The Atlanta Airport (or rightfully, the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport) is, believe it or not, the world’s busiest airport in terms of passenger volume and landing and take-offs. I believe the reason it is the biggest is because of one big factor — Delta Air Lines. Without Delta, this airport will not be what it is today.
As famous and busy as it is, it is one of the unpretentious airport I had been to … well, Heathrow is worse I think. There is nothing to see and do although there are lots of shops and restaurants. But then after a few trips all the shops and restaurants practically sells the same stuff. I must however give credit to the airport … it is the simplest to navigate despite its size. There is absolutely no way one could get lost. In terms of efficiency, it is simply the best. I would describe this as function over form at its best.
One thing I do notice is the presence of men in uniforms at the airport. I think these soldiers are either going to or returning from Iraq. They are always there with their grey-green uniforms. And the strange thing to me is that every now and then, the airport will break out in cheers and claps when some of these soldiers marches through. The Americans sure are appreciative of the sacrifices of their men in uniform despite most are opposed to the war in Iraq. I must admit I do gawk at their uniforms and gears … and do think … oh man … these men are the best trained in the world in warfare. They know how to kill despite their man in the street look.
See the lines from the Atrium at the ATL airport? Well, it could get that busy. That FIVE line winds its way across the Atrium and into one of the longest snaking queues I had ever seen. Here is a tip: there is a shorter and lesser know security checkpoint at the far end of the North Terminal. I normally take that because it takes only about 5 minutes to clear it.
There are a total of SIX(!) concourses in ATL. The concourses are linked by high-speed train. When I have time to kill, I would normally walk to my gate through underground walkways. Of late, they have put in a lot of interesting African art sculptures. It is great to kill time.
On the recent trip I had my dinner at Chili’s at the airport. It was a very busy restaurant, as in all restaurants in ATL. I had to wait in queue for about 10 minutes for a table which was quite OK. I had a magazine at hand and am not going anywhere for the next hour and a half anyway. (more…)