To get from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) into the city, you have several options. They are listed here in decreasing order of both cost and convenience.
Note: This information has been updated for the new north terminal at MSY airport, which replaced the old terminal in late 2019.
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. Without traffic delays, the ride 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 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).
At the new terminal, rideshare cars pick up in a designated curbside area.
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-1 Veterans city bus, operated by Jefferson Transit, runs from the Airport into New Orleans. At the airport, the bus stop is on the upper level. Buses run every 20-30 minutes or so most of the day, and once you leave the airport, it's a 40 minute ride.
There are two branches that the E-1 services from the airport. One terminates in New Orleans at the Cemeteries Transit Center, where you can connect to the #47 Canal Streetcar to get downtown. The other runs down Canal Street from Mid City all the way to Magazine Street. If your destination is anywhere downtown or in the French Quarter, this route will be much more convenient.
Fare to downtown New Orleans is $2.00. Fare to Cemeteries is $1.50. A 50% senior discount applies for those 65+.
The E-1 schedule is here.
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-1 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.
Find the stop for either bus on the 3rd (top) level, outside the ticket counters, on the outer curb.
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.
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 November 8, 2019