Super Bowl fans flood Baton Rouge Airport

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Is Baton Rouge Metro Airport so much easier to navigate than Armstrong International in New Orleans? Hundreds of people here for the Super Bowl thought so. On Monday, they were headed back home decked out in their football gear.

Super Bowl XLVII brought folks from around the world to New Orleans, but many people passed up the hustle and bustle of New Orleans International for the calm of Baton Rouge Metro.

"It was just going to be crowded. I know there was a five-hour wait to go through security," said Ray Paone, visiting from New Jersey.

"Oh this airport is a lot quieter than New Orleans was," said Tracy Haffie, who flew into New Orleans but is returning home to Canada from BTR.

Airport spokesperson Jim Caldwell says Mondays are generally busy for them. But the big game took things to a different level with the numbers. Baton Rouge Metro was a perfect alternative supplying flights and peace of mind.

"We did convince several carriers to upgage aircrafts to some larger jets, so seating capacity went up a little....not as much as we would have liked because I know we would have sold additional seats, but we probably went up about 20 percent," said Caldwell.

Caldwell says people with their own planes found a home at BTR.

"We had over 50 private jets...corporate jets coming in including some charters," said Caldwell. "We get revenue from that. We get landing fees. It's good for our fix-based operators."

While Super Bowl festivities have now ended for New Orleans and South Louisiana, many are ready to return.

"First time in New Orleans...had a blast. I mean the locals are great. The food is awesome. So I definitely will be coming back," said Candis Williams, visiting from Memphis.

"It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Everything was great," said Meagan Thomas, a Memphis resident.

With carnival season approaching its peak, it's just another reason for tourists to come. Caldwell says when they do, the airport will be ready.

"This time of year we typically have pretty full flights. Between our normal business travel, leisure travel and the Mardi Gras-related business. So we're going to have a good month," said Caldwell.

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