Date at the Gate

MSY launches guest passes for non-ticketed visitors to the terminal


Would you go on a date at an airport? Or spend some alone time shopping and dining there? Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) believes there is a demand for such visits, and today it launches its new Guest Pass program. The program allows non-ticketed visitors access through security to eat and shop at the airport’s new concessions.

There are more than 40 concessions located post-security at the new $1 billion terminal, which has been in operation for a month. Traditional airport security practices in our post-9/11 world require boarding passes to get near the gates. MSY’s innovative Guest Pass program strengthens the idea of MSY as an experiential place for dining and shopping. And if anyone planning a romantic marriage proposal is reading, the guest pass would enable you to surprise your sweetheart at their arrival gate with hot beignets and a ring. Then, you could celebrate a “yes” with a craft cocktail or champagne, all before leaving the terminal.

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The Guest Pass program is free to the public and operates seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. People must register online( at least 24 hours in advance for the required security protocols. You will provide your full name as it appears on your TSA-approved government-issued ID, just as you would when buying a ticket for a flight.

When you arrive at the terminal for your visit (I recommend using the new short-term parking garage), you will report to the customer service desk located on the first floor (arrivals) of the main terminal between doors 2 and 3, across from the stage. You will need to present your government-issued ID to the desk staff, who will confirm you are who you say you are, and then issue you the guest pass. Only those who have pre-registered 24 hours in advance will be allowed. They will not admit walk-ins.

Once you receive the guest pass, you will take the escalator or elevator to the second level where the consolidated security checkpoint is located. You will be screened by TSA as if you were flying, so don’t wear holey socks or have prohibited items on your person. For a refresher of those rules, you can visit TSA’s website(

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Once you are through security, the airport is your oyster, which you can eat, fried, on a poor boy, at Ye Olde College Inn near concourse C.

The new MSY website( has a useful page called Shop, Dine, Relax. It allows users to filter airport concessions by type and search by name. During my visit before the terminal opened, I made notes about the restaurants I want to try and the stores where I can purchase last-minute presents. In competition for my fist meal at the new terminal are Emeril’s Table, Munch Factory, Folse Market, Leah’s Kitchen, The Midway, Mopho, Mondo and Shake Shack. I might grab a drink at Cure, and I’ll probably buy a snarky t-shirt from Dirty Coast. I am 100 percent certain I will fight with my son about why he can’t get anything from Dylan’s Candy Bar.

Visitors under 18 are allowed to participate in the Guest Pass program when accompanied by an adult. The program limits daily visitors to 50 people on weekdays and 100 people on Saturdays and Sundays. People are also limited to one guest pass visit per month.

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