New Orleans' Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) has a gleaming new home on the north side of the old airport's existing runways, which just opened on Nov. 6, 2019. The new terminal is a light-filled place that is easy to navigate, beginning with two large parking structures and an all-on-one-floor check-in area on the top floor.
Downstairs is a single TSA security checkpoint designed to serve all passengers. Once through security, travelers find three concourses (A, B, C) filled with world-class restaurants, three live-music stages, local shopping favorites, and 38 gates serving 16 different airlines. Arriving passengers will often be greeted by live music in baggage claim at the dedicated "jazz garden" music stage graced with a massive mural of a live oak tree.
MSY Code, Location, and Contact Information
Know Before You Go
All check-in and baggage drops are on the main (top level); follow the curved wall until you find your airline. Most have kiosks where you enter your flight information and receive your bag tags. Place them on each bag you have to check and then hand them over at your airline's drop desk.
Airlines that service MSY include Southwest (the airline's biggest carrier), Delta, American, United, Alaska, Air Canada, British Airways, Air Transat, Allegiant, Condor, Copa, JetBlue, Frontier, Spirit, and Sun Country. After you've checked your bags, head down the escalators to the security screening area. TSA Pre-Check and Clear aisles are located to the right as you exit the escalators.
Rental cars are all found at the MSY Consolidated Car Rental Center located at 600 Rental Blvd. Take the shuttle found in front of the long-term parking garage to the center that is open 24 hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Rental car companies include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, Payless, and Thrifty. The shuttle ride takes 10-15 minutes, with the rental center located on the opposite side of the runways, near the airport's old terminal.
The short-term parking lot is located directly in front of the terminal, with 2,190 spaces available. Find the walkway directly into the ticketing and check-in area on the fourth floor of the garage. Look up for the "Park Assist" technology as you enter; the green lights indicate available spaces. You'll also see digital counters above your eye line that show how many spaces are open on the floor you are on. Rates are free for the first 30 minutes, each additional half-hour $2, maximum for 24 hours is $22.
The long-term parking lot is on the east side of the terminal across from arrivals. It also has the Park Assist technology for the 2,750 spaces available there. Rates are free for the first 30 minutes, each additional half-hour $2, maximum for 24 hours is $20.
The surface parking lot is a slightly longer walk to the terminal, for a reduced rate. Rates are free for the first 30 minutes, each additional half-hour $2, maximum for 24 hours is $18. This lot has 685 spaces.
Choose the Park MSY Express Economy Parking lot, located at the old terminal, and you can take advantage of that lot's complimentary luggage check-in service. Check your bags before you park in one of the 2,438 spaces, then catch the free shuttle bus over to the new terminal. That's about a ten-minute ride and enables you to skip stopping in the airline ticket counter/bag drop lines. Rates are the first half-hour $4, each additional half-hour $2, maximum for 24 hours is $12.
Take the I-10 freeway from either east (coming from the city of New Orleans) or west and take the Loyola Drive exit and go across Veteran's Boulevard onto Terminal Drive. Then follow the signs into the airport.
Note that until the flyover exit from I-10 is completed (which isn't expected until 2022), there will be traffic jams at high travel times both entering and leaving MSY. Be sure to allow extra time.
Public Transportation and Taxis
Taxis and rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft are found on Level 1 of the terminal, outside the baggage claim doors. Rideshares will arrive between doors 9 and 11. Taxis have their own dedicated loading zone on Level 1 and offer a flat rate of $36 for two riders into the Central Business District (CBD) or the French Quarter of New Orleans. For three or more passengers, the flat rate is $15 per person.
Limousines also pick up at Level 1 outside of baggage claim, between doors 4 and 5. Expect to pay at least $58 for two passengers, with rates increasing for more riders and depending on your final destination.
Public bus service to and from New Orleans is available via a downtown express bus (the E1 bus) for $2 per person. The trip takes 50 minutes.
Where to Eat and Drink
The new airport is devoted to food lovers, boasting five restaurants with James Beard award-winning or recognized chefs. There are triple the food and drink offerings as compared to the old terminal. The airport partnered with New York City-based design and innovation firm ICRAVE on many of the spaces—and you'll be surprised how little they feel like traditional airport dining areas.
Leah's Kitchen, located near the exit from the TSA security, is one example. Named for Leah Chase, the "Queen of Creole Cuisine" and recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the James Beard Foundation, the restaurant features a massive mural of the late, much-beloved chef, as well as other artwork that tells the story of Chase's life. You'll find traditional Creole cooking at this sit-down restaurant, including Chase's famous fried chicken.
Mopho, in the middle of Concourse B, brings Chef Michael Gulotta's Vietnamese and Louisiana cuisine to a colorful airport setting, also designed by ICRAVE.
Other local food and drink favorites include Mondo, Lucky Dogs, Dooks, Bar Sazerac, Ye Olde College Inn, Cure, Mopho, Café du Monde, Munch Factory, Folse Market, Cure, and Angelo Brocato Desserts. There are so many popular local restaurants doing airport-only menus that the airport is inaugurating a gate-pass program for non-travelers, allowing them to pass through security to share a meal with traveling friends—or to visit on their own.
Where to Shop
Local shops now have a presence at MSY, so look for Fleurty Girl (New Orleans-specific souvenirs and women's clothing) and NOLA Couture (clothing for all ages) in Concourse C and The Scoreboard (sports apparel specific to local teams like the Saints, Pelicans, and LSU) and Dirty Coast (T-shirts, prints, hats, and more with local sayings front and center) on Concourse B.
Other shops include Brighton, CNBC Newsstand, TripAdvisor's travel goods store, and InMotion Entertainment, with a focus on electronics.
Three lounges are planned for the new airport, but only one is open as of Dec. 2019.
The Delta Sky Club is open now, on Concourse C. A lovely, comfortable lounge, it is filled with unique art pieces, ranging from the massive Louis Armstrong painting by Alexi Torres that greets visitors on the entrance level to the clever multiple-medium pieces created by local artist Audra Kahout and Robert C. Jackson. The lounge has large windows allowing natural light to shine in and will serve Creole and Cajun cuisine every day.
United Airlines will also open a lounge on Concourse C in 2020, and The Club MSY will also open in 2020 on Concourse A to serve international travelers who qualify for admission.
WiFi and Charging Stations
WiFi is free at MSY, simply choose the network called #MSY-Fi and use up to 5 Mbps at no charge.
The new MSY terminal has added numerous plugs to the seating throughout the concourses, with 50 percent of the seats equipped with power outlets.
MSY Tips and Tidbits
- The new MSY terminal cost $1.3 billion and took three years to complete.
- There are water-bottle refill stations throughout the terminal.
- Nursing parents will find three private rooms
- There is a pet-relief area inside security for those traveling with animals.
- Listen for live music happening every day, even at the Where Traveler book and sundries shop in Concourse B, which has a small stage built inside the store.