Is Atlanta airport always so ghastly?

Old Jul 5th, 2002, 02:48 PM
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Is Atlanta airport always so ghastly?

Returned last week from a great trip to Europe to the worst experience I ever had arriving at an American Airport - Atlanta. I arrived with 1 1/2 hours to make my connection which I thought would be ok. Well first The immigration area must have contained well over a thousand passengers from various flights but most of the booths were closed. With only a handful of immigration people to handle a massive crowd that took forever (& that was the USA residents line). Then the bags - half had been taken off the bag things & dumped all over the place. The other half were still going round & round - so everyone (including me) was running round like chickens with their heads cut off trying to find their bags - (my bag was still going round - my kids bags were strewn around on the floor - not helpful). Customs was a breeze (with so many seething faces I think they decided not to bother anyone). Got into another line to reload our bags for the connecting flight and asked the girl at the desk if there was any likelihood we would make our connecting flight (with now only 20 mins to spare) - oh yes just go out through security - no problem she says! We attempt to leave around an enormous mob of people and finally discover that that is the line to exit through security. Several very rude airport employees just kept yelling at everyone to get in this line & just about screamed at anyone who was confused by what on earth was going on. That line took forever. Needless to say we missed our connecting flight & had to join yet another long line - yes the one with all the other people (there were an awful lot of them!) who missed their flights & had to make new ones. I have never seen so many upset & furious people in my life. I don't mind travel delays for security reasons but this all seemed pure incompetence with a large dose of extreme rudeness thrown in. As disorganised a mess as it was made me doubt their abilities in the 'security' area. I certainly plan to avoid Atlanta airport in the future. Well I feel better for my rant. I am curious to know if this is normal there?
Old Jul 5th, 2002, 05:05 PM
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I flew in from Europe to JFK and had a similar experience. Took forever, rude, disorganized people.

The worst I've ever encountered was flying in to LAX from Auckland, NZ. That made New York and your Atlanta experience look orderly and fun.

I had a smooth transition coming in to Detroit from Europe and have twice come into Atlanta from Europe with smooth transitions.

Guess it depends on the day, how many planes arrive around the time you do, etc.
Old Jul 5th, 2002, 06:14 PM
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Atlanta is the busiest airport in the U.S. and most of the time is a nightmare for international travels.
My last time coming through there, we were already late arriving but had plenty of time to make the connecting flight but when we landed we had to sit on the tarmac for 25 min. because there was not an open gate. We still had time, but then with several other screw ups by the airline, we missed our flight. I too believe in security but those screw ups had nothing to do with security, just ineptness on the ground crew.
Old Jul 5th, 2002, 06:24 PM
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MIA (Miami) is the worst, in my opinion. I try to avoid it like the plague, but unfortunately can't most of the time.
Old Jul 5th, 2002, 07:19 PM
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I love Atlanta as a city, but have to say I hate the airport. Besides the fact that I don't think I've ever been on time arriving at ATL (even if the plane lands on time, there's inevitably another plane sitting at your gate and you have to sit on the tarmac waiting for it to clear off), it is really dirty. I travel fairly frequently in the US and think Hartsfield Int'l has the most consistently filthy restrooms of any major airport. I was there a couple of weeks ago and noticed that one of the stalls that had the door standing open literally had feces smeared halfway up the wall. The floors are always wet, too.

No, I don't hang out in airport bathrooms a lot, but if I have to stop in while I'm connecting through ATL it would be nice not to have to walk through urine all over the floor (or worse).
Old Jul 5th, 2002, 07:40 PM
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My experiences in the Atlanta airport have been uniformly bad. In fact, this airport means I now avoid Delta for international trips. I try to fly USAirways via Charlotte or Philly OR Northwest/KLM via Memphis. Short lines, friendly staffs and MUCH LESS HASSLE!
Old Jul 5th, 2002, 08:10 PM
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DFW is fast and reasonably pleasant.
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