Why you may need to leave earlier for your flight from MSY starting next week

Nov 1, 2019

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Getting to the new terminal at Louis Armstrong International Airport (MSY) in New Orleans won’t exactly be the “big easy” part of your journey. In fact, according to NOLA.com, traffic problems are likely going to plague the airport for at least four years.

While it currently takes between five and 10 minutes to reach the airport once you get off Interstate 10, it will likely take much longer when the new terminal opens next week on Wednesday, Nov. 6. Why? Because drivers coming from New Orleans and the nearby suburb of Metairie will have to get through three stoplights on Loyola Drive, which connects to the new terminal. It’s an already congested road, but the location of the new terminal — even though it’s closer in proximity to the interstate — will be even more packed now that drivers don’t have a flyover.

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If you’re coming from the west, such as Baton Rouge, the traffic won’t be significantly better. You’ll still have to exit at Loyola Drive on another persistently-gridlocked ramp, and then go through two more stoplights.

ITS Regional was hired by the city of Kenner, where the airport is located, to study the impact on the city. They measure traffic levels on a scale of A to H, and typically measure D or E during the day with an F-score during peak commuting hours. At F, “the intersection is over capacity,” Carmelo Gutierrez, an employee at the firm, told Nola.com.

Each additional light will only compound the problem, adding about two minutes on average for every stop. And we all know things can be much worse, depending on the time of day and even the weather.

Adnan Alrashed, owner of the nearby Discount Zone gas station, told Nola.com, “It will be a mess.” He’s been witnessing the traffic problems firsthand, as his store overlooks the airport.

The good news — or bad news, depending on how you look at it — is that flyovers that bypass these time-sucking stoplights are coming. The catch? They won’t be complete until 2023 at the earliest.

In the interim, the best thing you can do, short of getting a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, is to plan ahead. Give yourself more time than you think you’ll need to get to the airport. Between traffic surrounding the airport and any additional holdups you might encounter on the way there, you could be facing a slower-than-normal journey.

It won’t help you reach the terminal any faster, but if you have The Platinum Card® from American Express, you can (and should!) put your $15 monthly Uber credits to good use here (up to $200 in Uber Cash for U.S. services; enrollment required), because at least saving money on your ride will soften the blow. Right? Right.

Related: Hail, yes! Your Uber credit just got easier to use

If you’re planning a trip to New Orleans, let us be the first to tell you that you’re absolutely going to love it — except, of course, for the traffic. Whether it’s your first time — or you’ve been visiting for years — you’ll thank yourself later if you check out our guide to everything you need to eat, see and do in the Crescent City.

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