Hartsfield-Jackson re-phrasing "world's busiest" moniker

In the city that was once too busy to hate, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is now trying to downplay how busy it is -- after years of bragging about it.

According to Hartsfield-Jackson general manager Miguel Southwell, the Atlanta airport, formerly called the world's busiest airport, shall henceforth be known as the "world's most traveled airport."

During a presentation to the Atlanta city council's transportation committee on Wednesday, Southwell said "some really smart marketing people" have determined that the term "busy" has a negative connotation.

Indeed, when Hartsfield-Jackson crows about how it is the world's busiest airport, some travelers -- who groan at the thought of long lines and crowds -- ask why the title is something to brag about.

"So it's 'world's most traveled,'" Southwell told the city council members. "Please note that we're no longer using the term 'the busiest airport.'"

Hartsfield-Jackson regained the title of the airport with the most flights in the world for 2015, along with having the most passengers in the world. Chicago O'Hare International had held the title for the most flights for one year.

And the world's busiest title got national attention in late December when Hartsfield-Jackson became the first airport in the world to handle 100 million passengers in a single year.

The man crowned as the 100 millionth passenger, Larry Kendrick, took a lackluster attitude toward the honor.

"This gentleman didn't show too much excitement," Southwell noted during his quarterly presentation on the airport to the city council committee. "I think we need to check with 'The Price is Right' people to find out how they get them so excited."

Calling itself the "world's most traveled airport" isn't the only way Hartsfield-Jackson is attempting to nudge people to call it by its preferred title.

Last year, the Atlanta airport launched a campaign to encourage people to use its full name -- which officials say is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport -- instead of shortening it to Hartsfield, as is common in Atlanta.

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About the Author

Kelly Yamanouchi
Kelly Yamanouchi
Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.