Lines at Atlanta airport packed as Thanksgiving travelers take to the skies

ATLANTA — At Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, it was a busy start to one of the busiest travel days of the year.

Early in the morning on the day before Thanksgiving, some travelers waited 30 to 45 minutes to pass through Hartsfield-Jackson’s main security checkpoint.

An airport worker gave pictures of the lines to Channel 2′s Justin Wilfon. At one point Wednesday morning, the security checkpoint line stretched back to the airport’s atrium, but by mid-morning lines became much shorter.

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“I’m glad the lines are like this,” said traveler Simone Lee on her way to Texas. “I thought it was going to be a lot of people here.”

For most of Wednesday, the security lines fluctuated between just seven and 15 minutes.

It comes a week after the TSA said they were working on ways to keep lines short.

“We will have additional officers on duty to make sure that all available security checkpoint lanes are open, staffed and operational,” said Robert Spinden, the airport’s Federal Security Director.

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It was one of the first big tests for TSA since before the pandemic.

Airport officials report last year about 1.6 million people traveled through the airport during Thanksgiving week.

This week the airport is expecting many more travelers, 2.2 million.

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“It’s been very good, very fun, nothing crazy, got my usual Starbucks, got on the plane,” said traveler Lillie Pannell.

Despite shorter than expected lines, airport officials still suggest arriving at the airport two hours early for domestic flights, and three hours early for international flights.