The new international terminal opens today at the Atlanta airport. Here is our story from March 28 on how the terminal will affect travelers from Middle Georgia.
More than 5,000 people travel from Central Georgia to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta each month.
Starting May 16, many will need to change their routine for non-stop international flights.
This paragraph was added to clarify that this affects travelers only on international flights going non-stop out of the U.S.:
Passengers traveling on nonstop international flights from Atlanta will check in at the international terminal. Passengers traveling abroad via another U.S. city will check in at the domestic terminal.
The most important thing that international travelers from Macon need to know is to look for Exit 239 off I-75. That's different from the exit travelers would normally take for domestic travel.
The current route for all northbound passengers takes cars onto 285 West to reach the airport.
Starting on May 16, international travelers should stay on I-75, and take the 239 Exit. The ramp funnels cars directly through the gates of the Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal.
People can park in one of 3,500 new spaces, in a park-and-ride deck or hourly parking closer to the entrance.
Spokesman for Hartsfield-Jackson Ben Snedeker says checking-in should be quick with 85 ticketing counters, 64 self service kiosks and eight security check-points.
Concourse F offers restaurants, shopping and the path to 12 gates.
Snedeker says it is all in an environment designed to make stressful travel, feel more relaxed. Describing the terminal's design, he said, "Lots of light, open spaces, soft colors."
There are desk spaces and charging stations at each gate, with wide views of the runway.
He said the new terminal will also offer a major improvement for Georgia passengers returning to the country.
As it stands now, passengers returning on international flights have to claim their baggage, recheck it and claim it again. That takes about 90 minutes. Processes at the new terminal cut that down to one step.
Snedeker said, "The baggage recheck process in place now goes away when the new international terminal opens."
He says people with international tickets would receive a reminder on their ticket or through the ticketing agency about the new terminal.
The cost of the terminal is about $1.4 billion. Construction began in 2008.
Snedeker says the new terminal will create about 1,000 new jobs for operation and maintenance.
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