Most travelers consider the airport at Baton Rouge to be quite modern and people friendly. The facility, however, does fall short when it comes to convenient flights to some destinations.
Case in point: Miami, Fla. In order to travel to this Southeastern metropolis, Baton Rougeans must first travel east, northeast or even west in order to secure a connecting flight to Miami. This, of course, usually means additional time and money. As an alternative, however, one can drive to the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport for a direct flight to Miami.
In late June and early July, I did this for a 10-day trip to Honduras. I utilized a private lot on Airline Highway that advertised a “best rate” charge of $8.75 per day. Now, imagine my surprise when, upon my return, I was presented a bill totaling $117.
According to the attendant at the gate, the charge included:
• An increase to $10 between July 1 and July 5, a temporary elevated holiday rate
• Numerous taxes, such as airport fee, 7 percent; parking tax, 10 percent; Jefferson Parish tax, 4.75 percent; and Louisiana state tax, 4 percent.
Now, in my opinion, imposing a special holiday rate, particularly when a vehicle is already parked, is exploitive. But a tax structure of 25.75 percent is nothing short of unethical, aka, a rip-off. In fact, because of just these taxes, my basic bill of $91.25 was increased by $25.75.
If the governing officials in New Orleans are interested in attracting travelers into the city’s renovated airport, then imposing such high parking taxes is counterproductive. Isn’t it bad enough that travelers — and especially international travelers — are exploited everywhere they turn?
So, Baton Rouge travelers considering using the New Orleans airport, be advised! With the current tax structure regulating off-site parking lots there, it may be more cost-effective to reconsider an alternative itinerary that would preclude extended parking.
(Incidentally, the official airport parking lot at the airport charges $13 per day, with no taxes, a total fee that is a bit higher than any private facility but a venue that is nearer and perhaps safer.)
Although such might prove a bit inconvenient, costs could be more reasonable, and fair. And if enough of us complain and boycott the airport, maybe, just maybe, members of the City Council of New Orleans will lower the tax structure for parking vehicles.
Gary Noel Ross, Ph.D.
retired professor of biology