A Guide to Florida Air Travel

Downtown Tampa, Florida skyline with an airplane
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There are so many airlines out there... and so much information floating around. How do you choose an airline without wading through it all? Comparison sites like Orbitz and Travelocity are two of my favorites — where just a click serves up several available airline flights at one time. If you already know the airline you will be flying, About's Air Travel Guide has put together helpful essentials for each major airline around the world — websites, phone number, links to seat maps and airline code.

Choosing a flight to or from Florida is a matter of time and economics — booking flights as far in advance as possible can save a family hundreds of dollars. At the same time, while every region of Florida is served by major airlines, choosing the right airport can save time and vacation dollars as well. Smaller regional airports may be served by fewer airlines, but those airlines often offer great deals to fill planes. Regional airports may also be closer to your final destination, saving on those rental car miles and high priced gasoline.

On the other hand, sometimes it pays to drive farther to the airport, or so says About's Budget Travel Guide, Mark Kahler. In his article Shopping for Airports, he simply states, "Logic often has little to do with budget travel." He proves his point with specific money-saving examples.

01 of 05

Florida Airport Directory

Behind the scenes at Fort Lauderdale International Airport
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Daytona Beach International DAB

Located 3 miles southeast of Daytona Beach.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International FLL
Located 4 miles southwest of Fort Lauderdale.

Gainesville Regional GNV
Located 4 miles northeast of Gainesville.

Jacksonville International JAX
Located 18 miles north of Jacksonville.

Key West International EYW
Located southeast corner of Key West.

Marathon Airport MTH
In Marathon at mile marker 52.

Melbourne Regional MLB
Located 2 miles northwest of Melbourne.

Miami International MIA
Located 9 miles northwest of Miami.

Naples Municipal Airport APF
Located 4.5 miles southwest of I-75 in Naples.

Orlando International MCO
Located 7 miles southeast of Orlando.

Orlando/Sanford International SFB
Two miles east of Sanford.

Palm Beach International PBI
Located 3 miles west of West Palm Beach.

Pensacola Regional PNS
Located 3 miles northeast of Pensacola.

Southwest Florida International RSW
Located 8 miles southeast of Fort Myers.

Sarasota/Bradenton International SRQ
Three miles north of Sarasota.

St. Petersburg-Clearwater International PIE
Located 9 miles north of St. Petersburg.

Tallahassee Regional
Located 7 miles northwest of Tallahassee.

Tampa International TPA
Located 8 miles west of Tampa.

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02 of 05

Miami International Airport

The sign for Miami Beach and International Airport
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Miami International Airport is among the busiest airports in the world with over 80 airlines serving MIA to some 150 destinations around the globe. That translates into some 1,100 arrivals and departures daily. Among U.S. airports in 2004, MIA ranked third in international passengers and 15th in total passengers with about 30 million.

Miami International Airport is well into a capital improvement program, expanding the terminal size from 3.5 million square feet in 1995 to 4.7 million square feet today. Further development of the North and South Terminals will add an additional 2.7 million square feet. The project includes ongoing expansion of cargo facilities, parking facilities, and the MIA Mover. Completion of the project in 2005/2006 will provide a total of 100 international gates, 30 domestic gates, 556 ticket counters, and 120 self-serve devices.

Located nine miles northwest of Miami, Miami International Airport features a wide selection of restaurants, shops, and other services. An airport "Mover" transports passengers to bus and railway stations, making the airport part of a unique mass transit system within Miami.

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03 of 05

Airport Safety and Security

Going through airport security
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After the World Trade Center attacks, air travel changed forever. Long lines, luggage security checks, and pat-downs have become a way of life for passengers. Unfortunately, airport security nightmares still happen, including stories of passengers turned away from flights because an illness has changed their appearance. Here are links to help you prepare for airport security and keep you safe while traveling.

Airport Safety

Top 10 Airline Safety Tips

You've packed your luggage and planned your flight itinerary. However, because air travel is constantly changing it's important to consider elements of travel that don't necessarily mean more items placed in a suitcase, or charged to a credit card.

Airport Security

Airport Security Prohibited Items from the Transportation Security Administration.

Can't remove your shoes? This is what to do according to the Transportation Security Administration. How to Prepare for Airport Security Screening - Keep these tips in mind to make going through Security less stressful.​

Future Technology

Biometrics - In what would have seemed like a science fiction movie only a few decades ago, companies are developing and testing finger and palm print identification and iris identification that may be used in future airport security.

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04 of 05

Air Travel Tips

Follow the rules about bringing strollers to the gate
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Here are links to practical tips and advice for all — even the most seasoned air traveler.

Airport Parking on a Budget
Learn about ways to save on those ugly airport parking costs, so you can spend more money on fun stuff.

Bereavement Fares - Emergency Air Travel
Details about airfares that are offered when you are traveling for a funeral or serious illness.

Fear of Flying
Lots of people are afraid to fly — including children. 

Help... My Flight is Oversold!
The oversold flight, just another joy of air travel! What is an oversold flight? Why are flights overbooked? And what are your options if your flight has too many passengers and not enough seats?

How to Survive Plane Rides with Small Kids
Practical instructions on snacks, strollers, what to bring on the plane, etc.

Luggage Screening
Stricter airport measures for checked luggage became reality on January 1, 2003. It affects all passengers traveling to, from or through U.S. airports.

Packing Tips for Air Travelers
Whether traveling by car, plane or train – this printable packing checklist is a must.

Packing a Carry-On for Kids
Carry-on advice and packing "must haves" for every age child from babies to teens.

Strollers and the Gate
Part of the travel experience with young children is toting along a stroller, for use at the airport. Here's what you will likely experience if traveling with child and stroller.

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05 of 05

Flight Trackers and Airport Photos

Aerial view of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
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Flight Trackers

There are a variety of flight trackers that can be found all over the Internet. These are a few of my favorites because the mapping and graphics are the best. Most simply require airline and flight number.

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