As the busy Memorial Day travel weekend approaches, officials at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport warn that the busiest day is expected to be this Friday, when more than 85,000 travelers are expected to pass through security checkpoints.
The airport aims to keep wait times under 20 minutes, but during peak times the lines are longer.
Airport and Transportation Security Administration officials say travelers should get to the airport two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international flights.
Hartsfield-Jackson has expanded the main security checkpoint queuing area to reduce the chances of lines backup up through the terminal.
The airport also now has 22 automated security lanes, aimed at speeding screening. But Hartsfield-Jackson general manager Roosevelt Council acknowledges there’s a learning curve for travelers using the new automated lanes the first time.
The new procedure calls for travelers to approach any available spot to fill a bin instead of waiting for the person in front of them. They then pull a bin from underneath, fill it and push it onto an adjacent conveyor that automatically moves the bin forward.
But the process can be confusing at first, as was apparent during a demonstration on Tuesday, when passengers were left unclear on when and how to push bins onto the conveyor. Some bins went askew, while other passengers carried bins instead.
Travelers also should allow extra time to get to the terminal due to lane closures that can lead to congestion.