Besides arriving early and dodging the airport’s rush hours, people are advised to not pack any prohibited items.
ATLANTA — The holidays are in full swing at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and the growing crowds are proof of it.
Airport officials said the number of travelers passing through its gates is officially back to pre-pandemic levels, which means larger crowds and longer lines for those trying to fly out of Atlanta in the next couple of weeks.
So far, the wait time for standard screening has been less than 30 minutes long. Airport officials are bracing for that to change.
“It can get hectic for sure,” Max Webb said.
The college student said he usually arrives at the world’s busiest airport three hours early. It’s a tip airport leaders always recommend to travelers, especially those traveling during the busiest hours. At Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, peak crowd hours are between 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Besides arriving early and dodging the airport’s rush hours, people are advised to not pack any prohibited items – it slows down security lines for everyone.
Michelle Corazine flies every week for work and said she’s made herself familiar with carry-on luggage restrictions.
“Just to save myself the hassle, I check a bag,” Corazine said.
Transportation Security Administration agents said, unfortunately, not every traveler is like Corazine.
From guns and knives to brass knuckles and pepper spray – plenty of travelers don’t understand what they’re trying to carry on the plane. TSA has even had to confiscate power tools and saw blades, they said.
Last year, travelers tried to bring 507 guns in their carry-on luggage. This year so far, TSA has confiscated 433, according to the agency. If a traveler brings a gun, law enforcement will get involved.
TSA is being extra careful to make sure nothing prohibited gets past airport gates, and during the holiday season, that could mean scanning presents.
They recommend people not wrap them before they travel because if it sets off an alarm, agents will unwrap them.
If someone accidentally brings a present that may have a component that’s not safe to fly or other prohibited items that get flagged, people will have the option to mail it to themselves through a drop box near the main checkpoint.