Traveling From The Villages to Los Angeles

Orlando International Airport, like its sister airport 92 driving miles across the Florida peninsula to the west in Tampa, features a hub and spoke design, with two large connected central terminals (A and B) with people mover trains running out to the four outlying terminals (1-4). The new $2.8 Billion South Terminal Complex is under construction, with a scheduled completion date in 2021. It will feature 19 gates and have room for 27 airplanes, including narrow body, jumbo and super-jumbo jets. Jet Blue is projected to be the main tenant. To download a map of the airport in PDF format, click on Wayfinding Map.

Control Tower Overlooks Treminals A & B at Orlando International Airport

The Villages Airport Van arrived at our home five minutes before the designated pick up time of 9:15 am on March 5, 2019. They always allow enough time for travel, traffic and unexpected delays, to get us to Orlando International Airport at least two hours before our departure time. They pick us up and drop us off at our front door, and always take us to Ground Transportation space A 45. The cost is $40 per person each way. Due to the size of The Villages air travel market, Village Airport Van operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They leave space A 45 approximately every 30 minutes. We have used them dozens of times, generally if our trip is more than a 7-10 days in length. For shorter trips we park in the airport’s Economy Parking Lot ($10/day plus gas and tolls).
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Village Airport Van

For trips longer than 7-10 days, Village Airport Van is our preferred way to get to and from the Orlando International Airport.

Photo from

An Airbus 320, similar to the plane on which we flew from Orlando to Los Angeles.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Photo: Alan Wilson from Stilton, Peterborough, Cambs, UK [CC BY-SA 2.0 (]

Flight Path March 5, 2019 - MCO-LAX, courtesy of

At 12:10 pm EST, our JetBlue flight took off from Orlando and flew west about 200 miles, where, high above the Gulf of Mexico, we made a right-hand turn of approximately 45°, and headed on a long gently arcing path across southern Louisiana, Texas and the desert southwest. After a flight of 2,218 miles, we landed around 3:03 pm PST, a trip of approximately 5 hours. Our flight had little turbulence, and the free movies on the seat back TV screens helped pass the time. That, plus the 1/2 price we pay for on-board purchases using our JetBlue Card, makes for a happy trip. We got off the plane at Terminal 5, and made our way to Baggage Claim.

East Entrance to LAX
Photo by Jay Berkowitz
Los Angeles World Airports,
Theme Building at LAX
monkeytime | brachiator [CC BY-SA 2.0]

After we collected our luggage, we walked outside to meet the hotel shuttle, which arrived in about 15 minutes. The Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Airport Hotel is literally across the street from the airport. It is in the same neighborhood as the Hilton LAX and the Hyatt Regency LAX hotels, both of which we have stayed at in the past. Like its neighbors, the Crowne Plaza offers a free airport shuttle, a choice of food options, various other amenities and great customer service. We would stay there again.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Aliki’s Greek Taverna

Because we had just traveled three time zones, we were really looking forward to dinner. Our pre-trip research led us to Aliki’s Greek Taverna, a family owned restaurant at 5862 Arbor Vitae St, Los Angeles, CA 90045, in the Westchester area north of LAX. We love Greek food! We would be visiting Athens later in the trip, but we couldn’t wait. Besides, on TripAdvisor, Aliki’s Greek Taverna is rated #35 out of 9,430 restaurants in Los Angeles. The cuisine is listed as Mediterranean, Greek and Vegetarian Friendly. The menu was extensive. It included Calimari, Dolmades, Falafel, Greek Salad, Gyros, Hummus, Mousaka, Olive Tapenade, Pastitsio, Souvlaki, Spanakopita, Tabouli, Tzatziki and dozens of other items. The owner is also an importer of Greek olives, olive oil and other Greek foodstuffs, so the food is truly authentic.
Rating 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
Aliki’s Greek Taverna on Facebook.

This photo of Aliki’s Greek Taverna is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Wedged in between a car wash and a budget hotel about 1 mile north of LAX, it is at first incomprehensible that this is a dining destination for travelers from across the world as well as locals. The quality and authenticity of the food, as well as its reasonable pricing, explain its TripAdvisor #35 rating out of 9,430 restaurants in Los Angeles. Aliki’s Greek Taverna is only a 5 minute taxi ride from the Crowne Plaza LAX Hotel, and other neighboring hotels north of LAX.

Tomorrow We Fly to Tokyo

With our bodies still on East Coast time, we returned by taxi to our hotel, and retired early. Tomorrow we will fly across the Pacific Ocean to Japan. It will be our first visit there, although it will be a short one, about 24 hours.

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Jim Lannin

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