Atlanta travel agent tips on Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL)

Atlanta travel agent tips on Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL)

If your flight originates from or your travels take you to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), you need to be prepared. According to its website, ATL has been the busiest passenger airport in the world since 1998.

Fortunately, getting to Hartsfield-Jackson can be relatively easy with Atlanta's MARTA rail line, says Martha Gaughen, owner of Brownell Travel in Atlanta. "MARTA is a great way to get there because there's a station right in the domestic terminal side of the airport," she says.

According to the MARTA website, one-way fares to or from downtown Atlanta are only $2.50, a significant savings over taking a taxi or car service. "Taxis can be a less expensive option if you live near downtown, midtown, or Buckhead," says Jennifer Campbell of Explorations Ltd. in Atlanta. "Depending on the length of your trip, you can also drive to the airport and park. MARTA is a great option for those that live near a station, as long as you aren’t transporting large amounts of luggage."

Due to business travel, ATL is busiest on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons, so if you want to avoid the crowds, try scheduling flights that avoid those peak travel times, Gaughen says. To avoid delays at TSA checkpoints, she also recommends wearing shoes that are easy to take off, such as flip-flops or slip-ons, and pants that don't require a belt.

If you want to avoid the world's busiest passenger airport altogether, Gaughen says you can sometimes find better fares by checking other nearby airports such as Savannah/Hilton Head International (SAV) or Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International (BHM). However, SAV is a 4-hour drive and BHM is a 2-hour drive, so many passengers may prefer to save time over money.

Campbell agrees that ATL's high number of flights and carriers means most travelers won't find better fares elsewhere. "Atlanta is such a large hub for air travel and with numerous direct flights and good prices on flying to a number of destinations, that there really isn’t any reason to use a smaller regional airport if you live in metro Atlanta," she says, adding that an exception is if you are using chartered air travel.

When booking an airfare, cruise or vacation, consider using an Atlanta travel agent. Gaughen says one of the best benefits of using a travel consultant, other than the one-on-one service, is accountability - especially if should something go wrong such as a delay or cancellation. "We are accountable and we’re a contact that’s available at all times," she says.

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