New Orleans International Airport Now Open to Public Access — But…

New Orleans International Airport — in cooperation with the Transportation Security Administration — now allows the public to access shops and restaurants beyond the security checkpoint of the terminal without requiring the purchase of an airline ticket…

New Orleans International Airport Now Open to Public Access — But…

…but at the present time, access is only available seven days per week between 11:00 in the morning and 8:00 in the evening with an MSY Guest Pass, which is limited to 50 visitors per airside on weekdays and 100 visitors per airside on Saturdays and Sundays with one airside per visit per day in what seems to be a permanent program.

Visitors who are younger than 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult; and children who are at least 13 years of age are required to have an MSY Guest Pass.

This shopping and dining guide gives you a list of the options which you can enjoy while visiting the airport.

The process for reservations for a MSY Guest Pass and checking in are as follows:

  1. Sign up for MSY Guest Pass at least 24 hours prior to your visit. You will be redirected to the scheduling site.
  2. If selected, report to the customer service desk located on the first floor of the main terminal between doors 2 and 3. MSY customer service staff will inspect your identification, validate that you have pre-registered, and then issue a guest pass to you. Walk-ins will not be accepted; and participants are reminded that parking is available at their own expense.
  3. Proceed through security checkpoint at your designated airside — which are the same requirements as ticketed passengers. Those participating in the MSY Guest Pass program are subject to the same security screening regulations as passengers boarding an airplane. All items prohibited in carry-on luggage — including liquids, aerosols and gels — apply to personal items taken through security. Please review this list of all items which are prohibited by the Transportation Security Administration.

Other Airports Which Have Offered Public Access in the Past Two Years

Prior to New Orleans International Airport, Detroit Metropolitan Airport was the latest airport to offer public access to people who are not ticketed passengers. Pittsburgh International Airport became the first airport in the United States to allow the public to access shops and restaurants beyond the security checkpoint without requiring an airline ticket between the hours of 9:00 in the morning through 5:00 in the evening Monday through Friday every week all year round as of Tuesday, September 5, 2017.

Seattle–Tacoma International Airport began to allow the public to access shops and restaurants beyond the security checkpoint of the terminal without requiring the purchase of an airline ticket from Tuesdays through Saturdays from 8:00 in the morning through 9:00 in the evening with the new SEA Visitor Pass as a pilot program which ended on Friday, December 14, 2018. During the trial period, 1,165 visitors enrolled in the program…

…but as of December of 2019, the SEA Visitor Pass program became permanent and available seven days per week.

Tampa International Airport became the third airport to offer public access to people who are not ticketed passengers.

Summary

I have long stated that I believe that a number of security measures which were implemented at airports across the country after the events of Tuesday, September 11, 2001 occurred are superfluous at best and give the arguably false impression that airports are much safer than before that infamous day.

Programs such as the ones in New Orleans, Detroit, Tampa, Seattle and Pittsburgh allow airports to be more accessible. Although I am all for programs of this type — which would allow merchants at businesses within the airport to potentially increase profits while people can spend more time with loved ones at the gate or elsewhere in the secure areas of the airport — problems can possibly occur: on certain days such as holidays, where do people who are not traveling on that day park their vehicles when parking facilities are already full with no empty parking spaces; and will the airports themselves become significantly more crowded?

Regardless, I am glad to see this program being introduced at New Orleans International Airport — and I hope that it will be considered at additional airports across the United States.

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

One thought on “New Orleans International Airport Now Open to Public Access — But…”

  1. Ed says:

    Contrast this to Australia and New Zealand where when flying domestically, anyone can walk through security and see someone off or shop at the overpriced stores and restauarants. I noticed one doesn’t even need to show or check IDs at any point of the airport process in Oceania, just a boarding pass!

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