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Atlanta: What To Know When Flying Out of the World’s Busiest Airport

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is considered the world’s busiest airport by passenger volume and number of flights. Over 100 million people pass through the terminals of ATL each year, which provides logistical situations to be managed by all parties involved – airline personnel, airport staff, and, most especially, airline passengers. Going to or through ATL can be overwhelming, but a few pre-planning steps can make your travels smooth and easy.

Timing

While the airport is relatively close to the busy downtown, residents and frequent visitors to Atlanta understand the sheer volume of traffic that surrounds the city at all times. It is incredibly important for anyone who is traveling out of ATL to plan ahead for an early terminal arrival.

Check traffic websites frequently if you are traveling via private ground transportation such as Groundlink, and consider flying out at non-peak times (very early, mid-day, or late evening).

You might also consider utilizing the city’s metro system, MARTA, which luckily has one of its final destinations as the airport (incredibly convenient if you are coming from the city). MARTA operates on a regular schedule and utilizes an easy payment system (Breeze Cards)  but the timetables are not as frequent as other cities that travelers might be used to, so definitely check schedules in advance.

Terminals

With approximately 260,000 passengers daily, the Atlanta airport needs to operate like a well-oiled machine. It is laid out well with easy to navigate terminals. The airport rail system is designed to move passengers between terminals efficiently.

Take-Off

It goes without saying that with so many passengers, you should plan to be at your gate well ahead of boarding. If a mishap occurs or a flight is delayed or canceled, it’s better to be prepared for any changes to your flight schedule. If delayed, or you switch flights, there are plenty of options to keep fed and entertained. Plus, the people-watching provides a great glimpse into international culture.

Plan ahead for your travels out of ATL and you will find that your experience will be smooth sailing!

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