Holiday travel is picking up at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport as Christmas Eve nears ahead of what is expected to be the peak holiday travel day on Friday.
During the early Thursday morning rush, wait times at security checkpoints ranged from under 15 minutes to about half an hour, depending on the time and the checkpoint, according to posted security time estimates on the Atlanta airport’s website.
About 84,000 people are expected to pass through Hartsfield-Jackson’s security checkpoints today, a number that is expected to reach nearly 90,000 tomorrow. Most of the airport’s traffic, however, is from travelers passing through Atlanta on flights to other destinations who don’t go through security at Hartsfield-Jackson.
Hartsfield-Jackson’s parking lots had space available early Thursday morning, according to the airport’s website. The website also notes that space availability is subject to change.
Parking lots could fill up with more cars as the busiest part of the travel period leading up to Christmas Eve kicks off Friday.
Construction work at the airport has reduced the number of parking spots available and caused traffic congestion. Airport officials advise travelers to get to the airport 2.5 hours before their flights, while Delta advises customers to arrive at least 3 hours before departure.
Forecasts this week show Hartsfield-Jackson expects to handle more than 326,000 travelers on Friday, the peak day of the season, and more than 301,000 on Saturday. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will be less crowded at the airport before traffic picks up again.