Super Bowl Exodus: Security lines stretch through atrium at Hartsfield-Jackson

ATLANTA — We all know that Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport was once considered the world's busiest airport -- but what happens when officials say there will be 100,000 travelers?

"We're preparing for a potential record-breaking day here at Hartsfield-Jackson airport here on Monday," said TSA spokesperson Mark Howell.

Channel 2's Steve Gehlbach said traffic was heavy in midtown early Monday as he traveled down to the airport.

One TSA official said the crowd Monday morning was the heaviest he's ever seen, with wait times reaching more than an hour.


Channel 2's Berndt Petersen talked with travelers, who were afraid that tens of thousands of extra passengers would lead to chaos. But most of them said the lines kept moving at a steady pace.

"They've got it well staffed, I'll give them credit. Doing everything they can to make it go as quickly as possible," Tadd Ryan told Petersen.

Airport officials said travelers should follow this plan:

  • Five hours before your flight, leave the hotel
  • Four hours before, return your rental car
  • Three hours before, get to the ticket counter and check your bags
  • Two hours before, get to the TSA checkpoint
  • Be at your gate an hour before departure

Officials said to take into account that Atlanta traffic may be pretty heavy all day, so give yourself extra time to get to the airport. Check on the weather at your final destination too; flights could be canceled due to winter weather.