Super Bowl Exodus Causes Massive TSA Lines at Atlanta Airport

Feb 4, 2019

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The conclusion of the government shutdown didn’t mean the end of incredibly long security lines at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport (ATL). When the Super Bowl ended Sunday night, it marked the beginning of a mass exodus from the city, and many of those visiting had came to Atlanta via air.

City officials say the airport could see more than 110,000 travelers passing through security — it could be the most travelers that have ever gone through the airport.

“We’re preparing for a potential record-breaking day here at Hartsfield-Jackson airport here on Monday,” said TSA spokesperson Mark Howell, reports WSBTV. The Atlanta TSA normally screens 60,000 to 80,000 passengers per day.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the airport’s general manager says security wait times were about an hour and a half on Monday morning. However, that appears to contradict reports on the ground.

Many on social media are reporting lines of two to three hours, and in some cases even four.

Security lines extended all the way into the baggage claim areas and snaked around the luggage carousels.

“We’ve established a plan to essentially use every available square foot and fill it with queuing,” Hartsfield-Jackson assistant general manager of planning Tom Nissalke told the Journal-Constitution.

Even travelers with TSA PreCheck had to endure long lines. TPG himself, Brian Kelly, is traveling back from the big game today and has reported hour-long PreCheck lines. He says the expedited security service Clear is open, but it may be difficult to find. He was lucky enough to be pulled into a newly formed PreCheck line which helped cut down on his wait time. You can see more on Kelly’s Instagram story.Kelly’s brother was also traveling back from Atlanta but was without PreCheck. He had to wait in the regular security line for three and a half hours, leading him to miss his flight back home.

There are reports that you can go through the international terminal’s security which has significantly shorter wait times — those with mobile boarding passes and Delta passengers are eligible for expedited security. However, you may have to travel a bit to get to the domestic terminals once you’ve made it through.

The Atlanta airport advises passengers to get to the airport at least three hours before their flight’s scheduled departure, but it may be worth giving yourself even more time just incase of any unexpected delays. You can track security wait times on ATL’s website or the MyTSA App.

Finally, the airport also tells those with Super Bowl souvenir programs to pack them in your carry-on bag and not your checked luggage, as the material sets off alarms in checked bags.

And for those privileged enough to be flying private, business jets made their own exodus out of Atlanta last night.

Featured image by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images.

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