How to Navigate the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
If you are flying to Atlanta then you will want to make yourself familiar with the airport and surrounding transportation options. The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the major airport used for travel in and out of Atlanta. Although not as confusing as other airports, it can be a challenge if it is your first time. Make sure you follow the rules of the airport and don’t be afraid to ask for assistance if you need it.
Getting Off Your Plane
When you get off your plane you will find yourself in a specific concourse (A, B, C, D, E, or T). This is indicated by what gate you enter the airport. For example, gate A6 would be in Concourse A. From here you will need to proceed to baggage claim, ground transportation, or the MARTA. To get from your concourse to the Main Terminal you have two options. The first step for both will be to take the escalator down then you will choose to walk or ride.
The first option is to walk from your concourse to the main terminal (T is the closest concourse and E is the furthest away). Moving walkways are located in the corridor to speed up your ability to walk more quickly. If you do not want to walk then you can get on the train transporting people from the concourses to the main terminal and back.
Listen carefully to the announcements being made near the train. Do not try to board a train that is closing its doors. The trains move quickly and another train will arrive in about a minute–you can ride on either train heading in the right direction. Once aboard, hold on tightly so you do not lose your balance. If you have trouble standing then you may want to move to the front or back of the car where you can sit down as required. Secure your belongings and make sure you lock the wheels on strollers and wheelchairs to prevent a mishap.
Once the train reaches the main terminal, depart quickly to allow other passengers time to board. Follow the signs and proceed up the escalator to the main terminal. At this point you are leaving the secure area. You will not be able to reenter without the proper screening and you will need to follow the TSA’s 3-1-1 rules concerning liquids, gels, and aerosols and have a ticket to renter through the security checkpoint.
The entire building runs East to West. The concourses are on the east end and the direction you are heading in is west. The baggage claim is on the far end of the building (opposite of the concourses). Once you arrive in the main terminal, keep walking straight down the hall and baggage claim will be on both sides of the terminal. The side of the terminal you departed from your plane will often be the side you can expect to pick up your luggage. Take note of your flight number and look on the large digital displays next to baggage claim to determine where to pick up your luggage.
Ground Transportation Center
Several options exist for your ground transportation. If your hotel offers shuttle service then call the front desk at the hotel to coordinate pick-up. If you are staying in downtown Atlanta, you have a few other options. The first option is to rent a car for the period of your stay or you can use the MARTA system.
How to Take a Taxi
Taxies are waiting at the airport exit to take you to your next destination. Typically, depending on the time of your arrival, you will not need to call for a taxi, simply hail a cab outside and tell the driver where you want to go. Because the airport is a significant drive from downtown, your cab fare may be well over $40, so be prepared with the proper amount of cash. This will be a more expensive transportation option, but a more direct way of getting to your final destination.
Once you arrive at your hotel, you will need to check in at the front desk. When you check in, make sure you ask for any local deals such as discount coupons or special events happening in the area. After you receive your room assignment, proceed to your room and immediately check the room for cleanliness and bedbugs. Keep your luggage in the bathroom or near the door of the hotel room while you inspect.
Returning to the Airport
When you are finished with your vacation you will need to find transportation back to the airport. Once again you can use your hotel’s shuttle service, a taxi, or the MARTA. Other options include rental cars, a limousine, or executive car. Regardless of how you get to the airport, make sure to provide yourself enough time to check-in, check your bags if necessary, proceed through security, and find your way to the proper concourse and gate. If you need assistance don’t be afraid to ask an airport employee.
Have a safe and exciting trip! If you have any suggestions on how to navigate through the Atlanta International airport we would love to hear from you. Please feel free to post questions or experiences.
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