KENNER, La. — The first weekend at the new MSY Airport had some major problems.
Passengers told WWL-TV that long security lines had them missing their flights and the long wait for a ride outside the airport made customers wish the airport’s new bars were open outside the security checkpoints.
Since the new terminal opened last week, complaints of long TSA lines, long waits for the airport shuttle, problems with the baggage system and the long waits for a ride home have been flooding the news room.
“They say we’ve been waiting for an hour,” Wael Suleiman, a driver for Uber, said outside the airport Sunday. “The first one we had was like an hour, hour-and-a-half wait. That’s too much for the customers. It’s not good for the city.”
“I think that it’s unfortunate that they have it set up like that,” Damon Williams, a driver for Lyft and Uber, said. “I think they need to get a little better system because it’s all about the passenger you’re picking up instead of them waiting so long.”
At the old terminal, passengers called a car and you would meet up with your specific driver. The new system has passengers get a code and queue up outside, so it’s first come, first served.
Airport officials say the very limited amount of curb space would be too congested to run the old rideshare and cab system.
“With peaks and arrivals in the evenings, it has been incredibly congested here. Not just for Lyft, but for taxis and personal vehicles as well,” Eli Ackerman, Lyft’s General Manager for the Gulf Coast, said. “We’re working closely with airport officials to try and fix the situation.”
This is why Lyft has several workers out in pink shirts teaching passengers the new system.
“This new technology, once it’s gotten up to speed at other airports it has reduced wait times and worker really well for passengers and drivers,” Ackerman said.
A representative from the MSY Airport said that airport ground transportation is working with both rideshare providers to improve traffic flow and speed up the process outside the airport.
TSA officials said they're working to have all security lanes open as soon as possible.
As far as lost and delayed luggage goes, officials said that software and mechanical issues are to blame for most of the problems so far.
“The airport is working with the airlines, contractors and the vendor to make continuous software adjustments and deploy additional staff to provide manual support,” their statement said.