24 December 2014

Traveling through the busiest airport in the world- Few Tips

I moved to US, and settled in Alpharetta. Alpharetta is a city around 30-40 miles from downtown Atlanta. Thats my primary & major Place of reference, and its airport, my travel hub. I travel a lot, so obviously I have to use the airport a lot and this means going through a lot.

You may already be aware, and if not, let me tell you. Atlanta is the busiest airport in the world
While that is awesome to know and feel when you frequent that place, it can be a major hassle in itself. Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airport has 6 concourses in itself, and requires you to take some time when catching a flight, and more some when in a hurry. Over a period of time, i have surely gotten better at using the airport for faster ingress/egress.

I want to share some tips with you, which have helped me while using the airport, and I would hope this would help you as well.

  1. As i mentioned, it has 6 concourses. After you finish the check-ins, and security clearances, you would require to catch a train which moves among the concourses. The frequency of the trains is really good, with no more than 2-3 mins of waiting time, but i would also recommend you to plan enough time ahead.
    1. Shuttling from main gate -> check-ins -> Security -> Down the escalators to catch train -> up  the escalators -> getting to your terminal can be quite a long distance.
    2. Now Imagine the above routine, with kids, or with lot of luggage to be checked-in, to be going to the last concourse, and using the gate on the extreme end of the terminal or combinations of all these factors... 
    3. On a regular day, i have seen from drop off at the main gate, to getting to the terminal can easily take 30 mins when there is no jam packed situations. 
    4. On my recent trip, where i had no check-in bags, and i had my boarding pass on my phone, and i knew the way it still took me good 20 mins to get to boarding gate.
  2. During festivals and peak travel seasons, the airport can be jam-packed. I have seen someone 5-6 miles away from the airport could sometimes take more than a hour to get to the main gates for a drop-off. Always keep good amount of time when coming to the airport.
    1. On a regular day when there are no peak seasons, and when i am catching an early morning flight and i don't expect any rush, i usually start for the airport 3 hrs ahead of the flight time. its takes me 45 mins to the airport and i am comfortable.
    2. In the same scenario, when i am catching an afternoon flight, i tend to start 4 hrs ahead of my flight time. Traffic can be funny at times, and i don't mind spending 40-50 mins at the gate if i really get lucky and come in fast. but, never underestimate the power of surprise. especially with the traffic and the massive airport.
Hope these tips help you gauge the scale i am talking about, and helps plan your trips well. Adios.

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