Travel question: What’s the magic spell for cheap flights to Orlando?

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Simon Calder
Friday 28 June 2019 00:00 BST
It costs thousands to fly a family to Disney World
It costs thousands to fly a family to Disney World (Jedi94)

Q Are there any cheap flights to Orlando during the school summer holidays? Any tips you can share please? Losing the will to live now after spending days trawling the net.

Jason R

A Demand for flights from the UK to Florida soars in summer, and fares rise accordingly. I will do what I can to help, starting with the observation that it all depends what you mean by “school summer holidays”. Schools in Glasgow and many other places in Scotland break up today. On Saturday 29 June, British Airways will take you from Gatwick to Orlando and back for around £400 return. But from Glasgow airport, which is 228 miles closer to the Florida theme-park capital, the fare on Virgin Atlantic is over £1,000 return.

If you are travelling from England, you can take advantage of the discrepancy between school holiday dates by heading for the Scottish city during the last week in August, when the fare from Glasgow on Virgin Atlantic is slightly over £700.

On the same dates and same airline, Gatwick fares are close to £1,000. But if these options don’t work for your dates and location, then it’s a question of finding dodges that can nudge the cost down from that £1,000 figure.

Looking at the peak fortnight – out from the UK on 3 August for two weeks – the London area is definitely the best for cheaper travel. There is a good deal available right now on TUI Airways from Gatwick to Orlando’s second airport, Sanford, for £819 – or £741 for under-16s since they pay no air passenger duty. Note that this does not include any bags other than 10kg of hand luggage. Adding 20kg of checked baggage increases the cost by £70 per person.

I prefer the United Airlines deal of £733 return for adults, from Heathrow via Newark. The baggage charge is a hefty $120 (£95) return, but thankfully United allows two pieces of cabin luggage – one of 43l, the other of 23l. United’s standard Basic Economy limit is only the smaller piece but because a transatlantic flight is involved, you get the larger allowance even with a basic ticket.

I don’t suggest you wait to see if fares fall; during the main school holidays in England and Wales, that would be most unusual.

Every day our travel correspondent Simon Calder tackles a reader’s question. Just email yours to or tweet @simoncalder

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