It’s worth checking out the following airports if you plan to rent a car, but probably not otherwise. Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport is 89 miles (and minutes) north of town; the Tiger Airport Shuttle provides direct service to downtown New Orleans, the rate fluctuating based on the time of day. Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport is about 77 miles (80 minutes) east of New Orleans; there are rental-car agencies on-site.
New Orleans’ airport is located in the suburb of Kenner, 13 miles west of the city along I-10; the drive takes about 30 minutes. It’s not a major hub, so you’ll likely connect here through Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Chicago or Charlotte. International service now connects New Orleans directly to London.
Rental agencies and cars are housed at a new facility within walking distance of the terminals. Exit at the West Terminal baggage claim. The quickest drive between the airport and downtown is on I-10. Coming from downtown on I-10, take exit 223 for the airport; going to downtown, take exit 234 as the Louisiana Superdome looms before you. Traffic can get very congested near the Huey Long Bridge.
A taxi ride downtown costs a flat rate of $36 for one or two passengers, or $15 per person for three or more passengers.
If your baggage is not too unwieldy and you’re in no hurry, Jefferson Transit (www.jeffersontransit.org) offers the cheapest ride downtown aboard its E2 Airport Downtown Express ($2). The ride to New Orleans follows city streets and stops approximately every two blocks. On weekdays, until 6:52pm, the bus goes all the way to Tulane and Loyola Ave, at the edge of downtown and the French Quarter; on weekends it will only get you as far as the corner of Tulane St and Carrollton Ave. From there it’s a cheap cab ride to the French Quarter, or you can transfer to a Regional Transit Authority bus (www.norta.com). Bus 27 will get you to St Charles Ave in the Garden District; bus 39 follows Tulane Ave to Canal St, just outside the French Quarter. Check the RTA website (www.norta.com/getting-around/getting-to-the-airport.aspx) for more details about public transit to and from the airport and downtown New Orleans.
Most visitors take the Airport Shuttle to and from the airport. It offers frequent service between the airport and downtown hotels, although it can be time-consuming, especially if your hotel is the last stop. At the airport, buy tickets from agencies in the baggage-claim area. For your return to the airport, call a day ahead to arrange for a pickup, which you should schedule at least two hours prior to your flight’s departure.