Insider's survival guide to Atlanta's airport

Traveling to Atlanta? Through Atlanta? Either way you'll be passing through the world's busiest airport. What you need to know:


Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport isn't just in Atlanta. It's in three cities — College Park, Hapeville and Atlanta — a solid 15 minutes south of the city proper.

Getting there

If you're not flying into the airport, you will need to drive or take public transportation.

Traveling to the airport by car gives you multiple options, including I-85 and I-285. If you're returning a rental car, follow the signs, then take the SkyTrain to the Rental Car Center.

Don't want to drive your own car or rental vehicle? Request a pickup or drop-off from Uber, which offers flat-rate fares to and from the airport from multiple locations across the metro area.

Also consider taking MARTA. You'll pay $2.50 one way to the transportation hub. MARTA's red and gold lines both terminate at the airport's south end.


There are a variety of on-site and off-site parking options. Click here to see a full parking overview and here to check out parking options.

Rental vehicles

Unlike many other airports, Hartsfield-Jackson doesn't let you pick up the keys to your rental vehicle near baggage claim. To get your vehicle, make your way to the ATL SkyTrain. The SkyTrain will transport you to the Rental Car Center, which is on the airport grounds but outside the terminal and runway areas.


The TSA security checkpoint is centrally located near the airport's atrium. For tips on packing your carry-on and a guide for items permitted on the plane, click here.

Navigating the terminals

There are two airport terminals: domestic and international. Seven concourses — T, A, B, C, D, E and F -- link together between the terminals.

When you fly into the airport, and if Atlanta is your final travel destination, you'll want to walk from your gate to the Plane Train. Once aboard the automated people mover, stay on until you reach baggage claim.

If you're just beginning your travels — and after you've gone through security — board the Plane Train to reach your concourse. It's a good idea to recheck your gate number on the screens near the center of the concourse. After all, your flight's departure plan may have changed.

Dining at the airport

Without going through security, airport visitors have the option of ordering from Atlanta ChopHouse & Brewery, Burger King, Coffee Beanery, IHOP, Popeye's, Shane's Rib Shack, Starbucks, Teriyaki Experience or TGI Friday's.

Once you're through security, you'll have even more restaurant options, including those that are extensions of their flagship locations in Atlanta. Locals rave about Ecco's fried goat cheese, the burgers at Grindhouse Killer Burgers, fresh fruit cups at Lottafrutta and the Frosted Orange at The Varsity.

Also, once through security, you are not confined to the concourse in which your plane will depart. Use the concourse maps to explore the airport's culinary options, as time allows.

Meet and greet

If you're arriving in Atlanta and meeting someone at the airport, the most convenient spot to meet is at the top of the escalator in the Arrivals Lobby. The space has ample seating with easy access to baggage claim.

Want more information about the airport? Check out the AJC's Airport Blog.