To get from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) into the city, you have a few options. They are listed here in decreasing order of both cost and convenience.
Note: A new replacement terminal at MSY airport is scheduled to open in late May 2019. The information below applies to the old terminal, which will still be in use for Jazzfest 2019. When the new terminal opens, I'd expect the prices to stay the same, but the logistics, pickup locations, and drive times will change. I'll update this page with new info once the terminal is open.
Fare for a cab to the Quarter or Downtown from the airport is a flat rate $36 for 1 or 2 people, or $15 per person for 3 or more, plus tip. It should take 20-25 minutes.
This airport flat rate applies to or from anywhere in the City of New Orleans, except New Orleans East (east of Elysian Fields) or the West Bank.
Both Uber X and Lyft now service New Orleans airport, for both pick ups and drop offs. Fare for either service from/to the airport has a minimum rate $36 (which usualy covers the whole ride, but occasionally surge pricing pushes it higher). It should take 20-25 minutes to the Quarter or Downtown.
If you haven't used Uber before, you can get $10 off your first ride using my Promo code U2M9L.
New Lyft users save $20 ($5 off your first 4 trips) with code SWAGLAND.
(Both bonuses subject to change, check the links for the latest offer).
The MSY airport ride-share area is among the best I've seen anywhere. The designated pick-up area is on the ground level of the garage right across from the terminal (exit near baggage claim 6). It is covered, just in case it's wet out. It's usually about 5 minutes from when you request the ride until the driver arrives. There are a couple of dozen spots where the drivers can wait and load, so minimal traffic jams.
Shared ride shuttles are available from the airport and cost $24 per person, one way, or $44 roundtrip. They do take advance reservations, but I've never needed one, even during Fest. Look for the "Airport Shuttle" booths opposite baggage claim on the lower level. You may sit for a little while at the airport while they wait to fill the van. Once you leave, expect the ride to take anywhere from 25-45 minutes, depending if you're the first one dropped off, or (somehow much more likely) the last.
Unless you're travelling alone, the shuttle will end up costing about the same amount as a taxi, and more than an Uber/Lyft, but will take longer.
The E-2 express city bus, operated by Jefferson Transit, runs from the Airport into New Orleans. At the airport, the bus stop is on the upper level, on the median, down near the Delta concourse. Buses run every 30 minutes or so most of the day, and once you leave the airport, it's a 40 minute ride. Fare to downtown New Orleans is $2.00. The termination point is at Tulane & Loyola.
The E-2 schedule is here. Note that the last bus that goes Downtown leaves the airport around 6 p.m. weekdays. On evenings and weekends, the buses terminate at Carrolton & Tulane, where you would you have to transfer to the RTA bus #39 and pay $1.25 more.
The New Orleans RTA also runs a bus from the airport, Route 202, but the schedule is pretty weird, since it's timed more for workers than travelers. Four buses in the morning ending at 8 am, then a 6 hour gap before the afternoon runs. And the four afternoon buses come as much as 2 hours apart. Given unpredictability of flight arrivals and baggage delivery, I wouldn't want to try to time it to catch one, but if I was waiting for the Jefferson Transit E-2 and the NORTA 202 showed up, then yeah, I'd hop on. The RTA 202 uses the same bus stop at the airport as the E-2. Here is the RTA 202 timetable.
I'm going straight from the airport to the festival. Where can I check my bags?
There's nowhere at the Fairgrounds to check bags, and you certainly won't want to schlep them around all day.
There is a manned baggage check at the airport, on the lower level between bag claims 5 & 6. Of course, you then have the hassle of returning back out to the airport later to retrieve the bags. For info, call 877-847-7172. Rates (as of April 2010) are as follows:
In this case, you may want to rent a car after all, just so you can leave your stuff in the trunk. But don't leave bags in sight, and don't leave any valuables in the car.
Otherwise, stop at your hotel on the way to the Fest to check your bags there.
Leaving from the Fest directly to the airport?
One trick is to rent a car the morning of your last day. That avoids hotel parking fees. Stash your bags in the trunk (again, out-of-sight, and don't leave any valuables), drive to Fest, and from Fest straight to the airport. Several rental companies have downtown locations, so you can pick up the car downtown and drop it at the airport. There's usually no extra charge for this, plus since you are renting "off-airport", you avoid all the airport-related rental car taxes and fees. Besides being more convenient, you may even find that the cost of the car, plus parking at the fest, plus a little gas all comes to less than the cost of taxis from the hotel to fest, back to the hotel, and then to the airport.
Page last updated March 3, 2019