ORLANDO, Fla. – Approaching Thanksgiving, Orlando International Airport is one of the busiest in the country.
MCO just revised its projections for the holiday week and now expects to handle 14.5% more traffic than this time last year.
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The new $2.8 billion Terminal C, which opened in Sept. serving JetBlue and several international airlines, is helping with the crowds but still isn’t fully operational.
A warning for passengers hoping to pick up or drop off a rental car at Terminal C - the process still may be tricky and still may result in a long walk.
As of Tuesday evening, the only rental car company fully up and running in the Terminal C parking garage is Sixt. For all other rental cars, passengers must pick them up and drop them off in Terminal B.
That trip adds an additional 20 to 30 minutes, up and down escalators, riding the train and walking outside through the new parking garage.
The only other option is to take a temporary shuttle bus running between Terminals C and B.
Mr. and Mrs. Guys, 85 and 89-years-old, took the train from Terminal B, and by the time they arrived with their rollerboards at Terminal C, they were struggling.
“I’m exhausted,” Mrs. Guy said. “I’m 85 years old. I’m an old lady. You think I can walk this [expiative] terminal?”
A wheelchair assist worker, after completing the trek pushing a wheelchair, appeared exhausted.
“It’s a long walk between A and B to C, it’s about 30 minutes, 35 minutes,” the worker said.
On October 11th, MCO CEO Kevin Thibault told News 6 the rental cars were coming within weeks.
Tuesday afternoon, two days before Thanksgiving, spokesperson Carolyn Fennell said senior staff met with the rental car companies and learned that all companies are moving into the new Terminal C parking garage - for drop-offs only - starting Wednesday morning.
MCO Operations Chief Tom Draper said Tuesday night staff would change the signage for Terminal C passengers directing them to drop off rental cars at the new Terminal.
Fennel said the airport still doesn’t have a date on when car rental pick-ups for all companies will begin at Terminal C, noting that all companies operate independently.
Also, the temporary shuttle between Terminals C and B will now pick up passengers upstairs at the arrivals area of Terminal C for easier access instead of requiring Terminal C passengers to board the shuttle downstairs at the base of the new terminal.
Fennell asked for patience from passengers this holiday week and to check with airlines and car rental companies for specifics before coming to the airport. She urged arriving up to three hours before a flight.