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Old 11-13-2010, 09:45 AM
 
Location: East Cobb
2,206 posts, read 5,947,225 times
Reputation: 906

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We're taking a Thanksgiving-week vacation, starting with a domestic flight departing Hartsfield-Jackson on Saturday, November 20th at 7:45am. We have no experience of holiday travel at H-J. How early should we plan to be at the airport?

We'll be leaving our car at one of the offsite lots on Camp Creek Pkway, and we'll be checking bags at the airport. I'm currently thinking we should plan to arrive at the parking lot around 6am. Does anyone out there have seasoned advice?
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Old 11-13-2010, 10:41 AM
 
Location: MMU->ABE->ATL->ASH
9,002 posts, read 16,123,201 times
Reputation: 9676
i think 6am is cutting it tight. Plan 10 min in parking lot waiting/riding shuttle around. 10-15 mins from parking lot to airport Delta side. 5 more min to airtran side. (How far camp creek are you going to be?) 15 min to check bag if you pre-paid. 30 if you have to pay. 45min for secuirty (will be a busy day as you know most ATL area school are off TWeek. 15 mins on peoplemover to gate. Be at gate 45min before flight.
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Old 11-13-2010, 01:13 PM
 
Location: East Cobb
2,206 posts, read 5,947,225 times
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Thanks so much, flyonpa. We're not at all frequent travelers (typically on the order of one business and one pleasure trip annually) so don't have a very precise sense of this. I was hoping for some advice just like yours.

I bought prepaid parking at Park 'n Fly Plus (Camp Creek and Herschel Rd). They're not the cheapest, I know, but I get a bit of a discount there through my employer's travel service, and I like that they're relatively close to the terminal and I've found them to have good frequency of shuttle service even in the middle of the night.

We're flying US Airways. I don't know which side of the terminal they're on. Will try to pre-pay for bag check when checking in online. (I don't have any experience of paying to check a bag. Thanks for the tip that pre-paying saves time at the airport).
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Old 11-13-2010, 02:26 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
6,458 posts, read 7,255,582 times
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I travel a lot for work. I also tend to travel long haul flights overseas alot. Luckily, I miss the major travel holidays, although this year we are in the same boat. I fly out on the 19th.

Typically what I tell non-frequent fliers is go ahead and do what the airlines recommend and even get there a little bit earlier. The airlines prefer you to be in the terminal to check in 2 hours before your flight. On a normal day this will provide people more than enough time, even if there is a problem. Sometimes, depending on the airport, airline, and type of flight if your not checked in 45 min-1hr before the flight they won't check you in.

If it might be more crowded than normal ... get there a little earlier than 2 hours. (Perhaps 2.5 hours) This will provide you 'buffer time.' In case you can't find a good parking space, have to go to off-site parking, security line is backed up, the people mover is full, etc..

And if something does go wrong or there is a long line... you can relax. You don't have to get stressed out like many people in the airport and to me that is invaluable. I usually plan to eat a meal at the airport. It is a little more expensive, but it gives me an excuse to get there early and makes my time a little more productive.

US airways will be on the north terminal near the other star alliance partners. (Just think opposite of Delta)
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Old 11-13-2010, 04:33 PM
 
Location: MMU->ABE->ATL->ASH
9,002 posts, read 16,123,201 times
Reputation: 9676
Most airlines will let you pre-pay for your bags when you do the check-in and print your boading passes.
Note if you have more then 2 do them accross all the people you check in so you dont get hit with extra bag fee, each person i think get 2 at the 'normal' price 3-4 on one person is higher 4+ you have to almost buy the plane ($100 per) i think.
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Old 11-13-2010, 05:16 PM
 
12,913 posts, read 19,787,452 times
Reputation: 33910
Quote:
Originally Posted by cwkimbro View Post
I
Typically what I tell non-frequent fliers is go ahead and do what the airlines recommend and even get there a little bit earlier. The airlines prefer you to be in the terminal to check in 2 hours before your flight. On a normal day this will provide people more than enough time, even if there is a problem. Sometimes, depending on the airport, airline, and type of flight if your not checked in 45 min-1hr before the flight they won't check you in.
The above is very important, as my son discovered a couple of weeks ago. He had trouble finding a parking spot on site (mid-day Thurs), and didn't reach check-in until 45 minutes before departure. Delta would not let him check his bag or issue a boarding pass.

A week later I was flying overseas, and parking, check-in, security took all of 20 minutes. You just never know.
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Old 11-13-2010, 08:06 PM
 
4,579 posts, read 6,141,736 times
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On holiday travel get there as early as possible. I'm sure they will be doing some major screening. So it may take some time.
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Old 11-14-2010, 01:13 PM
 
Location: ATL
4,688 posts, read 6,403,041 times
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It's normally not as bad as you would think.
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Old 11-14-2010, 03:31 PM
 
Location: Wandering in the Dothraki sea
1,342 posts, read 1,211,705 times
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I work for an airline and would recommend at least 1.5 hrs before. Thanksgiving week is pretty busy. Try to do online check-in so you can just give your bags to a skycap--avoid the ticket counter if at all possible.
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