Hartsfield-Jackson expects nearly 5.2 million passengers over holidays

Credit: Christina Matacotta

Credit: Christina Matacotta

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is preparing to handle nearly 5.2 million passengers over the year-end holidays, with this Friday expected to be the busiest day of the travel period.

An estimated 308,186 passengers are expected to pass through the world’s busiest airport on Friday.

The busy holiday period for the Atlanta airport is expected to run from Dec. 16 through Jan. 3.

With the rebound in travel this year, passenger counts are approaching pre-pandemic volumes. The rise of remote work during the pandemic also means some travelers are able to leave town earlier, lengthening the holiday travel period.

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Airport officials are advising passengers to allow extra time to find parking, get through security and find their way through the airport to their gates. Travelers should plan to get to the terminal at least 2.5 hours before domestic departures and 3 hours before international flights.

Those who have special travel requirements such as wheelchairs should allow an extra 30 minutes on top of that, because of the chance of waits for wheelchair assistance, elevators and security screening.

Security waits during peak times can be more than half an hour long, while lines for checking bags can also be lengthy during busy periods.

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The Transportation Security Administration advises passengers to check their bags for prohibited items such as weapons before leaving for the airport, to reduce the chance of delays at the security checkpoint.

Credit: Christina Matacotta

Credit: Christina Matacotta

Construction on the Terminal South parking deck has reduced the number of parking spaces available next to the terminal. Airport officials have advised travelers to consider parking at the remote ATL West parking deck, connected to the terminal via Sky Train. Private off-airport lots may also offer parking reservations.

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