Millions of passengers expected at Hartsfield-Jackson over holiday period

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Baggage claim at Hartsfield-Jackson over the holidays

Nearly 4.9 million people in Georgia are expected to take road trips over the year-end holidays, and nearly 300,000 will travel by air, according to AAA’s holiday travel forecast.

The total number of travelers in Georgia over the holiday period running from Friday Dec. 23 through Monday Jan. 2 is up about 3.1 percent from last year, according to the forecast based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The increase is more than double the national average, according to AAA.

Hartsfield-Jackson International expects to handle 4.2 million passengers from Friday Dec. 16 through the Tuesday Jan. 3, according to airport interim general manager Roosevelt Council.

In addition to Georgia residents who are flying out for the holidays, that figure also includes connecting passengers and travelers bound for the Atlanta area or Georgia for the holidays. “We have a lot of traffic,” Council said.

The busiest days are expected to be Friday Dec. 23, Friday Dec. 30, Monday Jan. 2 and Thursday Jan. 5, according to Hartsfield-Jackson.

Travelers should get to the airport at least two hours before domestic flights and 2.5 hours before international flights.

From a national standpoint, industry group Airlines for America said it expects 45.2 million passengers to fly on U.S. airlines around the world from Friday Dec. 16 through Thursday Jan. 5. That’s up 3.5 percent from last year.

The busiest days nationally will be Thursday Dec. 22 and Friday Dec. 23, according to Airlines for America. The slowest days will be Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Last year, Hartsfield-Jackson became the first airport in history to handle more than 100 million passengers in a single year. This year, the airport expects to handle about 105 million passengers, according to Council.

For tips on traveling by air over the holidays, check out the AJC’s 2016 Holiday Airport Guide.

Learn about the musicians that entertain and calm travelers at the world’s busiest airport through this story on the airport’s live music program.




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