You’ve flown out of Hartsfield-Jackson International for a vacation. You pick up your relatives there when they visit for the holidays.
Perhaps you connect through Atlanta regularly, or maybe you fly out of ATL every week for business trips.
Whichever kind of traveler you are, there are always more tips and tricks to learn about the Atlanta airport.
Get some ideas to improve your next trip and impress your friends with these 10 things to know about Hartsfield-Jackson.
- It may not seem like Atlanta would be home to the world's busiest airport, but it's a fact that Hartsfield-Jackson handles more passengers than any other airport on Earth. That's because Delta Air Lines bases its massive airline hub in Atlanta, connecting tens of millions of travelers through the airport's concourses every year. Other airports in the top 10 are Beijing, Dubai, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Chicago, London, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Paris, based on 2016 passenger traffic. ATL isn't the biggest airport by square mileage; other airports including Denver and Dallas/Fort Worth have more land, but Hartsfield-Jackson handles more flights and passengers.
- The airport's hyphenated name comes from two former mayors of Atlanta, William B. Hartsfield, who developed the airport in its earlier days, and Maynard H. Jackson, who oversaw construction of the main terminal completed in 1980. The international terminal is also named for Jackson.
- If you need some shut-eye or some privacy in the airport and you're willing to pay for it, there are sleep suites on Concourse B. Minute Suites on Concourse B rents out small private rooms with a daybed sofa, pillows, blankets and a TV, for $42 an hour up to two hours, $8 for each 15-minute increment after that, or $140 for 8 hours. The company also announced plans for a second location on Concourse T.
- A massive canopy construction project is underway at the curbside of the domestic terminal. The construction is causing lane closures, so allow extra time and be careful when approaching the terminal.
- The Atlanta airport has seven concourses: T, A, B, C, D, E and F. (The "T" is for terminal, since Concourse T is attached to the domestic terminal.) You can get to any of the seven concourses by entering the airport via the domestic terminal on the west end or via the international terminal on the east end. The plane train people-mover connects the two terminals to all of the concourses. You generally do need a valid boarding pass for an upcoming flight to get through security and onto the Plane Train through the airport. Otherwise, you can take the free terminal-to-terminal shuttle bus between the international terminal and domestic terminal.
- There's a vast array of art throughout the terminals and concourses of the Atlanta airport, including a virtual walk through a forest in the underground walkway between Concourses A and B and some massive hanging sculptures in the international terminal and Concourse F.
- There are three interfaith chapel locations at Hartsfield-Jackson. One is pre-security in the domestic terminal atrium on the third floor, another is at the Concourse E midpoint, and a third is on Concourse F on the second floor of the atrium. There are services throughout the week and the chapels are open 24 hours a day.
- Atlantans may not often need to use it, but there's a free SkyTrain people-mover that runs outside the airport. It has three stations, going from the domestic terminal to the Georgia International Convention Center and onto the airport's rental car center. At the Georgia International Convention Center stop — known as Gateway Center — there are several hotels that are connected to the airport by SkyTrain: the Marriott Atlanta Gateway, Springhill Suites Gateway and the Renaissance Atlanta Airport Gateway. The train connection makes these hotels convenient options for travelers stranded in Atlanta during snowstorms, and the Marriott and Renaissance have restaurants that are a change of pace from airport fare.
- The world's busiest airport has plenty of the typical fast food and chain restaurants you'd expect, but there are also some more surprising choices if you have extra time to dine. There's the upscale James Beard award semifinalist One Flew South on Concourse E, and an airport outpost of the sleek Midtown restaurant Ecco on Concourse F. You'll find a Papi's Caribbean Cafe on Concourse T, a Varasano's Pizzeria with a piano bar on Concourse A, a small Cafe Intermezzo on Concourse B, The Varsity on Concourse C, Ludacris concept Chicken + Beer on Concourse D and many other options among the more than 114 food and beverage locations.
- Most people want to get in and out of the airport as quickly as possible. But if the hustle-and-bustle is appealing and you have a class or group that wants to do more exploring, you can arrange for a group tour through the airport. The options include tours of the airfield and ground control tower, the airfield and one of the airport's fire stations, the SkyTrain and Plane Train operations, or airport art. Submit a request on the airport's website.
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Credit: John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com