Brace for longer Atlanta airport security line with new checkpoint construction

Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 10:36 PM CDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - ATLANTA – On Thursday, the general manager of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport made an announcement during a community town hall that immediately led to groans from the audience.

“For the next 12 to 18 months, we are asking consumers to plan to arrive at the airport 2.5 hours prior to your flight departing the airport,” said Balram Bheodari, General Manager for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

The longtime flying standard has been arriving two hours before your domestic flight and three hours ahead of your international flight.

For the next year-and-a-half, officials stress you need to adjust the standard to make up for construction at the TSA security checkpoints.

“Everything we do is how do we increase capacity at the airport, so we are modernizing the main checkpoints,” said Bheodari, during a town hall forum.

According to airport officials, the $66 million project began this month. It is expected to last 18 months.

During the construction, crews will modernize the X-ray machines at 19 checkpoints, replacing them with body scanners.

Bheodari said these new scanners will allow TSA to check roughly 260 passengers, per lane, per hour.

This is an upgrade from the current pace of 160 passengers, per lane, per hour.

Bheodari said they’ve added more staff and signage to help usher travelers through the long lines.

“It’s frustrating as hell. I don’t like it. I hate it actually. I hate standing in these lines,” said Deontae Belcher, who said he regularly travels through the Atlanta airport.

Other travelers we spoke with were more understanding saying the construction is just a part of Atlanta’s growth.

On Thursday, Bheodari said 110 million travelers pass through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport daily, since 2019.

He said that’s an increase from 80 million travelers a decade ago.

An official said they will conduct this construction over five phases in the next 18 months.

The first phase began in early October.