Hartsfield-Jackson’s relocated cellphone lot drives some off-track

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

The relocation of the cellphone lot at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is still prompting confusion among some motorists picking up passengers at the terminal, months after its opening.

The cell phone lot opened last October is farther from the domestic terminal than the old location. The previous location was next to Terminal South, where drivers could park in a lot next to the airfield, a short distance from the terminal curbside.

But the old location “created a security risk,” Hartsfield-Jackson general manager Balram Bheodari told the Atlanta City Council transportation committee on Wednesday.

In 2012, someone in the cell phone lot threw a bag to an airline worker inside the airport’s perimeter fence — prompting an airport investigation into the breach of security protocols. “We want to tighten up our security posture,” Bheodari said.

He also said that area next to Terminal South is needed as space for construction contractors working on projects at the airport.

The new location is more centrally located for motorists picking up passengers at both Terminal North and Terminal South, according to airport officials.

But some meeter-greeters headed to the airport who are familiar with the old location, which had been open for a decade, may have a more difficult time finding the new location.

Dynamic signs at the airport direct motorists to the new cell phone lot location, which requires those coming from I-85 South to drive past the terminal, following signs to the ATL West Parking/Rental Car Center while staying in the right lane to drive around a loop to the cell phone lot.

Credit: Source: Google maps, AJC

Credit: Source: Google maps, AJC

“We still have some issues,” Bheodari said. He said motorists “will pull out at the side of the road and park.”

“We’re putting a lot of focus on keeping them moving,” he said.