Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport

MSY: 5 Things we Love About Louis Armstrong New Orleans Int’l Airport

Stuck at the Airport’s “5 Things We Love About…” series is back today with Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY).

The continuing series celebrates features and amenities at airports around the country and the world.

We’re trying to keep our lists to just 5 cool things about each airport, but you are invited to add ‘bonus’ favorites in the comments below.

*Note that some of the things we love at airports may be temporarily closed or suspended due to COVID-19 concerns, but we’re pretty sure they are coming back.

So:

5 Things We Love About Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)

MSY debuted its new $1.3 billion terminal building in November 2019 to serve 16 airlines with 35 gates spread out across three concourses.

1. Live music as MSY


Any trip to New Orleans involves live music. And that includes live music at the airport on arrival – and before you leave. The new terminal has music stages in the bag claim area and in the terminal.

2. The shops and restaurants


The new MSY is filled with restaurants and bars that represent local favorites, including Lucky Dogs, Cafe Du Monde, Emeril’s Table, Leah’s Kitchen and many more.

Great souvenirs of New Orleans can be found at the MSY as well.

3. The MSY Treewall

The Treewall at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) is an impressive three-story artwork portraying an oak tree that sits right in the middle of the airport’s main terminal area. It not only offers a great sense of place; it’s a great meeting place and, of course, a great photo opp spot.

4. MSY’s “Meet an Alligator” program

Every Friday the Audubon Nature Institute brings a few juvenile alligators to MSY airport so passengers can learn about these creatures and get a souvenir photo.

5. MSY’s K9 Krewe

Alligators aren’t the only animals that visit MSY on a regular basis.

The airport has a therapy animal program called MSY K9 KREWE.

13 dogs and their owners make visits to MSY to help decrease travel anxiety and hang out with travelers.

Did we miss something you love about MSY?

If we missed your favorite feature or amenity at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY), please leave a note in the comment section below.

Want to nominate an airport for the series or sponsor one of the episodes? Get in touch.

Airports in the “5 Things We Love About …” series. So far:

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)

Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP)

Orlando International Airport (MCO)

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)

San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport (ICT)

Detroit Metro Airport gate pass program permanent

Courtesy Detroit Metro Airport

Gate pass programs expanding

The pilot DTW Destination Pass program at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) which allows non-ticketed passengers past the security checkpoint began in October and was supposed to end this week.

But so many non-ticketed visitors are interested in visiting DTW airport to shop, dine, check out airplanes and spend more time with friends and family starting or ending their travels that airport officials have decided to keep the program going indefinitely.

“We understand that our facility is more than just an airport—it is a place where memories are made,” said WCAA CEO Chad Newton, “One participant of the program shared with us that she was able to bring her 3-year-old nephew to the airport to greet his parents and see airplanes for the first time.”

The DTW Destination Pass program is limited to 75 visitor passes per day. Passes can be used from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Check the DTW website for details about applying for a pass.

Where else can you get an airport gate pass?

DTW is just the latest airport to welcome non-ticketed passengers past the security checkpoint.

Art at SEA airport

In December, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) brought back and made permanent the SEA Visitor Pass program, which gives non-ticketed guests access to the secure side of the airport.

Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) started the trend by introducing the myPITPass program in August 2017. That program operates Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tampa International Airport (TPA) began offering its All Access pass in April, 2019, welcoming guests on Saturdays.

Photo La Gourmetreise, Courtesy New Orleans & Company

And Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) began welcoming non-ticketed guests into the new terminal on December 4.

The MSY Guest Pass is offered seven days a week, with a limit of 50 visitors Monday through Friday and 100 visitors on Saturdays and Sundays.

Visit the New Orleans Airport without a ticket

Gate pass program at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport

As promised, the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) is joining the list of airports that invite and allow non-ticketed guests airside, past security to shop, dine, listen to live music and spend more time with friends and family leaving for trips or coming home.

The free MSY Guest Pass program kicks off December 4 and will be available seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.  MSY officials say the airport will issue no more than 50 passes on weekdays and no more than 100 passes each Saturday and Sunday.

Anyone seeking an MSY Guest Pass will need to sign up 24 hours in advance and provide their full name, date of birth and contact information. Visitors under 18 will need to be accompanied by an adult.

Pass holders must still pass through the security checkpoint and all pass holders will be limited to one visit per month.

Leah’s Kitchen at MSY

MSY is justifiably proud of its shiny new terminal, which has branches of local shops such as Dirty Coast and Fleurty Girl and restaurants from award-winning chefs, including Emeril Lagasse, John Folse, Michael Gullotta, Susan Spicer, and the late Leah Chase and her family.

We expect more airports to join this trend, but for now just a few other airports offer gate passes to non-ticketed guests: Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) has the MyPITpass program and Tampa International Airport (TPA) offers an All Access gate pass program.

Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) is testing a gate pass program now through January 5.

Have you applied for a gate pass at one of these airports? If so, tell us how it worked.

New Orleans – beyond the airport

Have a little bit of extra time to spend in New Orleans? Here are some ideas we gathered recently for a story on CNBC.

Photo by Todd Coleman. Courtesy New Orleans & Company

Yes, New Orleans is a party town with bars and music on every corner and a festival – or three – in the streets just about every weekend.

But get off Bourbon Street and you’ll find plenty of other distractions.

