If you’re one of the 93 million passengers that passed through Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International airport last year, you know it can be overwhelming. Here are a few tips to help you breeze through to your gate.
Atlanta’s airport has many on- and off-site parking options. On-site includes Hourly, Daily, and Economy on both the North and South sides of the airport. Hourly and Daily are both housed in a parking deck so most floors protect your car from the elements whereas Economy is an open lot.
Daily spots on the South (Delta) side fill up pretty quickly on Mondays, especially if it’s raining. If you don’t need to check a bag and already have your boarding pass, I recommend parking on the North (non-Delta) side.
Indoor and outdoor options are also available off-site. Check online for parking discounts since many offer discounts for reserving a spot or printing coupons found on their website. Groupon has also run several promotions for indoor parking at Peachy Airport Parking. If you can spare a few minutes to wait for the shuttles to take you to the off-site lots, these options can save you a lot of money (up to $10/day compared to daily on-site parking). Many also offer perks like Delta miles, car washes, and free parking days if you become part of their frequent parking clubs.
There are three areas for security screening that each provide access to all domestic flights: Main, North, and South. If you’re flying Monday morning, there is no avoiding the security lines. But not all lines are created equal – the South security line has a TSA Pre-Check line that allows passengers to skip the time-consuming steps of removing shoes, computers and liquids. That line is always longer, but also moves much faster than regular lines. If you’re not registered for Pre-Check, then skip the South side entirely – even first class lines are quite long – and head either to the North side (non-Delta) or Main security areas.
Check the airport’s mobile website iFlyATL.com or the boards near each security entrance for updated security wait times to help you minimize your time standing in line.
The rental car facility that houses all rental counters is a short (free) train ride away from the main terminal, however, finding it can be a little tricky. Once you’ve collected your luggage, follow the Ground transportation/taxi signs out the west end of the building. Cross the small street and enter the building, which has entrances on both the north and south sides. Take the escalator (or elevator) up to where you’ll catch the ATL SkyTrain and take it to the second stop for the car rental center. This train also provides access to the Georgia International Convention Center (GICC) and its hotels.
Atlanta’s beautiful new international terminal is now open, so if your next business trip to London or vacation to Spain originates in Atlanta, make sure to follow signs to the International Terminal off of I-75 to park on-site. If you’re parking off-site, tell them you’re flying internationally to make sure you get on the right shuttle. Taking MARTA? Unfortunately, you’ll have to ride into the main terminal and catch the shuttle to the international terminal from there.
Connecting internationally thru Atlanta? You’re in luck! The underground train that connects all domestic gates also goes to the international gates. Check the monitors then proceed to appropriate gate (international flights are currently departing out of Terminals E or F).
The airport’s mobile website, iFlyATL.com, includes updated parking information and security wait times as well as restaurants, services, and store lists by concourse. So whether ATL is your home away from home or you are just passing through, you can navigate this airport like a pro!
This is the second in a series of featured tips ‘n’ tricks for major airports. If you are a frequent traveler through ATL, please share your advice as well in the comments!