Non-stop New Orleans to London flights expected to boost economy

New non-stop flights to London excite travelers

KENNER, LA (WVUE) - The first trans-Atlantic commercial flight out of Louis Armstrong International Airport since 1982 takes off this evening as business leaders make a big bet on the Brits.

British Airways 787 Dreamliner will make four flights a week from New Orleans to the U.K., something that represents a real business opportunity for local companies.

"In June we're gonna be taking a group of what will probably be 100 business people from New Orleans over to the UK to understand particularly the post-Brexit environment so that we can build the relationships with local Louisiana companies but also to encourage companies from the UK to come and invest in Louisiana," said Michael Hecht with GNO, Inc.

Hecht hopes to attract businesses and tourists using the pitch that Louisiana offers a low-cost destination and unrivaled culture.

"We have this world-class culture which is particularly attractive to people in Europe. In fact, we were just voted the number seven city in the world by the readers of Travel and Leisure, so it's just low cost, high culture - that's the pitch," Hecht said.

Travelers like Tami Brisset won't need a pitch to take the flight.She booked her trip to London the day the flights were announced.

"Called my sister and said, 'You're not gonna believe it. We've got non-stop from New Orleans, we don't have to connect anymore. What do you want to do? Let's go?' She said, 'Let's go!'" Brisset said.

Brisset travels often to London, and for the first time she's expecting to enjoy the flight.

"It was always a very long layover, several hours to a connecting flight, sometimes running to a connecting flight. It was just a really stressful situation. With today, we left the house, got here early, thought we'd enjoy it. We knew it was a big day for New Orleans and for everybody, and we're just excited. The plane flight is gonna be just as exciting as the trip," Brisset said.

British citizen Michael Reid unintentionally booked the inaugural flight home and now he said a trip back is more enticing.

"What you don't want to do is turn up felling completely exhausted and drained. You wan to be able to get to business, enjoy New Orleans and come home without thinking it's going to be an absolute mission, as it were, to get there and back, so I'm very pleased," Reid said.

British Airways initially planned on four flights a week but it's so confident in the direct flight it will add a fifth flight in October.

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