KENNER, La. — The first travelers exiting the brand new Armstrong airport Wednesday night found a new way to catch an Uber or Lyft, and about a half hour wait to do so.
“This is the craziest thing I've ever seen,” said one visitor.
At the designated rideshare pickup location outside the terminal, lines stretched 50 people long at times
"I've just landed, just walked through, and it looks really amazing, really lovely. It's kind of a shock to the system to walk out and see this huge line,” said another.
The first in, first out system keeps drivers and riders from having to find each other. Riders will receive a unique code in the app, and when they make it to the front of the line, a driver punches the code into their phone.
The system is new to New Orleans, but has been used for years at airports across the country.
"It would be crazy if they had matched me to somebody and the car had to find me. That'd be chaos," said Hassan Khan, who was nearing the front of the line. "So I feel like this is a good, managed way. They're doing the best they can.”
The attitude isn’t quite as positive in the holding lot for rideshare drivers.
"There's been a ton of action out here today,” said one driver. “Thousands of passengers, thousands of drivers out here."
Wednesday around dinner time, nearly 100 Uber drivers, and at least as many Lyft drivers, waited for their car to get called up.
Mohammed Suleiman has been ridesharing for more than four years, but this experience makes him rethink airport pickups.
“Earlier I drove in and they didn't even allow me to get into the parking lot at first, they said it was too packed, ‘you have to lap around’,” he said.
He’s worried that during busier times of the year, lines for both riders and drivers will be unbearable.
“This has just been a headache just getting in and through,” he said. “I really can't see this lasting long for a holiday time, like Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest. It's going to be a pain in the butt.”