Atlanta’s new $1.4 billion international terminal is up and running, with passengers checking in for international flights in the spacious new departures hall and others arriving at the facility from foreign countries.
The launch of the 1.2 million-square-foot international terminal marks a historic change for Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport by opening a second entrance to the airport for passengers boarding nonstop international flights. Those international passengers will now take I-75 to get to the new terminal on the east side of the airport. The main terminal off I-85, now to be called the domestic terminal, will continue to be used by passengers taking flights within the United States and U.S. territories.
The new entrance could confuse travelers who are accustomed to the longtime single entrance to the airport off I-85. The airport orchestrated an elaborate unveiling of highway signs overnight to direct passengers to the two entrances starting Wednesday morning. Many use an airplane symbol rather than the word “Airport,” a relatively new shift for Atlanta area signs to an international symbol for airports.
Lingkoya Washington of Alpharetta said she wasn’t sure which terminal to go to for her flight to Montego Bay, Jamaica Wednesday.
“I just kept reading the signs,” Washington said, and thought, “‘Am I supposed to go there?’ It was just something brand new.” She ended up taking her typical route to the main terminal. She said she asked at the Delta ticket counters where she should go, and was told to head to the international terminal. Rather than take the free shuttle, she went back up I-85 and down I-75. “It was fine, since I had time to spare,” said Washington, who left for the airport four hours before her flight.
A Sweet Auburn Market Cafe with local and gourmet food items and to-go sandwiches and salads was open first thing in the morning in the departures hall, but not all concessions were open early Wednesday, including a CNN International News shop in the arrivals hall. And inside the terminal’s new Concourse F, concessionaires were still rushing in the morning to finish preparations for the opening. Hartsfield-Jackson concessions director Paul Brown said most of the locations expected to be ready for the opening would be operating by the end of the day.
To read the entire story by Kelly Yamanouchie, go to AJC