I’m here to help guide you through navigating Orlando International Airport (MCO), specifically when flying with Southwest Airlines.

Based on my own experiences, navigating airports can be both an exciting and slightly overwhelming process, especially for those unfamiliar with the specific airport layout.

Orlando International Airport, being a major hub for flights within the United States and international destinations, is no exception.

Here’s a detailed guide on finding your way to and from Southwest Airlines’ terminal at MCO, drawn from my personal travel experiences.

Introduction to Orlando International Airport (MCO)

Orlando International Airport is divided into two main terminal areas: Terminal A and Terminal B. Each terminal is further split into sides, serving different airlines and destinations.


The terminals are connected by a central food and shopping hub, making it easy to move between them if needed.

Southwest Airlines at MCO

Terminal Assignment: Southwest Airlines primarily operates out of Terminal A at Orlando International Airport. From my experience, Southwest flights are usually assigned to the gates in the 100-129 range, which are accessible through the A-side of the airport.

This section of the airport is well-signposted, making it relatively straightforward to find your way around.


Check-in and Baggage Claim: The check-in counters for Southwest are located on the A-side of the main terminal building.

After checking in, you’ll proceed to the security checkpoint to access the gates. Baggage claim for Southwest flights is also on the A-side, making it convenient for travelers to collect their luggage upon arrival.

Navigating to the Terminal

By Car: If you’re driving to MCO or being dropped off, follow the signs for Terminal A. There are short-term and long-term parking options available, with clear signage directing you to the appropriate area.


Public Transportation and Shuttles: Orlando International Airport is well-connected by public transportation, including buses and shuttles that drop passengers off at the main terminal building. Once inside, follow the signs to Terminal A for Southwest Airlines.

Security and Boarding

Security Checkpoints: The security checkpoints at MCO can get quite busy, especially during peak travel times.

Based on my experience, it’s wise to arrive at least 2 hours before your domestic flight and 3 hours before international flights. This gives you ample time to navigate through security and reach your gate without rushing.

Boarding Gates: Once past security, you’ll enter the airside of Terminal A, where Southwest’s gates are located.

The airport offers plenty of seating areas, dining options, and shops to explore while waiting for your flight.


Gate information is displayed on monitors throughout the terminal, so keep an eye out for any changes to your flight’s gate assignment.

Tips for a Smooth Experience at MCO

  1. Download the MCO Airport App: The app provides real-time flight updates, terminal maps, and information on dining and shopping options.
  2. Stay Hydrated: There are water refill stations past security, so bring an empty bottle to stay hydrated without spending extra on bottled water.
  3. Enjoy the Amenities: MCO offers a range of amenities, including art exhibits, children’s play areas, and a variety of dining options. If you have some time to spare, explore and enjoy what the airport has to offer.
  4. Wear Comfortable Shoes: Like many large airports, expect some walking to get to your gate. Comfortable shoes can make your journey through the airport more pleasant.
  5. Ask for Help: The airport staff at MCO are generally friendly and helpful. If you’re unsure about where to go or have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.


Navigating to Southwest Airlines at Orlando International Airport is a relatively straightforward process, thanks to the well-organized layout of MCO and the clear signage throughout the airport.

By following the tips and guidance based on my personal experience, you can ensure a smooth and stress-free start to your journey with Southwest.

Remember to arrive with plenty of time to spare, especially during busy travel periods, to enjoy a relaxed airport experience.

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