Atlanta Airport Travel Tips You Need To Know
The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has been named the busiest airport, in the world, since 2000. As the main travel hub in my hometown, I’ve traveled through ATL (that’s the airport code) more times than I can count. If it’s part of your plans, here are some AWESOME Atlanta Airport Travel Tips!
Related: 10 Hacks For Sleeping On A Plane
7 Atlanta Airport Travel Tips
Getting To The Airport
The airport sits exactly 10 miles from downtown Atlanta. MARTA (The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) provides train and bus service from metro Atlanta to the airport. MARTA’s Airport Station is located at the west end of the Domestic Terminal between Domestic Terminal North and Domestic Terminal South baggage claim areas.
If you’re driving by car, the Atlanta airport sits between highways I-85 and I-285. Atlanta is known for heavy traffic, especially during rush hour. During normal traffic, the airport is 10 minutes south of downtown Atlanta. Always plan for traffic though.
Atlanta Airport Parking Options
The Domestic and International terminals each have their individual parking lots, which offer overnight parking. The parking lots are divided into different sections: Hourly, Daily, Economy and Park Ride. They offer 102 electric vehicle charging stations as well.
To easily remember where you’re parked, you can jot down your location in your cell, take a reminder card or scan the QR code posted near your parking space. I just take a quick photo.
Parking rates vary from $3/hour to $36/day for overnight parking. If you don’t want to park on-site, there are various park-and-shuttle services around the airport.
One of the best Atlanta airport travel tips, if you’re a frequent traveler, is to consider applying for Gold Reserve Parking (it’s like the cool kids parking). This membership service allows you to bypass ticket lines and you’ll always have a spot reserved for you. It’s a covered lot unto itself and members must apply and be accepted to the paid program.
An advance payment of $200 is required along with a $25 or $40 parking transponder fee. The transponder sits on your dashboard. An annual feed of $408 is also required. On top of those fees, you STILL pay $3 per hour to a maximum of $34 per 24-hour period.
Real-time airport parking updates are on radio station 830 AM.
Food Options At Atlanta Airport
Whether you’re vegan or need a kosher meal, there are so many options at Atlanta International Airport. There are sit-down table service options and casual fast food options available at every concourse. Some of my favorite local eats, which have an airport presence, are: Atlanta Bread Company, Jeykll Island Seafood Company, Savannah’s Candy Kitchen and SweetWater Last Call Bar & Grill.
I’ve found many low-carb options available at national chains, like Starbucks. Lunch and Dinner entree options are served during breakfast hours as well.
Navigating Security At The Atlanta Airport
Like any International airport, you should arrive a solid 2 hours before your departure time. Passengers can sign up for the ATL Trak-a-Line system, which alerts you via email if there is a change in security line wait times.
To save time, sign up for TSA Pre Check to avoid the long lines. You can do it online or there is a TSA enrollment center near baggage claim in the airport. Of all my Atlanta airport travel tips, this one is most practical: use a restroom before hopping in the security line.
Walk Less & Save Time
While you can walk between every terminal, or use the moving sidewalks, The Plane Train connects all concourses with the Domestic and International terminals. It sits on a 3-mile loop track and offers both sitting and standing room. You can catch one every two minutes.
If you do choose to walk, keep your eyes open. Visitors can check out the exhibits between each terminal, which feature photography, sculptures, and stories about Atlanta’s history. This is a great option to entertain kids and burn off some steam.
Passengers who need assistance, and can’t walk, can arrange transportation via each individual airline before arriving. They can take you directly to your gate.
Atlanta Airport Breastfeeding Spots
If you’re a mommy on-the-go and need a spot to breastfeed, download the Mamava app (via Apple or Google). They’re really neat breastfeeding pods that offer privacy and comfort. There are several breastfeeding pods located in the Atlanta airport. The app will give you access via bluetooth. Plus, they’re wheelchair accessible.
Traveling With Kids At The Atlanta Airport
Sadly, the Atlanta airport doesn’t have a designated play area for kids. It’s supposed to be part of the renovation that’s occurring over the next ten years. Kids love to ride The Plane Train and there are some great spots to watch planes take off.
If you’re early to the airport, you can actually park your car in the “Cell Lot” which is perfect for an upfront view of planes. It’s meant as a safe place for drivers to park their car for phone calls and texts. It’s the best spot to watch planes land at Hartsfield.
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