Our Airport, Atlanta
Atlanta Airport, known as the largest/busiest airport in the world indeed is a large airport. Just be aware when catching a flight, the check in procedure and to get to the gate (which might be several "metro" stops after check in, takes some time. Enough restaurants at the airport, the tax free zone has some great deals (at least, if ur from EU), the KLM/Delta lounge (in the gate where KLM departures) is so standard that you wonder why there were so many people.
The Mission Statement of the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport is: "to be the world's best airport by exceeding customer expectations!" I don't know if it's the world's best airport, but Atlanta is the busiest passenger airport in the world. I've flown in to, out of and through the Atlanta Airport scores of times over the years and although it is BIG it is also operated very efficiently. So many flights connect through Atlanta that there is a saying in the South that you can't get to either Heaven or Hell without first passing through Atlanta.
For many years the airport was known as Hartsfield. It was named for William Berry Hartsfield, who served as Atlanta's mayor for a total of 24 years and is credited with developing Atlanta's airport into a national aviation center.
Later the airport was renamed Hartsfield-Jackson, to also honor Mayor Maynard Jackson, who in 1974 became Atlanta's first African-American mayor. I had the opportunity to meet Mayor Jackson once - on a Delta airliner flying between Atlanta and Frankfort, Germany. The Mayor seemed pleased that I recognized and spoke to him, and as a true politician he didn't miss the opportunity to shake my hand. Maynard Jackson was good for Atlanta. Among his accomplishments was leading in the modernization of the airport in the 1970s.
Small commuter type flights only come in at a limited number of gates in Atlanta so if you know that airline, it could be narrowed down to a couple of gates that he will be arriving at. If he's traveling out on Delta, he could be leaving from any of the other terminals (including E - it's not just for international flights). Again, if he's under 15 he will have an escort and won't have to worry about any of this. If he's older than that he just needs to read the signs. It is one of the best signed airports I've been in.
Hartsfield-Jackson Airport is the second busiest airport in the World. As most people know, this traffic is mostly passing through Atlanta, not originating from it. There's a saying, whether you go to heaven or hell, you must change planes in Atlanta first.
For me, the airport seems way too small for the amount of traffic it gets. Also the ticketing & screening areas are totally disorganized.
There isn't a great selection of hotels around the airport. I suggest taking MARTA, which has an airport station, into downtown (20 min) or Buckhead (45 min), as these places are more interesting to stay if you're 'laid over' for the night.
Hartsfield bears the proud distinction of being "the world’s busiest passenger airport." The Airport has long been known as a major connecting hub serving numerous destinations around the globe. However, its vitality of growth is no longer merely a product of its role as a prime-interlining hub. Each year, an increasing number of air travelers start or finish their journeys in the Southeast region of the United States.
In this region of the United States there is a saying that "Whether you go to heaven or hell, you have to pass through Atlanta's airport to connect!"
Atlanta International Airport's passenger terminal complex consists of the connected North and South terminals, an international facility, 5 domestic concourses, and an underground transit mall. Throughout the complex, all the architectural elements work together to guide passengers to their points of departure. A wide variety of concessions and amenities are located on the two connecting bridges of the terminal and on each concourse.
Hartsfield International Airport is about 45 Football Fields of Elbow Room and Service large.
Ticket counters for all airlines are located in the eastern half of the North and South terminals. Extensive curbside baggage check-in is also available in this area.
You can still stand in the old-fashioned ticket counter line as well as check-in yourself and your baggage that way.
But the best way to handle the crowds at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport is to use electronic ticketing. Then, instead of standing in line, you walk up to a nearby computer terminal, where you use your frequent flyer number or scan your credit card, press a few buttons, and in a matter of minutes you are checked in for your flight, you have your boarding pass in hand, you easily check in any baggage you have and you are on your way to the security check and then your gate.
That's the kind of situation that is becoming more and more common at Hartsfield now. Delta, along with some other airlines, has installed computerized terminals where passengers with e-tickets can check themselves in rather than wait in line to talk to a ticketing agent.
Delta alone has installed 32 of the kiosk terminals, 22 of which are at an old ticketing counter where airline agents stand ready to accept checked baggage. Another eight terminals are found on a pair of four-station kiosk quad units designed specifically for passengers who are only taking carry-on bags on their flight, and two more terminals are in the airport MARTA station.
