Atlanta Airport Tips
Updated: Nov 14
Here are some of my favorite tips for traveling through the Atlanta airport:
Getting Clear makes getting through TSA (security) much faster. There are several Clear kiosks set up in the airport where you can quickly sign up for the program (there are employees to offer assistance if needed). Once you are a Clear member, you have the privilege of waiting in a much shorter line to go through. Note: you still must take your shoes off and electronics such as a laptop out of your bag. To skip having to do this, you need to partake in TSA Precheck.
TSA Precheck allows you to skip having to removing your shoes, laptops, 3-1-1 liquids, belts, and light jackets. Over 200 airpots utilize TSA PreCheck. Apply online here and then visit and enrollment center. While there is an enrollment center at the airport, there are many other locations that could be closer to home. Click here for a list of locations.
If you are traveling internationally, get Global Entry. It includes TSA Precheck and makes it much faster coming back home. Click here for more information.
If you are driving to the airport, there are two options for parking. They are on-site parking and off-site parking.
Onsite parking is the preferred place to park. No waiting around for shuttles to get to/from your flight. This is especially helpful when you get home from your trip. While vacation is wonderful, minimizing the time to get back home makes life a bit easier. Looking online here ahead of your flight to see if there is parking available onsite. A quick reminder that there will not be as much onsite parking available since the South Economy parking lot is shut down to make way for a new parking deck. The new parking deck is slated to open in late 2026.
One exception to trying to park onsight is during a busy travel day such as the days surrounding national holidays. During the holidays, I suggest using one of the off-site parking vendors located off Camp Creek Parkway. Make sure to get a reservation for parking ahead of time so you know you have a place to park. The vendors usually have a loyalty program. If you have a flight early in the morning or late at night, allow yourself extra time to get to your flight. The shuttle busses don’t run as often as there are not as many passengers.
Instead of parking, you can hire a driver to take you or ask a friend/family to drop you and pick you back up.
Atlanta is the busiest airport in the world and is rather large. Click here for a map.
Food & Drinks
Food at the Atlanta airport is expensive. Although you can find some delicious meals here, bring food from home. I try to bring something with protein in it to keep me full like turkey jerky or almonds. If you have an early morning flight, take note that some of the restaurants that serve breakfast might not be open. The airlines typically serve snacks on the plane, but it usually isn’t enough for a meal. If you have a cross-country flight, I suggest bringing additional food. You can get to-go options from the restaurants.
Bring an empty water bottle with you as well. (TSA will not allow a full water bottle) There are free water fountains to fill your water bottle.
Click here for a list of food and beverage locations.
Most airlines have an app you can download to your phone. No more printing your boarding pass. You may also be notified of gate changes, flight delays, and when your luggage is on board the plane (always a sigh of relief).
Check out the other Concourses
If you are early on your flight or there is a long flight delay, be sure to check out the other Concourses. Instead of taking the Plane Train, walk to see a glimpse of art and history around the airport.
Domestic Terminal Atriam: John Lewis - the Good Trouble
Between Concourses T and A: Zimbabwe: A Tradition in Stone
Between Concourses A and B: Flight Paths by Steve Waldeck
Between Concourse B and Transportation Mall: Walt Through Atlanta History by Gary Moss.
To view a list of all artwork at the airport – click here: .
I always wear sneakers with socks when I come to the airport for two reasons. I don’t like being barefoot going through security, so the socks help with that. The second reason is that sometimes I like to walk before my flight if I am early. Or if I have a long layover in-between flights.
Try and dress in layers. I bring a sweatshirt or light travel blanket with me in case it is cold on the plane with a short sleeve blouse or shirt underneath in case it is too warm.
If you connect to a public wifi, be aware of hackers. Be sure to use a VPN to offer some protection.
The Plane Train is usually the fastest way to get to the various concources. If you have a lot of time before your flight, take it the the end of the line.
When to arrive:
The best advice is to arrive much earlier than you think you need to. It is better to arrive early and hang out at the airport then arrive late and miss your flight.
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