Airport nightmare: Travelers stuck for hours in airport's parking garage

ATLANTA — Airport officials say a unexpected mixture of events caused a titanic traffic jam at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Wednesday night.

Channel 2 Action News was there in the early morning hours Thursday when cars were lined up in the north terminal parking garage.

Some drivers said they were stuck for hours, including Channel 2's Tom Regan.

Overnight, we learned heavy traffic and construction at the north terminal appears to have caused the backup.

We also checked the construction project website and it warns of late night and overnight road closures.


One visitor said this was the first time he’s ever driven to the Atlanta airport and it may be his last.

"This is pretty stupid. It’s, like, my first time being out here at the airport. It’s already, having a bad experience with this," he said.

Hartsfield-Jackson’s spokesperson Andrew Gobeil said he's sympathetic to the problem but said the problems were caused by a series of unfortunate events, including weather delays and a very busy holiday weekend.

"It was the delays caused by the weather. It was the delays caused by the large influx of passengers who happened to be departing at that time," Gobeil said.

Gobeil said the problem is magnified by the way the lot is set up, with multiple pay stations and only one exit lane.

"What’s scary is there’s only one way out. I mean, that’s the bigger issue but without a full scale rebuild of the exit," another driver said.

Gobeil said there isn’t much airport workers can do about that, at least for now. So, he recommends don’t drive the airport, find other ways.

"You can use MARTA. You can use all of our public transit systems. You can use what we call Uber and Lyft or other ride share companies as well," he said.