Hours upon hours of waiting time have been burned by hundreds of thousands of stressed travelers in the past few weeks at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport because of renovations at the South Terminal’s security checkpoint. But renovations are beginning to end, and we’re close to going back to a security experience that’s only moderately annoying.
Two of the four lanes at the South Terminal checkpoint were expected to open at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, according to WSB-TV. They’ll have new automated equipment, the report added, so a small crowd will be allowed to use that terminal at first while they test the scanners.
Of course, that small crowd will consist exclusively of premium passengers, WGCL-TV reported, so don’t expect your experience to get any better if you’re traveling in the next few days. But it will get better when the South Terminal’s checkpoint is fully reopened. The automated screeners – the first of their kind in the U.S. – are expected to shorten the process by quite a bit, WSB-TV also said.
Since the renovations began, security lines have been abysmal, especially during peak hours. Airport officials have urged travelers to get to the airport as much as three hours earlier than planned as lines snaked back through the check-in area and sometimes as far back as baggage claim.
While Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed looks for answers to the long wait times, he announced the firing of airport general manager Miguel Southwell late Friday, according to Atlanta Magazine. Reed cited dirty bathrooms and, yes, the long security lines as reasons for the firing.
During the press conference, the mayor also said he’s eager to move toward privatization and didn’t think Southwell was doing enough to make those efforts a reality.
“Hartsfield-Jackson needs to be treated like the busiest airport on earth,” Reed said during the press conference. “Atlanta cannot be the poster child for long lines.”
Photo: Flickr/Daniel BettsFollow @Sean_Breslin