Passengers can use the kiosks to check themselves in for an upcoming flight, as long as it is less than four hours or more than 30 minutes before the departure time. One must only scan a credit card with the name of the passenger listed on the e-ticket, or scan a Delta SkyMiles card used during the ticket purchase, to access the computer terminals.
Since September 11th 2001, Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport has gone through dramatic changes in its security checkpoints. The Transportation Safety Administration now has Federal screeners at all security checkpoints.
You just never know how long it will take to pass through security. Using this airport often, sometimes I have been in the security line for 45 minutes. At other times it has taken me less than 10 minutes to get through this area. Holidays are expecially bad. Also the morning flights from around 7am-9am and the evening flights from about 3:30pm until 6:30pm or so.
I know a number of folks who have missed their flights because they did not allow enough time for this stage of their flight.
Forewarned is forearmed as they say.
Baggage carousels are located in the western half of both North and South terminals, adjacent to all public and private transportation.
Your domestic flight will taxi in to concourse A, B, C, D or T. International flights will taxi into concourse E. In welcoming you to Atlanta, your flight attendant will likely tell you the number of the carousel where the flight's checked baggage will be delivered.
Follow the signs for Terminal/Baggage Claim. You'll go down an escalator or elevator to the transportation mall, Hartsfield's 1.75-mile-long backbone that connects the concourses to the terminal. Computer-operated trains (free of charge) run about every two minutes, traveling between all concourses and the terminal. Automated announcements will direct you onboard.
If you like, you may walk through the transportation mall or take the moving sidewalk, but I don't recommend this unless you are going only between near concourses. If your plane comes in at the last domestic gate on Concourse D and you take the train, you'll be at baggage claim in less than 15 minutes. The moving sidewalk route, which also involves long stretches of nonmoving sidewalk, will take closer to 30 minutes.
At the last stop, "Terminal/Baggage Claim" (do not make the mistake of getting off at the T-gates), you'll be directed up the escalator or elevator to baggage claim and all ground transportation. Here you'll also find the rental car counters.
Signs will direct you to the appropriate baggage area for your airline: north terminal baggage claim is to your right; south terminal baggage claim is to your left. Flight numbers flash over the various baggage carousels as the bags roll up the conveyor belt.
Let me ask you, what do you think is the most annoying thing about American airports?
I think it is the luggage cart situation. Why does the airport have to charge $1-2 for a cart? Personally, I think it is just a rip-off and not only do you usually not have enough quarters handy to rent the blasted thing but there is usually nowhere to get them nearby. And virtually no one ever returns the carts for a partial refund.
At Atlanta’s airport, only the international traveler’s get the use of a free luggage cart and then only within the international terminal. If they are stopping off in Atlanta they too will have to shell out American Quarters to rent a luggage cart when they re-claim their bags at domestic baggage claim.
So I think that if you were to ask any frequent traveler to list his or her top airport gripes I would bet that paying for luggage carts is sure to rank high. But that is the way it is for now but, if you agree with me, take every opportunity to let folks that work at the airport know that you do not like it!
In Atlanta, baggage carts are available for rent throughout the airport parking lots, curbs, and landside terminals. Free carts are only available in the international arrivals area.
Not so long ago, the most a bored and hungry traveler could expect to find at an airport was a hotdog and soda, and only newspapers, magazines and a limited selection of paperbacks were available to fill the waiting time.
Today, in many airports, that same traveler can select from a wide array of food from brand-name snacks and sweets to a sit-down meal. And the retail shops on premises are frequently numerous and diverse enough to constitute a mini-mall.
In Atlanta, once at their terminal, passengers have a choice of diversions while waiting on flights: food and beverages, retail shopping, duty-free shopping and a variety of services, such as shoe shining, connecting up to a T-1 line and much more.
Atlanta has more than 200 concessions for services. A wide variety of gift items, periodicals, and travel aids are offered in shops across from the domestic security checkpoint and on the domestic concourses. Atlanta International also offers some of the best duty-free shopping in the Southeast.
If you are traveling from Atlanta to a foreign country I have found that waiting until you get to your country of destination to change most of your American currency is a prudent thing to do. Exchange rates at the Atlanta airport seem to be very poor compared to what you will get at your destination airport’s currency exchange (Cambio) concession. I certainly agree that you should carry some of the foreign currency to your destination so you can handle minor transactions until you can get the bulk of your money exchanged.
