It’s time for the end-of-holiday rush with added security measures, as well. Travelers should be prepared for the possibility of imaging machines, pat-downs and delays. Here are a few things fliers need to know as they navigate Atlanta’s airport.
SECURITY AND SCREENING
● Delta Air Lines is advising travelers to get to the airport three hours in advance of international flights and up to two hours in advance of domestic flights. Check with your airline for more specific suggestions.
● For Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport information, go to atlanta-airport.com or call 1-800-897-1910.
● Hartsfield-Jackson’s main security checkpoint is on one end of the main terminal and has 22 lanes for passengers flying out. A maze line leads to the checkpoint. The line usually moves slowly but steadily. The airport has four lanes at a Terminal South checkpoint and six lanes at a Terminal North checkpoint. Signs will direct travelers to three types of lanes they can choose from: Black Diamond for expert, elite or frequent business travelers; Blue Square for more casual travelers with carry-on baggage and a basic understanding of security requirements; and Green Circle for those with special needs or those traveling with young children in strollers.
● You must have a boarding pass and photo ID to go through security and on to the gate concourses.
Expect extra screening
● As of Nov. 1, all airline passengers are required to provide their full name as it appears on government-issued ID, their date of birth and gender when booking reservations. The TSA says passengers should provide all of that information at the time of booking to avoid delays and prevent misidentifications.
● TSA guidelines call for all liquids, gels and aerosols to be in containers no larger than 3.4 ounces. Containers must be placed in a 1-quart clear plastic zip-top bag. One bag is permitted per traveler. It must be removed from your carry-on and placed in the security bin for X-ray screening.
● Prescription drugs, baby formula and breast milk are allowed in quantities larger than 3 ounces and are not required to be in a zip-top bag, but they must be declared for inspection at the checkpoint. Beverages purchased after screening may be brought onboard.
● The TSA’s list of prohibited carry-on items includes a variety of sharp objects such as box cutters and knives, certain sporting goods such as baseball bats and golf clubs, guns and firearms, tools such as hammers and drills, and a variety of flammable materials.
● Also prohibited in carry-on bags are snow globes regardless of size and amount of liquid inside (even with documentation) and gel-type candles.
● As of this November, the TSA also prohibits toner and ink cartridges over 16 ounces in both carry-on bags and checked bags.
» Tip: TSA asks travelers to put their shoes directly on the conveyor belt instead of in a bin.
● At Hartsfield-Jackson, the TSA now has 14 full-body imaging millimeter-wave machines, which create three-dimensional images of passengers’ bodies underneath their clothes.
● Imaging technology is optional. Passengers can be screened with a physical pat-down instead. The TSA recently began using a more aggressive pat-down technique.
● A passenger who is screened with one of the imaging machines goes into the imaging portal, stands in a position and remains still for a few seconds. The officer who looks at the image is in a remote location and cannot see the passenger. The TSA said after a review of the image, it is immediately deleted. The passenger then exits the opposite side of the portal and collects carry-on items.
● The TSA said the full process takes less than a minute and recommends that passengers remove all the items from their pockets, including money, and certain accessories such as bulky jewelry, to avoid extra screening after exiting the machine.
● According to the TSA, anyone who refuses to be screened at any point during the screening process will not be able to fly.
» Tip: TSA also has a MyTSA iPhone application and a mobile site at www.tsa.gov/mobile, where you can get information on wait times and prohibited items.
Delta and AirTran have added fees for checked baggage for most passengers. On AirTran flights, the first checked bag will cost $20 and the second checked bag will cost $25. On Delta’s domestic flights, the first checked bag will cost $23 and the second checked bag will cost $32. On Delta, there’s an extra surcharge per bag if you pay the fee at the airport instead of while checking in online. See the airlines’ websites for more information.
Small sharp objects such as scissors, tweezers, nail clippers and small tools may be carried onboard. But if in doubt, leave it at home or pack it in checked luggage. Airlines allow one carry-on item plus one personal item.
If you still use it, put it in your carry-on. Bomb-detecting machines that screen checked luggage will ruin film.
Don’t wrap gifts you’ll be taking with you. They may be inspected by security screeners.
» Tip: Thinking of bringing something for the holiday meal? Prohibited liquids or gels in carry-on bags include cranberry sauce, creamy dips/spreads, gravy, jams or jellies, maple syrup and sauces.
