Nov 20, 2023 - Holidays

Thanksgiving travel tips for the New Orleans airport

Illustration of a turkey pulling a suitcase.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Travelers at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport should plan for a "very busy Thanksgiving holiday travel surge" this week, officials say.

Why it matters: Arrive early and pack your patience.

Driving the news: TSA estimates it will screen 30 million passengers nationwide for Thanksgiving.

  • "We expect this holiday season to be our busiest ever," TSA administrator David Pekoske said in a statement.
  • The three busiest days are expected to be Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday, TSA says.

Extra time: Arrive at least two hours early to allow for parking, checking bags and security screening, officials say.

Parking: The lots at MSY are notorious for filling up during peak times. Check availability before you go via the airport's real-time tracker.

Packing tips: Food items like wine, cranberry sauce, gravy and jelly must go in a checked bag, TSA says.

  • But pies, cakes, mac & cheese, meat, seafood and spices are fine in your carry-on for domestic flights. See more food rules.

Meanwhile, if you are driving, gas prices are down from last month.

The big picture: An estimated 55.4 million Americans are expected to hit the road this week, the third-busiest Thanksgiving since 2000, according to AAA.

  • Nearly 89% of travelers nationally will be driving, and another 8.5% will be flying.

Of note: Cruises made a "remarkable comeback" this year, AAA says, noting that Thanksgiving cruises are mostly sold out, "with many travelers looking to spend the holiday at sea."

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