and Worries Mount for WDW Guests as the Busy Summer Approaches

With airlines discontinuing routes to and from airports near Disney World, guests may find fewer flight options, potentially leading to increased difficulty in finding convenient and affordable travel arrangements, especially for those who prefer non-stop flights or have limited flexibility in their travel schedules.

Reduced competition among airlines operating near Disney World could result in higher airfares for remaining flight options, placing additional financial strain on guests, particularly families or individuals traveling on a budget.

Moreover, guests may be forced to choose alternative flight routes that involve layovers or connections, leading to longer travel times and potential inconvenience, especially for those traveling with young children or individuals with special needs.

A girl in a red dress happily kisses Mickey Mouse on the nose at Disney, with other visitors and the castle blurred in the background.
Credit: Inside The Magic

The uncertainty surrounding airline routes and operations may cause apprehension for guests planning future visits to Disney World, influencing their decisions to postpone or cancel travel plans altogether.

Delays, cancellations, or changes to flight itineraries can disrupt travel plans, leading to stress and frustration, potentially impacting their enjoyment of their Disney World vacation.

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