Tourism on the rise requires more time to find airport parking

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 10:49 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -Touting more than 8 thousand parking spots, travelers are anxious to park and get on a plane at the Armstrong International airport.

“We didn’t know coming here it was going to be that full or we would’ve had someone drop us off,” said Darrin Melancon.

It’s not even a holiday weekend, but the parking garages are almost all full. Darrin Melancon says he felt lucky to steal away a spot trying to fly his family out to a sports tournament in Nashville.

“At first I think I just looked up and found a spot so I just lucked it in but everything was full according to the signs we just took our chances and rode through and luckily found something,” said Melancon.

According to airport officials, more passengers flying out means parking near the terminal may be limited. Not only that but there’s an entire parking lot off-limits to passengers.

Officials say since the pandemic, the surface lot is only for employee parking for safety reasons.

An airport spokesperson says: “The airport is closely monitoring the parking levels as traffic begins to increase again, and while there is availability in our parking inventory, we are evaluating plans to reopen the surface lot in the near future.”

“I think the airport has come back from being 97% down to only being down about 30-35% and continuing to go up very rapidly,” said Michael Hecht.

According to tourism leaders, a busy airport is a good sign for tourism.

“You’re right all you have to do is try and go there get into the parking lot and you know people are traveling again in New Orleans is one of the first choices for them to travel to,” said Hecht.

While parking may be a little peskier than pre-pandemic times, GNO Inc’s Michael Hecht says it’s a good problem to have.

“There’s pent-up demand for everything New Orleans offers which is a culture of humanity and intimacy that we’ve been denied over the past year and a half… there aren’t that many options because international travel is still shut down, so all that demand is getting channeled surging into markets like New Orleans and we’re seeing in an airport in places like the French Quarter,” said Hecht.

Airport leaders recommend checking for parking availability before heading to the airport, adding there’s a digital sign at I-10 West at Power with real-time parking info.

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