Transportation to New Orleans
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) currently serves 37 nonstop destinations with approximately 119 daily departures. To review terminal layouts and ground transportation availability, visit the airport's web site.
The Customer Service Center is located in Concourse C Lobby on the second level, and is open 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily. The phone number is (504) 303-7792.
The airport offers free WiFi access in 85 percent of the airport terminal's main level, which includes most gates, sitting areas, and food courts. Airport travelers can get real-time flight arrival and departure updates from the airport's web site.
Transportation Services at the Airport
The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) is located in Kenner, approximately 15 miles west of downtown. New Orleans shuttle buses, taxis, limos, and public transportation buses run regularly from the airport to downtown and the French Quarter.
Taxicab: The flat-rate from the airport to downtown is $33.00 for one or two passengers, and $14.00 per passenger for three or more riders. Pick-up is on the lower level, outside the baggage claim area. There may be an additional charge for extra baggage.
Shuttle buses: Airport Shuttle is the official ground transportation provider for the airport. It is a shared-ride van service and costs $38.00 per person round trip and $20.00 one way; children under 6 are free. The shuttle runs every 10 minutes until the last flight of the night. Ticket desks are located across from baggage claim areas 3, 6, and 12. Service is available on a continuous basis with vans departing approximately every 30 minutes.
Public transit: If arriving on a weekday, Jefferson Parish Transit's (JeT)Airport-Downtown Express E-2 (www.jeffersontransit.org) provides direct service into the city. The bus picks up passengers outside airport Entrance 7 on the upper level, departing on 10- to 20-minute intervals. The fare is $2.00, and the trip takes approximately 35 minutes. The drop-off point is about two blocks from the French Quarter, with AHA hotels within short walking distance.
On weekdays after 6:00 p.m. and on weekends, the E-2 departs the airport at 7:12 p.m., 8:16 p.m. and 9:20 p.m.; however, the bus does not go into New Orleans. Passengers must transfer to a New Orleans Regional Transit bus (RTA). The JeT bus drops passengers at Tulane and Carrollton, with the RTA bus taking passengers from this point to the corner of Canal Street at Elks Place, at the northwest corner of the French Quarter. After hours JeT fare is $1.50 and the RTA fare is $1.25; transfers from the JeT cannot be used as they are two different bus companies.
Transportation Services at Amtrak
Amtrak trains and Greyhound buses arrive and depart from Union Station, located at 1001 Loyola Avenue in New Orleans. Three train lines pass through or terminate in the city: the Crescent (to/from New York once daily), the City of New Orleans (to/from Chicago once daily), and the Sunset Limited (to/from Los Angeles three times weekly).
A taxi ride from Union Station to any of the hotels runs between 10 and 20 minutes and costs less than $10.
Public Transportation in New Orleans
The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) includes three streetcar lines and 32 bus routes. The oldest component of the RTA is the St. Charles streetcar line. Dating to 1835, the St. Charles line was one of the first passenger railroads in the country, and it remains the oldest continuously operating street railway in the world. In the 1960s, buses began to displace many streetcar lines. Worried that an important part of the city's heritage would be lost, preservationists succeeded in listing the St. Charles line on the National Register of Historic Landmarks in 1973. Because of this special status, all the green St. Charles streetcars are maintained and operated as they were in 1920. The other streetcar lines are the Riverfront line (since 1988) and the Canal line (since 2004).
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina flooding destroyed most of the RTA's vehicles and facilities. Although recovery remains ongoing, the RTA has made progress in reviving its streetcar lines and bus routes, including replacing its bus and paratransit fleet with new buses, thereby making the city's fleet one of the newest in the country.
Fares: The standard fare for a one-way trip on a bus or streetcar is $1.25. Transfers cost 25 cents each and are good for two hours on any bus or streetcar that continues the same trip. Transfers are purchased from the bus driver or streetcar conductor at the time of boarding and paying fare. Transfers cannot be used for a return trip along the original route. For a return trip, even if within the two-hour period, passengers must pay another one-way fare.
Children 2 years of age and under ride free. Senior citizens 65 years of age and older pay 40 cents to ride the bus or streetcar, and transfers are free. Riders must present to the bus driver or streetcar conductor an ID that proves age in order to qualify for the lower fare.
Paratransit: Disabled riders and Medicare cardholders can ride standard RTA buses for 40 cents and can get transfers for free. Before being allowed to pay this reduced fare or get free transfers, they first must apply with the RTA to receive a special ID card. When boarding, show this card to the bus driver or streetcar conductor. For more information, visit the RTA's web site “How to Ride with a Disability”.
For those disabled riders who do not have the mobility to access standard RTA buses and streetcars, the RTA offers a shared-ride, curb-to-curb paratransit program. A one-way fare on this service costs $2. For more information, please visit the Paratransit page.
Passes: The Jazzy Pass is a card with a magnetic strip that lets you ride RTA busses and streetcars as much as you'd like during the period it is active. It comes in one-day, three-day, and 31-day versions. For more information, visit the Jazzy page .
About Taxicabs in New Orleans
By city ordinance, the number of taxicabs available on New Orleans' streets and at major hotels is limited to 1,640. New Orleans is geographically a small town, which makes most journeys by cab very affordable. A cross-town ride from a French Quarter hotel to an uptown jazz club or neighborhood restaurant is typically under $20.
Taxi rates are $3.50 plus $2 per mile (.25 per one-eighth mile) thereafter. There is also an additional charge of $1.00 per passenger after the first passenger.
Parking in New Orleans
There are three options for parking in New Orleans: at your hotel, at a commercial garage, and on the street. The first two are expensive and the latter can be next to impossible to find. Watch your time when parking in the French Quarter--parking regulations are strictly enforced through ticketing and towing. There is metered parking on most downtown streets, with regular two-hour meters costing $1.50 per hour and long-term meters (up to ten hours) costing $1.00 per hour. Both types of meters are enforced from 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. , Monday-Saturday. Parking is prohibited at meters in designated rush hour zones from 7:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. If you allow the time to elapse, you will be towed to a city impound lot. Also, watch for signs indicating that parking is not allowed at specific time periods during the day; make sure your car is moved before the time frame starts.
All hotels offer valet-only parking. Current published rates (exclusive of taxes) for a 24-hour period: Marriott: $35; Sheraton: $33; Monteleone: $30; Roosevelt: $40; Crowne Plaza: $31.60. If you are a hotel guest, charges can be billed to your room or you can pay with credit card or cash. If you are not a hotel guest, you can still park in hotel garages, however, there will be no in-and-out privileges and you may be required to pay at an hourly rate.
Additional Parking Options
For a map of French Quarter parking locations, click here.
Central Parking has several parking locations in the French Quarter neighborhood. Rates range from $10 to $20 for a 24-hour period. Visit the web site for printable coupons and to download a mobile app to help you locate Central Parking garages nearest your hotel's location, providing turn-by-turn directions.
Premium Parking offers online reservations at several locations in the New Orleans area. Visit the web site to reserve parking,clicking the red pins on the Google Map for your desired location. The site also lists overnight hotel parking options near their locations--listing addresses, rates, and hotels near each location.