News and notes from Hartsfield-Jackson, the world's busiest airport

Atlanta airport stars in Onion parody on pope's visit

Even the pope looks for ways to kill time at the Atlanta airport -- at least on humor website The Onion.

Atlanta's role as a connecting hub to the world stars in a story by The Onion, the parody news outlet. In it, the pope purportedly mills around Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport during a layover.

“'I was just going to grab something at Panda Express, but then I figured since I have so much time, I might as well head to the next concourse and check out the food options there,' said the Vicar of Christ," the Onion piece reads.

Unfortunately, Hartsfield-Jackson notes, the pope is not in fact connecting through Atlanta. Pope Francis flies from Cuba to Washington D.C. on Tuesday afternoon, arriving at 4 p.m. at Joint Base Andrews, according to his schedule. He will make stops in New York and Philadelphia before returning to Rome.

“Obviously, the article in The Onion was tongue-in-cheek. That being said, we would be honored to host Pope Francis," according to Hartsfield-Jackson spokesman Andrew Gobeil. "He could celebrate mass at one of our three interfaith chapels, minister to the 250,000 passengers who travel through Hartsfield-Jackson every day, or visit one of our superlative restaurants.  Personally, I would recommend he take in our Airport Art program – it’s not necessarily the Sistine Chapel, but it’s close.”

The noted absence of Atlanta from the pope's schedule does mean the Atlanta airspace will not be subject to the tight security required for the pope's arrival.

These days, that also applies to drones. The Federal Aviation Administration warned Monday that Washington D.C., New York and Philadelphia and the surrounding communities will be "No Drone Zones" during the papal visit.

“If you plan to attend any of the papal visit events, please leave your drone at home," said FAA administrator Michael Huerta in a written statement. "Anyone flying a drone within the designated restricted areas could face fines and criminal charges.”

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About the Author

Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.