ATL Airport Survival Guide
Tricks for reducing travel stress from the parking lot to the gate
Getting around the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is not an easy task. The busiest airport in the world, ATL averages 275,000 passengers a day. (That’s a lot of people.) With long security lines, congested concourses and 192 gates servicing more than 2,500 flights a day, road warriors have adopted a few tricks for arriving to their gate on time.
If you’re lucky enough to have flexibility with your schedule, take advantage of off-peak travel days – generally Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Less travelers means shorter lines. Security line wait times are updated regularly on the Hartsfield-Jackson website. Also, consider registering for ATL Trak-a-Line to receive email updates whenever there are changes to the wait times leading up to your flight.
If you travel often, sign up for TSA PreCheck. While pre-cleared passengers will still encounter a security line, these lines are shorter and move much faster. (And, you can keep your shoes on!) For a mere $85, you have PreCheck status for five years.
Choose the right parking option
Never considered airport parking to be a time-saver? Your parking location can come with definite advantages, but with nearly two dozen nearby parking options presented in a Google search, it’s hard to identify the best facility for you. While the closest terminal parking at ATL is enticing, the $36 / day cost is a bit steep. Fast Park’s ATL facility, which services the international terminal exclusively, is a frequent flyer’s best-kept secret for domestic travel. That’s right, domestic travelers who are not checking bags can enjoy the much shorter lines in the international terminal before heading to their gate for a domestic flight. Fast Park is just minutes from the airport, and a friendly shuttle driver will get you to the international terminal in about five minutes.
Catch the Plane Train
ATL’s automated people mover (APM) connects the domestic and international terminals to the airport’s seven concourses. The airport boasts that an APM will allow you to reach the farthest concourse within five minutes. If you’ve worked in some downtime in your schedule, the APM can chauffeur you to ATL’s top dining and shopping spots.
There are 114 food and beverage locations throughout the airport. If you Google the best places to eat at the ATL, One Flew South (Concourse E) will be on that list. It’s consistently ranked one of the best airport restaurants in the world. Atlanta Eater also suggests checking out Paschal’s Southern Cuisine (Concourse B) and Varasano’s (Concourse A). If you need an extra boost of sugar, stop by Savannah’s Candy Kitchen (Concourse C) to indulge your sweet tooth.
ATL has 90 retail and convenience outlets, three duty-free stores and 56 service outlets (including a banking center, post office, lottery outlets and spas). Buy yourself a new purse at Coach (Concourse F) or Michael Kors (Concourse E), or pick up some new headphones at Brookstone (Concourses B, C, D, F & T) to help you relax on the plane.
Planning ahead, having a few “insider” tricks up your sleeve and taking advantage of all of the amenities ATL has to offer can take some of the stress out of traveling.
Traveling soon? Make a reservation at our ATL facility.