HELPFUL NUMBERS AND WEBSITES
● Hartsfield-Jackson’s website — www.atlanta-airport.com — posts security checkpoint wait times and offers Trak-a-Line and Trak-a-Flight. These services will e-mail you with security wait times and departure times. The airport’s website is now mobile-friendly.
● The airport has more than 30,000 parking spaces, with more than 8,000 park-ride spaces on site for $9 per day. Some airport parking rates increased July 1. The airport’s economy parking lots adjacent to the parking decks now cost $3 per hour or $12 per day. Hourly parking in the parking decks in front of the terminal now costs $2 per hour for the first two hours. The airport website has information on parking availability at its lots — including daily, economy, hourly and park-ride lots. Call 404-530-6725 or 1-877-ATL-PARK
● For its west economy, Park-Ride Reserve and Park-Ride B lots, the airport now uses a ticketless, credit card in-out system, and says it will no longer accept cash at those lots.
● Check in for flights online using airline websites to save time at the airport.
● Delta Air Lines flight information, 1-800-325-1999; flight status also available at delta.com. You also can sign up for e-mail flight notifications on Delta’s Web site.
● AirTran information, 1-800-247-8726, airtran.com.
» Tip: Print out your boarding pass on your home computer or use self-serve kiosks to bypass check-in lines and go straight to baggage-check stations.
PARK AND RIDE
There are several private park-ride lots on Camp Creek Parkway and its side streets, about a five- to 10-minute shuttle ride from the terminal. Some of the park-ride lots’ websites offer coupons or discounts.
● Park ’N Go, 3151 Camp Creek Parkway, East Point, near Washington Road; 404-669-9300; $6.99/day uncovered, $7.99/day covered.
● Fasttrack Parking, 3802 Washington Road, East Point, at Camp Creek Parkway; 404-559-4475; $7.49/day uncovered; plus $2/stay service fee.
● The Parking Spot, 2741 Camp Creek Parkway, East Point, near Washington Road; 404-761-3300; $8.95/day uncovered; $12.50/day covered.
● The Parking Spot 2, 3600 N. Desert Drive, East Point, near Camp Creek Parkway; 404-761-7711; $8.95/day uncovered; $12.50/day covered.
● Preflight Airport Parking, 4000 Global Gateway Connector, College Park; 404-767-8000; $9.50/day uncovered; $13.50/day covered.
● Park ’N Fly Plus, 2525 Camp Creek Parkway, College Park, near Herschel Road; 404-761-0364; $9/day uncovered; $11/day covered.
● Park ’N Ticket, 3945 Conley St., College Park, at Camp Creek Parkway; 404-669-3800; $11/day uncovered; $15/day covered.
● Park ’N Fly, 3950 Conley St., College Park, at Camp Creek Parkway; 404-763-3185; $12/day Monday-Friday; $10/day Sat.-Sun.
● Wally Park, 3889 Herschel Road, College Park, at Camp Creek Parkway; 404-763-9990; $9/day uncovered; $11/day covered.
» Tip: Some facilities offer discounts for seniors and AAA club members. Some lots take reservations and have valet parking.
● The MARTA train takes you right into the airport terminal, near baggage claim. Take MARTA’s Red or Gold line to and from the airport. Trips are $2 each way.
● Since this fall, MARTA has been operating trains with reduced frequency, so you may want to allow extra time for your train to arrive. Trains operate either every 15 minutes or every 20 minutes, depending on the day and time. Trains begin service about 4:45 a.m. on weekdays and about 6 a.m. on weekends.
» Tip: Purchase round-trip fare to save time on your return trip.
GOOD TO KNOW
● Most of Delta’s domestic mainline fleet and AirTran’s entire fleet of planes are equipped with in-flight Wi-Fi access. The regular rates are $4.95 per flight up to 1.5 hours; $9.95 per flight between 1.5 hours and three hours; and $12.95 per flight longer than three hours. Mobile access, 24-hour passes, 30-day passes and more options are available at different rates.
● Both Delta and AirTran are partnering with Google to offer free inflight Wi-Fi from Nov. 20 through Jan. 2.
Children traveling alone
Check with your airline for rules, restrictions and charges for children traveling alone.
Travelers in wheelchairs
Airline representatives at Hartsfield-Jackson can provide wheelchair assistance. Let your airline know when making your reservation if you need this service, and remind the agent at the airport. Check with your airline for other special needs.
Because nonticketed people are not allowed beyond security checkpoints, you’ll have to meet arrivals in the terminal at the greeting area or at some other spot.
Source: Research by Kelly Yamanouchi