Even though we are from Ontario we are exclusively flying from Detroit Airport when we head to Orlando. This is for a number of reasons, beyond just the better prices (though this is a major part of our decision). Keep in mind that you will have to factor in the exchange rate when purchasing flights, parking, etc. in Detroit so that will affect the price too.
Depending on where you live, flying from Detroit may not be your best option or even an option at all, but think about what airports are near you that might be your best option, including those in the United States.
Easy to Navigate
This applies to both the airport itself but also getting to the airport. It’s about the same drive for us to get to our closest major Canadian Airport (Toronto) but the traffic to Detroit Airport is much lighter.
The airport itself is much smaller and easy to get around, especially with kids in tow! It’s also less busy inside the airport itself and getting through security is much quicker, especially if you fly on a weekday.
We primarily fly to Orlando from Detroit so it’s a domestic flight. You go through customs when you drive across the border into the USA on your way to the airport. This is great for a few reasons…first, you only need to be at the airport two hours ahead of a domestic flight; international flights are three hours. Second, no declaration forms to fill out on the plane. This is especially nice if you’re flying with kids and spending the entire two hours juggling food and entertainment to curb boredom! Third, no customs when you land. You literally get off the plane and walk out of the airport (unless you need to retrieve checked luggage, don’t leave without that).
Great Parking Option
We always park with the same park and fly when we leave from Detroit. Valet Connections is 2km from the airport and is very reasonably priced. You drop your car off in an indoor parking garage, then wait for the shuttle indoors with comfy seating and access to bathrooms. They also display flight information on TV screens so you can check if your flight is on time. When you return to the garage at the end of your trip your car has been moved back inside and the snow is brushed off if it’s winter. Not having to brush off a car in shorts or bring winter coats with us on the plane is a huge perk.
Some people may be nervous about them moving your car to an offsite lot but we’ve parked with them dozens of times and have never had a problem
Yes, you read that right, Detroit Airport has a kids play area in the terminals. We generally head there as soon as we’re through security and stay until we board the plane. The kids get a couple of hours of playing and climbing before we get on the plane. By the time we board, they are ready for some downtime or even a nap (which feels a lot like winning the lottery). More airports need to install these playgrounds, it’s small and takes up very little space but is a huge win for us when travelling with the kids.
Last, but certainly not least, is cost. This is still our main motivating factor for flying from Detroit; the rest are simply perks on top of it. We fly fairly exclusively with Frontier Airlines. We simply have not found better prices; their flight times are generally good for us as well. We’ve heard horror stories about other “budget airlines” but we’ve flown with Frontier dozens of times with absolutely no problems. Flights are generally on time, the planes are clean and the crew has always been lovely. I have nothing bad to say about this airline.
Another bonus is their yearly membership. This is definitely something to explore as it gives you many perks such as first access to flights, discounted flight prices and they recently added a “kids fly free” promo for Den Deal Members. Certain flights (mainly those on Tuesday and Wednesday) offer a free fare for kids under 15 years of age for each full fair ticket purchased. This can mean huge savings in flight costs if you’re taking the kids!
Overall, the cost is still our main motivating factor when booking flights to Orlando, but there are other things we think about. This especially applies when we’re flying with the kids. The little details can make a big difference in how smooth your travel day goes when you have the kiddos in tow.