Atlanta’s International Terminal – 10 Years On

Early morning view from the Terminal F SkyClub outdoor deck

As an Atlanta-based flyer, I found this article interesting:

Hartsfield-Jackson’s international terminal turns 10 with turbulence

I remember when the new terminal opened and we finally had a separate drive-up entrance and check-in counter for international flights. It was quite a novelty as prior to this, we had to check in at the domestic terminal and even worse, go through security on returning to Atlanta, even if we were ending our journey at ATL. This was because once we went through the old immigration and customs line, we were thrown back in with the domestic travelers who had gone through security in Atlanta and were ‘sterile.’ This always added a huge inconvenience to returning from overseas. I recall having to throw away alcohol we had packed in our carry-on when returning from Costa Rica as we had forgotten about this issue before we flew back.

Another advantage to the newer terminal is a separate level for departures and arrivals. Atlanta may be the only major US airport that has all domestic travelers arrive and depart on the same level, which adds massively to major traffic snarls on the approach to the drop-off areas on each side of the domestic terminal. There’s no real way to fix this without rebuilding the whole main terminal, so for now, only the international terminal alleviates this bottleneck.

Although the international concourse can get a bit empty during parts of the day, it’s definitely the most impressive looking concourse of the seven we have in Atlanta. One downside of the concourse is the lack of a true business class lounge. American Express is planning to build a Centurion Lounge in Concourse E nearby in the coming years, so perhaps this will serve as a better business class lounge than The Club at ATL, which is crowded and sub-par, particularly since Covid reduced the usage of Concourse F. The F SkyClub is fairly nice (although currently its having some kitchen issues) and has an outdoor deck, which is a great addition when the weather is nice. Perhaps some day Delta will convert this lounge to a DeltaOne lounge for business travelers, but I wouldn’t expect anything like that until the passenger count improves in Concourse F.

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