Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is the primary airway servicing the metropolitan area of New Orleans. It hosts most major airlines, a slew of smaller operations, and offers regular travel to Canada, the U.K., and Panama. MSY also offers seasonal flights to Mexico and Germany. Naturally, being the primary service for a city like New Orleans makes MSY a hub of activity. During summer and holiday seasons, it can be a madhouse as travelers use it as a stop-over and tourists come to visit. If you are planning a trip to MSY in your future, then here is everything you need to know to make it hassle-free.

How Early Should I Arrive for Domestic Flights at New Orleans Airport?

The TSA’s rule of thumb is to arrive two hours prior to any domestic flight departure. According to them, two hours is more than enough time to get to your gate with ease. It compensates for any problems that can occur and ensures a stress-free experience. New Orleans International itself recommends a one-and-a-half to two-hour window. One-and-a-half for off-peak times as it is a less strenuous experience moving from station to station.

Luckily, the airport lists its wait time information and peak hours its website and phone app. This allows you to more effectively plan ahead as getting to your gate with time to spare is recommended for travel. Additionally, most airlines do not accept baggage more than two-hours ahead of a scheduled flight. So two-hours also ensures an uninterrupted trek. Any earlier and you have to wait to check your baggage.

How Early Should I get to New Orleans International Airport for International Flights?

The TSA and New Orleans International recommend arriving three-hours prior to a departing international flight. This is because international flights have a few more hoops to go through. In addition to check-in, baggage, and security, international flights also have customs. A three-hour window allows enough time to navigate this process, compensate for any setbacks that may occur, and reach your gate with time to shop around. Off-peak times, such as an early morning or late night, are a little more flexible and do not require as much time. If you are flying out during the afternoon or prime part of the day, however, a three-hour period will be needed.

How Early Do I Check My Bags at New Orleans Airport?

As aforementioned, most airlines do not accept baggage more than two-hours before any scheduled flight. Only International flights take bags three-hours prior, but that is because of the extra process of customs international passengers must go through. Two-hours is usually the earliest time but not every airline operates this way. Some services, especially smaller operations, have different check-in times. It is always a good idea to check ahead and find out when your particular airline begins accepting bags. If you show up before that time you will not be able to move past baggage until they open.

What Time is Security/TSA open at New Orleans International?

New Orleans International has flights going out at all times of the day. The airport itself is open 24 hrs. Generally, TSA security stations open up at 4 a.m. This is to compensate early morning travel as most overnight flights take-off earlier. It also fits into the two-hour window the TSA recommends as New Orleans earliest flight times are around 6 a.m. Wait times for early morning are a lot less severe than peak times later in the day. New Orleans International also posts security information on its webpage and phone app. This allows the passenger to check when security stations open, how late they stay open, and what the current wait times are.