The new rule went into effect on January 26. And in addition to the pre-flight test, CDC is also recommending that anyone arriving in the U.S. be tested 3-5 days after travel and stay home to self-quarantine for 7 days after travel. Or self-quarantine for 10 days if they don’t get a test.
Airlines, hotels, and airports are rushing to help travelers comply with this new travel requirement.
United Airlines, for example, rolled out is “Travel-Ready Center.” This digital site lets passengers review COVID-19 entry requirements, find local testing sites, and upload required testing and vaccination records for both international and domestic travel.
Starting that day, Southwest will only accept dogs that are trained service animals. The airline will still allow pets to fly in the cabin, but only if they are vaccinated domestic cats or dogs in an appropriate pet carrier. And if they have a ticket. Fares are $95 each way per pet carrier.
Have a little bit of extra time to spend in New Orleans? Here are some ideas we gathered recently for a story on CNBC.
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.
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.
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
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).
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.
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.
For something more casual, try Coop’s Placein 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.
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
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 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.
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!
The winner of the King Cake eating contest will be the person who finds the plastic baby baked inside their cake. That person will get two round trip tickets on the first flight to New Orleans and a hotel stay at Saint James Hotel New Orleans from February 4 – February 7, 2015.
A random drawing will decide the winner of the Lucky Bead Contest and that person will win two round trip tickets on a future flight to New Orleans.
Details on how to enter the contest are listed here.
To celebrate Allegiant Air service between New Orleans and Indianapolis International Airport, there’s a “pack your bags” contest on February 5. The prize: 2 roundtrip tickets on the inaugural flights from IND to New Orleans and a three night hotel stay at the Holiday Inn Metairie New Orleans Airport Hotel.
Each contestant who shows up at the airport with bags packed will receive one entry into a random drawing for the prize, but contestants who arrive at the airport dressed in their Mardi Gras best get two entries into the giveaway.
There’s one more:
Allegiant is also starting nonstop seasonal service to New Orleans (MSY) from the Rickenbacker Charter Terminal (LCK) in Columbus, Ohio and to celebrate the airline is giving away two free round-trip tickets and hotel accommodations.
To enter: show up with a packed bag at that airport on Thursday, Feb. 5 no later than 10 a.m. and fill out an entry form for the two free round-trip seats on Allegiant’s inaugural flight to New Orleans.
One winner and their guest will be drawn at random. The giveaway includes one free checked bag for the winner and their guest and a free three-night hotel stay.
Bars sell drinks in to-go cups so you can have your beer or a cocktail on the street. And now there are vending machines in some city cabs to ensure that parched passengers can sip soda in the back seats.
“You make a choice from a screen, swipe a credit or debit card and, for 99 cents, a cold soda pops out from a slot in the shelf behind the passenger seat,” said Simon Garber, the owner of New Orleans Carriage Cab and Yellow-Checker Cab. “It almost places the can in your hand.”
Garber told NBC News that it was his teenage son who first suggested the idea and, after several years of tinkering with the concept and the machinery, Garber figured out a way to install a vending unit in a cab trunk that can deliver cold soda to the back seat. About 40 of his city cabs have started testing the units.
We took a morning “ride-along” — by cellphone — with cab driver Kirk Lee and Kelly Robin, the first thirsty passenger of the day.
Robin, a server in a French Quarter restaurant, ordered a Dr. Pepper from the five choices on the screen during her short trip to work.
“Cool, cold and convenient,” she said, popping the top on the can that she watched appear from a rectangular metal slot in the shelf behind the seat. “This is going to be a very nice customer service.”
Her driver agreed. “People come to New Orleans to have a good time and do something different than normal. Having this novelty in the cabs, especially on the ride in from the airport, is a great way to start,” said Lee.
He thinks cab drivers might come to appreciate the unusual amenity as much as the passengers.
“I can see building up the fact that we’re the only taxi company offering this service, and on a hot day buying my customer a soda,” said Lee. “Or let them use my swipe card and offer to just add the cost of a soda to their bill. It will be part of an enhanced cab experience and I think it will increase tips.”
It will also help reinforce the city’s reputation as a hospitable place to visit, said Mark Romig, president and CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation. “It really adds to the visitor experience, especially when you consider that 50 percent of our visitors arrive by plane,” and that most tourists take cabs into the city, a ride that typically takes between 20 and 30 minutes.
While the in-cab vending machines only sell sodas right now, “just think where this can go,” said Romig. “Other companies will likely embrace this technology. I think it’s an idea that will catch on.”
If it does, Garber is ready. He plans to install vending machines that will sell soda and, someday maybe cologne, small umbrellas and other items, in all 250 of his New Orleans cabs and, soon, in the hundreds of cabs he owns in New York City and Chicago, too.
“It’s something to improve our service, make the ride more enjoyable and our cab company more memorable,” said Garber. “And, of course, encourage people to choose our cabs over others.”