Due to the constant conventions, cruises, and festivals such as Mardi Gras and JazzFest, New Orleans' Louis Armstrong Airport is one of the most congested in the country. Rather than re-stating the obvious, I will simply quote the airport's website:
If you are coming to Armstrong International to pick up an arriving passenger, Airport officials and Law Enforcement recommend parking in the Airport's Short-term Parking Garage immediately adjacent to the terminal building. The Short-term Garage has 2,500 parking spaces and is available at only $2.00 for the first hour. Travelers are encouraged to park in the Short-term Garage rather than circling the roadway system which is expected to be congested, especially in the evening hours.
If you are departing through Armstrong International today through Thursday, February 10, you should arrive at least two (2) hours prior to your scheduled departure time.
Check the status of your flight prior to coming to the Airport. This can be done through your airline's web site or at the "Flight Schedules" link on this site. This should be done if you are traveling or coming to the Airport to pick up an arriving passenger.
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport(MSY) was the first thing we saw in NO, a normal airport with a legendary name of course and pictures of jazz players all over some walls :) It’s located 11 miles away from downtown New Orleans
From the airport to the city
Here are your options:
1)There is a shuttle bus that charges $20 per person one way (or $38 round trip)
the Airport Shuttle Ticket Desk, located across from baggage claim areas 3, 6 and 12. Service is available on a continuous basis with vans departing approximately every 30 minutes.
For Departure Reservations, call 504-522-3500 no later than 24 hours prior to your flight and don’t forget to inform the Reservationist of any international flight in order to schedule an earlier pick-up time. www.flymsy.com/
2)The taxi is the best way to get from the airport to the city(and cheaper to shuttle!). It’s a 10 mile ride to the French Quarter and the fixed price is $33 for 1-2 persons or $14 per passenger for 3 or more passengers. Pick-up is on the lower level, outside the baggage claim area. There may be an additional charge for extra baggage, they didn’t ask for it but we gave a tip anyway.
3)you may want to check the local bus which is the cheapest option but maybe you’ll have issues with a lot of luggage.
4)by car. There is very limited parking in the French Quarter and if you stay there you wont need one
The original airport was on the lakefront, and 648 acres was purchased in Kenner for a proposed new airport, which was to be named for John Moisant, an early aviation pioneer. WW II intervened and the land was taken over for use as a military airbase. In 1946, the Federal Government returned the land plus 295 adjacent acres to the city, and commercial air service began in May of that year. In August 2001, the Airport's name was changed to the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport in honor of the famous native born musician's 100th birthday.
Airlines that operate out of NOLA include (in alphabetical order)
If you have a flight leaving MSY in the afternoon (4:00 pm to 5:30 PM) beprepared to spend close to an hour in the security line. Every afternoon they line consists of 1200 to 1500 people and there are only 2 screening stations (Frontier terminal). I would highly recommend you call your airline and check on how long it will take to clear security to determine what time you need to get there. Makes LAX look like a walk in the park.
We decided to rent a car at the New Orleans Airport. I made my rentals via Priceline.com and the name your own price option. I paid an average of $18/day for a midsize car - the price doubles with fees and taxes. We chose this option because we traveled to NO with my parents and wanted the ability to go outside the city for some day trips. Travel to /from the airport is not cheap - an average of $20/pp via cab or shuttle. Too much in our case. Parking in NO is not cheap either - about $30 in the downtown district for overnight parking. We had no trouble finding street parking for $1.50/hour - free from 6PM to 8AM. Note- we went in November - you may not be so lucky in the summer. Parking downtown was a snap - never more than a block from our hotel. French Quarter parking takes a little more patience.
Don't ask me why, but the New Orleans car rental companies are the most efficient I've ever seen. Pickups and drop offs took less than 5 minutes. We rented from National, Budget and Enterprise. Why 3? Because I messed up the dates .... repeatedly.
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, owned by the city of New Orleans, is located about 10 miles west of the city's downtown along I-10. Commercial service began at this airport, initially called Moisant Field, in 1946. It's International Air Transport Association airport code, MSY, reflects this original name. In 2001 the airport was renamed after the famous jazz musician from New Orleans, Louis Armstrong.
I flew into MSY on a non-stop flight from Tampa using Southwest Airline in 2011. The airport feels a bit older than many others, but it is clean and convenient. From the airport to downtown, it is a fixed-rate $35 cab ride.
The airport lies just 4.5 feet above sea level, making it the second lowest such facility in the world after Amsterdam's airport. The airport handles about 8 million passengers a year, down significantly from its pre-Katrina highs of around 9.9 million passengers.
We flew into New Orleans Airport. Flying in wasn't a problem. Flying out was a major hassle. Their security checkpoints are not very big, but they have a decent amount of traffic. With the new security, this makes getting to your plane take 3-4 times what it should. We left on a 7:30AM flight. We got to the airport at 5:15AM, and already there was a line at the check-in counter that almost went out the door. Since Hubby and I both have high frequent flier statuses, we didn't have to wait, but everyone else did. The check-in desks didn't open up until 5:30, and then we waited for almost an hour in the line for security. Remember, this was before 7AM. We heard that the usual wait through security was three hours. So, if you're flying out through New Orleans Airport...give yourself PLENTY of extra time!
In the French Quarter, the best way to get around is to walk. Take walking tours, and use the maps that everyone is always handing out. For a change, take a horse and buggy tour. I've heard the Garden District Tours in the buggies are great, but plan to do this before 3:30PM. A tour of the Garden District takes an hour and a half, the day buggies have to be off the road by 5, and the night buggies won't go there. Some of the buggies take credit cards, which is nice, because some of the tours cost over $100!