Ready for take off: Airport manager confident new terminal will perform

TSA, baggage, ride share concerns addressed

Thomas Perumean
November 25, 2019 - 5:37 am
Airport Director Kevin Dolliole is confident the new terminal is ready for the crush load

Thomas Perumean

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Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport Director Kevin Dolliole says the new terminal is ready for it's first holiday travel season.  

More than 300,000 will swell the terminal this week as passengers wing their way to and from New Orleans for Thanksgiving.  But Dolliole still says, "There will be lines at every airport in the country."  

And that also means at the new terminal, but he says some of the issues which cropped up in the open weeks of the terminal have been addressed.  

"The TSA is now equiped to where they need to be to respond to peaks in our loads through the airport," Dolliole says confidently.  

All 15 TSA Checkpoints are up and operating and will be fully staffed to process passengers through.  

Another concern was problems that cropped up with the baggage handling system.  Dolliole says the system did experience problems in the way baggage was being positioned on the automated handling system and mechanical issues made themselves known.  

But baggage mechanics and technicians instituted fixes and the system is running without incident:  "It's been smooth sailing with the system," Dolliole says.  "And we'll continue looking and working the system, making improvements and make it even better as we go along.  But the system is fixed."

Another issue that caused delays and headaches for passengers arriving at the new terminal was how to leave once they picked up their bags.  Long lines and confusion among travellers trying to get their rideshares were addressed by Uber and Lyft.  

"[They] recognized their operation and how it impacted airports around the country," Dolliole explains.  "So...they introduced a new system for airports.  It's a pin-match system, where its almost like a cab stand."

Unlike traditional rideshare where a driver and passenger are linked on line ahead of time, the new system works with passengers signing up, then cueing at a station and taking the first available rideshare that pulls up.  

As usual, it's important for passengers to arrive in plenty time to make their flight.  TSA spokesperson Sari Koshetz remains flyers, "The airplane door closes 10-to-20-minutes before flight time.  The airline starts boarding 45-minutes before flight time.  So you need to work your math backwards and get here at least two-hours in advances because you don't want to missing your flight."

Most of all Koshetz recommends passenger know what is in their bags before leaving for the airport.  No guns, explosives, flammable chemicals, or other items are permitted.  These, and many other forbidden items, will be found by TSA's fully automated Explosive Detection System.  

If any suspicious items are discovered you will be pulled from your flight and brought to TSA for explanation, you will likely miss your flight and could face charges or fines as high as $13,000.  

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