But you certainly can exchange all or a portion of your American money at the Atlanta Hartsfield Airport. Travelex has two currency exchange locations at Hartsfield, Atrium – main terminal and Concourse “E” near gate 26. Additionally, travelers should look for mobile carts at Concourse “E”. They offer the following services: foreign currency, traveler’s checks, drafts & wires, phone cards, travel insurance, foreign check collection and precious metals.
Thomas Cook also provides a currency exchange on concourse E. There is a $5 fee for currency exchange up to $500 and 1% for amounts over $500. Bank drafts are $15. The fee to purchase travelers checcks is 2% of the amount. There is no charge to cash Thomas Cook travelers checks, there is a $5 fee to cash American Express travelers checks.
A full-service bank is located on the eastern end of the North Terminal.
Air travel can be frustrating for everyone.
But imagine being in a wheelchair and being patted down every time you travel because you can't walk through the metal detector. Or being a diabetic trying not to look suspicious as you transport a bag of medically needed syringes through security. Or simply being a parent hanging on to a howling toddler and an infant while trying to fold down a stroller for the X-ray machine.
For special-needs passengers, flying can be close to a nightmare, especially over any holiday, when airports are packed and getting the attention of harried airline employees may be more difficult. But planning will help navigate some of the obstacles.
You should know that the airline is responsible for helping passengers with special needs. An airline can:
• Set you up with a wheelchair and skycap if you can't walk long distances or carry heavy objects.
• Have a skycap meet you and help transport your luggage.
• Operate electric carts on the concourses to help move you to your gate.
• Issue a special gate pass to let a personal assistant or attendant through security if the ticketed passenger is disabled or a minor.
You must tell your reservations agent that you have a “disability” or a “special need”. A lot of people don't or won’t use that word. People in reservations have been trained and they are very sensitive to those words. Don't beat around the bush. Also have them read the record back to you so it's exactly how you want it and you know they completely understand your requirements.
Make sure that you request your wheelchair or meet-and-assist service in advance. If you don't reserve a wheelchair in advance, you may have to wait to get one located at your destination.
You may also have to wait during peak times, so when possible, fly on slower travel days. Monday afternoons through Thursday mornings are the slowest, and Saturdays can be good, too.
The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International airport bears the proud distinction of being "the world’s busiest passenger airport."
Each year, an increasing number of air travelers start or finish their journeys in the Southeast region of the United States.
Location: 6000 North Terminal Parkway, Atlanta, Ga. 30320
Photo: Compliments of City of Atlanta
I pass through this airport at least once a month, transferring with either Delta Airlines or AirTran Airlines.
One thing I really get a kick out of is this 'Smoker's Room."
If you smoke, stay in here. You smell. When you come out, please use a breath mint before talking to me.
WARNING: this tip is boring, but very useful
unfortunatly i know a little about the transportation situation at the hartsfield internatinal airport. i lived in atlanta (dont ask why) for almost two years and for money to travel i found a job as a shuttle driver for a downtown hotel. not only did i take our hotel guest all around the city, but i made thousands of trips to the airport to pick-up arriving guest.
if u are flying into atlanta and staying in atlanta, theres some things u should know. first is that u are going to want to fallow the signs from the baggage claim to "ground transportation". when u come out the terminal doors u are going to first see the rental shuttles, and taxis. taxis in atlanta have a flat rate anywhere into atlanta for 20 dollars. dont pay a penny more.
after the taxi and rentals car shuttles, u will find the "downtown shuttles". this is where u really have to watch out. these guys will tell u anything to get u to ride with them. the average cost is 14 dollars to downtown atlanta, but make sure they tell u that before u get into the shuttle. these shuttles are cheaper then the taxis and sometimes the best way to go.
after the shuttle bus row, is the hotel shuttle buses. u should always check before taking a taxi or downtown shuttle, if your hotel has airport pick-up. in the hotel shuttle row u will find courtesy phones with all the hotels that pick-up from the airport. do not let the downtown shuttle guys tell u that your hotel doesnt pick-up at the airport, check for yourself. if the hotel does pick up its always free.
the cheapest way to get to downtown is by marta. it cost 1.75 and takes about 30 minutes. this isnt door to door service though and if u have a lot of bags this may not be the way to go.
make sure u research where u are going before u arrive in atlanta and call your hotel and ask the best way to get to them, it can save u some money
* please feel free to rate this tip, and any other of my travel tips, i am always looking to improve the quality of my homepage