NELSON: An easier trip to the Big Easy


Things were smoother at the new New Orleans airport this past weekend for my trip south.

It was also a lot warmer than here, as the thermometer was in the 75 degree range.

We also had an incredible football game Sunday, so that makes the little difficulties more tolerable.

I even got a small break at the Dallas airport on the way to New Orleans on Friday.

We were about on time out of a rainy Indy, and as we landed, I knew there was enough time to catch my connection.

I got off the plane at C29 and grabbed my phone with the new app that gives me up to the minute airport data.

There are three main terminals that American uses, and it is very normal to have to grab a light rail train to another part of that massive airport.

When my info popped up, I was shocked.

I had just walked out of gate C29 and I was leaving in an hour from...


There was time to grab a seat and catch up on emails and phone calls.

The fight to New Orleans was also on time, if full. There were plenty of San Francisco fans on the flight, and a few Saints fans coming into town, so they made for lots of joyful noise.

The biggest challenge at the new airport was the getting people in and out, and those problems are still there, but I managed to get in (and out Sunday) when it was just a little less jammed up.

I went to catch an Uber ride, and the long-term planners had not figured on the popularity of this new ride service a few years ago when they laid out the new airport. There just isn’t enough working room for that many people and that many cars.

I got into a line to wait after booking my ride on another new app and in a while I was at the front, next up.

These rides are completely random — you have no way to pick or choose who you ride with, so you can imagine my surprise when a bright, fancy, and huge Humvee pulled up.

Needless to say, I felt like a rock star as I climbed in.

The driver was all decked out in Saints gear, and we chatted football all the way downtown.

The door guys at the hotel all jumped into action as we drove up. I’m sure they figured on some VIP was arriving. I’m sure they were saddened when it turned out to be a stats guy from Indiana.

Like I said, we had a fantastic game, so time went fast on Sunday, and we were soon heading back to the airport.

When I boarded, I was heading for a seat in the middle of the plane, and when I got there, I found a lady who looked like she was moving in instead of catching a ride.

She had a suitcase opened totally up and had clothes, shoes and whatever stacked up in my seat!

I just had to step into a different row to see what this was about, and she confessed that she had over-packed the suitcase, and it wouldn’t fit into the overhead bin.

She was taking things out to make it skinnier, and stuffing that stuff into a carry-along bag she had with her. A flight attendant had already noticed and was there, encouraging her to check this large bag instead of her ongoing efforts, but she was not having that.

Eventually she made the suitcase skinny enough, cleared my seat and we all sat down.

I got back to Dallas to find out my flight to Indy was delayed by at least 30 minutes so there extra sitting time there. I got back to Indy around 11 and home by midnight. Routine stuff.

The schedule continues to stay full, as the extra Pacers games take up a lot of what were open dates but there are no complaints in this corner about that. Toss in some high school games and poof, it is time to head out on an NFL trip.

It’s the warm to cold trip this weekend as my crew has a game in Green Bay this Sunday.

Green Bay in December. What can go wrong?

It was only -5 Wednesday morning up there, but the weekend looks to be as normal as December in mid-Wisconsin can be. Maybe 20 or 25 degrees and the chance of snow.

I elected to fly instead of drive, so there are oddball departure times and a dash to Appleton, Wisconsin after the game Sunday to catch a plane. They don’t fly many planes and they fly small planes to Green Bay.

Let’s see what that means for next week and our chat.

I know there are lots of Christmas/holiday activities for everyone. Enjoy and be glad

Safe travels.

Jeff Nelson works in national television. His column appears each Thursday in the Journal Review.


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