Hartsfield-Jackson Thanksgiving crowds fail to set record at world’s busiest airport

Nov 27, 2017
Hartsfield-Jackson handled big crowds over the Thanksgiving travel period, but the traffic didn't set records as expected.

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport officials were girding for unprecedented crowds over the busy Thanksgiving travel period.

Airport and Transportation Security Administration officials were expecting an eye-popping 97,000 passengers to pass through security checkpoints at the Atlanta airport on Sunday, up nearly 20 percent year-over-year.

Well, the record forecast turned out to be a real turkey.

TSA authorities say it is mostly because travelers forgot that their guns were in their bags before they left for the airport.

The total turned out to be 87,933 passengers passing through security checkpoints on Sunday, the busiest day of the Thanksgiving period.

That fell short of the record 92,421 passengers on the Friday before the Fourth of July this year.

For the year-to-date, passenger counts through security at the world’s busiest airport are still up more than 5 percent year-over-year.

Over the winter holidays, traffic is sometimes spread across more days, creating a busy period overall but less congestion on any one particular day. Business travel also declines significantly over Thanksgiving and Christmas.

TSA spokesman Mark Howell said the positive outcome of the less-than-record traffic was that wait times were more manageable. 

He said the longest wait time at Hartsfield-Jackson over the Thanksgiving period was 25 minutes at the international terminal, and most passengers waited less than 15 minutes.

Delta Air Lines said it flew more than 2.35 million customers over the Thanksgiving period from Wednesday to Sunday, and operated without any flight cancellations.

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AJC Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi keeps you updated on the latest news about Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Delta Air Lines and the airline industry in metro Atlanta and beyond. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories:

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