Photo by Harriet Baskas

Stroll along Royal Street, where you’ll find art galleries, souvenir shops and boutiques, including Fleur de Paris (523 Royal St.) a colorful custom millinery and couture shop that boasts of being the largest millinery shop in the country.

At 630 Royal St., M.S. Rau Antiques has been selling high-end art, antiques, jewelry and exotic other items for more than a century. The 25,000-square-foot gallery feels more like a museum than a shop, with an ever-changing display of odd and eclectic items. If you’re a serious shopper, you may be invited into a secret room to see rare treasures.   

Photo by Harriet Baskas

The Historic New Orleans Collection is nearby, with free exhibitions at 520 Royal St., (which has a nice gift shop and the Café Cour courtyard bistro) and at 533 Royal St. and 410 Chartres. Free organ tours are offered Tuesday through Sunday at 520 Royal and there are free tours available via the museum’s smartphone tours and app.

Lunch spots to check out include Cochon, serving a modern, unpretentious take on Cajun food (in the Warehouse Arts District about three blocks from the Convention Center);  Compère Lapin (French for ‘brother rabbit; also in the Warehouse Arts District), which has a Caribbean-inspired menu, and Domenica, an Italian restaurant in the elegantly restored downtown Roosevelt Hotel New Orleans.

The new Sazerac House museum (and working distillery) at Canal & Magazine Street has a free self-guided, multi-media tour exploring the history of New Orleans through the Sazerac and other cocktails. Admission is free (reservation encouraged for busy times) and complimentary samples of three cocktails are included.

If you can, squeeze in a mid-to-late afternoon in-town visit to another of New Orleans’ many museums. Some top-rated ones include the New Orleans Jazz Museum (400 Esplanade, in the historic U.S Mint; Admission $8); the National World War II Museum (945 Magazine St.; Admission: $28.50, $18 for military with ID and free for WWII veterans).

Photo by Paul Broussard. Courtesy New Orleans & Company

Or grab a taxi, Uber or street car (Fare $1.25; $3 for a day pass) and head out to City Park and the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), which has a permanent collection of almost 50,000 objects. Museum admission is $15, but there is no fee to tour the museum’s twelve-acre  Besthoff Sculpture Garden, which has more than 90 sculptures in a lush Southern landscape with magnolias, camellias, and 200-year-old moss-laden live oaks.

For a classic New Orleans dinner experience, call or go online and get a reservation at the classic Commander’s Palace, in the Garden District.

Pay attention to the dress code (business attire, jackets for men, no flip flops, jeans discouraged) and consider this also as a lunch option weekdays, when 2-course specials and 25-cent martinis (limited to 3 per person) are served, or for the weekend Jazz Brunch.

Photo La Gourmetreise, Courtesy New Orleans & Company

For something more casual, try Coop’s Place in the French Quarter, where the house specialties are seafood gumbo and a rabbit & sausage jambalaya.

You can ease into the evening with a cocktail just about anywhere. Some popular options in the French Quarter include the historic French 75 Bar at Arnaud’s Restaurant (813 Rue Bienville); the rotating Carousel Bar & Lounge at the Hotel Monteleone (214 Royal St.)and the intimate wine-centric Patrick’s Bar Vin (730 Bienville St.) at the Hotel Mazarin.

Photo by Zack Smith, Courtesy New Olreans & Company

For live music of all stripes and a “not Bourbon Street-crazy” street scene, locals point visitors to the clubs on Frenchmen Street, in the Marigny neighborhood, not far from the French Quarter. Some popular venues there include Snug Harbor, d.b.a, The Maison, the Spotted Cat, Blue Nile and the Apple Barrel.

Leaving New Orleans

Photo by Harriet Baskas

When it comes time to leave town, be sure to head for the airport early.

Cab or ride-hailed (Uber or Lyft) journeys to the airport start at about $36 and can take upwards of half an hour, depending on traffic and time of day.

The good news is that the city just opened a brand new terminal at  Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) that features several stages for live music and many restaurants that represent New Orleans’ celebrity chefs and cuisine, including Emeril’s Table, The Munch Factory, Lucky Dogs and Leah’s Kitchen.

Art-filled Delta Sky Club at New Orleans Int’l Airport

Artwork by Skylar Fein

Planning a trip to New Orleans?

Lucky you!

New Orleans is a popular destination for both leisure and business travelers and the old airport terminal didn’t do the city justice.

Now there’s a gorgeous new terminal at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY). And right now the only club lounge open is the Delta Sky Club.

The all-access Club at MSY should open early next year and a United Airlines club lounge is promised in 2020.

Stuck at The Airport stopped into the Delta Sky Club during an opening day tour of the airport. We are delighted to report that in addition to all the features you’d expect in a lounge (comfortable seating and lots of outlets) the 2nd-floor lounge definitely celebrates the New Orleans vibe and culture.

The menu includes regionally inspired snack and meals, including oysters, gumbo and muffuletta sandwiches. Of course, the bar menu includes local beers and cocktails.

And all the artwork is by Louisiana artists.

Delta was kind enough to share images of the artwork. Here are a few more of our favorites.

By Skylar Fein
Artwork by Kelly Mcgee
Artwork by Kelly Mcgee
Artwork by Masy Chighizola

Stay tuned for more details about the amenities at the new terminal at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY). Next up: all the food!