Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta airport prepares for busy week ahead of Memorial Day

More than 2M passengers expected as summer travel ramps up
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport prepares for one of the busiest travel seasons ahead of Memorial Day weekend.
Published: May. 22, 2023 at 11:07 AM EDT|Updated: May. 22, 2023 at 12:52 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of the summer travel season and Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport officials are expecting over two million people to pass through.

“We going to Dubai. We’re going to Mexico. We’re going everywhere,” said Amber Kelley, who flew into Atlanta from Delaware.

Kelley’s flight to Atlanta for the Memorial Day weekend is the first of many for the season and she isn’t alone in wanting to go wheels up this summer.

RELATED: You can now use a digital ID to get through TSA at Atlanta’s airport

“I want to go to Japan next month and potentially England at some point,” said Orville Brooks, who flew in from Chicago.

“I’m very excited to, you know, be on the road, seeing friends and family, having a good time this summer,” said Jennifer Stephens, who was flying home to Washington D.C.

The AAA anticipates 42.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home over the holiday weekend. Air travel is up 11% from last year, with 3.4 million Americans expected to fly this weekend.

“It’s going to be hectic,” said Stephens.

After the Southwest cancellation crisis seen over the holidays, seasoned passengers tell Atlanta News First they come to the airport prepared for the worst.

“I think if you just mentally prepare for what’s ahead, then you’ll be fine. Right? Get here early, pack everything that you need, don’t forget to pack an extra outfit in your carry-on in case your bag gets lost,” said Stephens.

“I guess really keep an open mind. Keep my head cool,” said Brooks.

“Get your tickets ahead of time. So when something like that does happen, you only paid $15 round trip,” said Kelley.

Mayor Andre Dickens, along with aviation experts, held a news conference Monday to talk about how they plan to handle the crowds.


  • More than 2 million people are expected to pass through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport between May 25 and May 31.
  • Thursday, May 25, and Friday, May 26, are expected to be especially busy with 300,000 travelers passing through.
  • Airport officials recommend parking at ATL West parking deck or south deck.
  • Drivers should reserve a parking spot in advance through the airport’s mobile app or by clicking here.
  • Have a drop-off/pick-up plan and make sure those involved know where to go.
  • U.S. travelers should plan to arrive two hours early.
  • International travelers should plan to arrive three hours early.
  • Teenagers traveling with a parent or guardian who is a TSA pre-check customer can now go through the pre-check line.
  • If you are flying internationally, check your passport! Make sure it is not expired before you arrive.
  • Prepare for bad weather which can cause flight delays and cancellations. Pack your patience!

For ATL travel tips or information about the airport, visit the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport website.