Hartsfield-Jackson and Airport Partners Prepare for Busy Holiday Travel Season

Thursday, November 18th, 2021

As the holiday travel season kicks off and passenger traffic increases, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) officials are working closely with its partners and Airport stakeholders to host more than 2.2 million passengers during the holiday period that runs from Saturday, November 20, 2021 through Monday, November 29, 2021.  

On Nov. 17, Airport officials hosted a press conference to discuss the upcoming holiday period and prepare passengers for travel.

“The busiest time at Hartsfield-Jackson begins with the Thanksgiving holiday travel weekend and continues through the end of the year,” said Airport Senior Deputy General Manager Michael Smith. “Rest assured that the world’s busiest airport is well-prepared to serve our guests. Thanks to our ongoing collaboration with our many stakeholders, including TSA, CBP and our airlines partners, we will efficiently and effectively facilitate the large number of travelers expected here at ATL.”

Officials from ATL, the Atlanta Police Department (APD), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) addressed holiday-related topics such as safety, security, COVID-19 impacts, and passenger forecasts, along with time-saving tips for passengers.

“We anticipate ATL security checkpoints will be busy during the upcoming Thanksgiving travel period, with the heaviest passenger volumes on the Wednesday before the holiday and the Sunday following,” said Robert Spinden, TSA Federal Security Director for Georgia. “As with all heavy travel periods, we work closely with our airport and airline partners to ensure we’re staffed appropriately and prepared to handle the increases.”

ATL leaders and partners at TSA and CBP are taking steps to ensure passengers have a safe, efficient and enjoyable experience as they travel with their families and loved ones through the Airport.

“During the holiday season, the Customs and Border Protection inspection process can be just as busy as shopping centers and area roadways,” said Paula Rivera, CBP Port Director for Atlanta. “Though everyone is in a hurry, CBP is working to facilitate legitimate travelers through our area as quickly as possible while still maintaining our priority homeland security mission.”

Travelers who haven’t been to the Airport since before the COVID-19 pandemic will observe enhanced safety measures and guidelines, new TSA requirements, as well as a new rideshare pickup location – all of which will impact travel.

Recently, the rideshare pickup locations for all approved transportation network companies – such as Uber and Lyft – were consolidated and moved to the North lower level.

The move is expected to increase efficiency and allows rideshare drivers to enter and exit uninterrupted with a ticketless system. This dedicated pickup area is for rideshares only, removing the element of personal vehicles, commercial vehicles, and buses competing for parking in the same area. Due to this change, the Airport moved the entrance to the North Economy parking lot. Passengers using the North Economy lot will travel the same path but will turn left into the lot approximately 100 yards before the former entrance. Dynamic signage is displayed to inform the public about the new entrance. 

As ATL works to ease congestion and facilitate passenger travel during this busy holiday travel period, officials offer passengers the following travel tips:

  • Arrive in the Airport two hours prior to domestic departure flight times, three hours for international flights

  • Utilize mass transit like MARTA, rideshare options like Lyft and Uber, and taxis

  • Follow Airport and airline social media accounts for timely updates

  • Check the Airport’s website (www.atl.com) for the most up-to-date parking information and security wait times

COVID-19 Safety Tips:

  • Follow FAA requirements and wear a mask in airports and on flights – a rule in place through Jan. 18, 2022. 

  • With the widespread availability of rapid tests, consider testing yourself before travel and upon arrival, and keep a few extra tests in your luggage in case you are exposed or experience symptoms. 

  • Pack a few extra masks and hand sanitizer in your luggage.