Longtime TICKET reader Daniel Woodruff was one of 1,600 volunteers chosen to take Atlanta’s new International Concourse F on a test drive this week. The new concourse will officially open on May 16. We were able to grab Daniel for a few minutes of Q&A about his experience at the trial and got some great insight that we’ve not heard anywhere else:
Q: What’s the most surprising thing you learned about the new terminal that you think business travelers need to know?
A: That not all international flights will actually depart from this terminal. While everyone will check in here, some international flights will still depart from Concourse E, necessitating a walk or train ride through the concourse tunnel.
Q: What are your thoughts about taking the shuttle bus vs the airport train between F and the main terminal?
A: The train will be faster, but travelers need to be checked in already to take it. The biggest issue with the shuttle bus is going to be the time and effort needed for travelers checking in rental cars or arriving via MARTA who then need to move all their luggage and themselves over to F to check in. [The airport says that the shuttle bus ride between F and Main is 12 mins; 15 mins to the car rental center.]
Q: Overall, do you feel that this is an improvement over Terminal E?
A: Very much so, and in two significant ways. First, inbound travelers with Atlanta as their final destination will not have to re-check their luggage after clearing customs and immigration only to reclaim it again as they do now – that added over an hour to my last return from London. Second, this terminal will offer more truly “international” amenities, such as short-term rest facilities and common lounge areas for travelers with long wait periods.
Q: What advice would you give a business traveler heading out on an international flight in June?
The biggest thing to remember is to plan out your new route to the airport! The new terminal is located off of I-75, so heavy-duty travelers can’t just go on autopilot when they drive to the airport for their International flight. And when they return, they need to be very careful getting onto I-75 again – the HOV on-ramps are easy to mistake for the regular ramps, and a ticket isn’t a great way to end a long International journey!
Daniel Woodruff is a 48 year old marketing communications consultant with extensive experience in the hospitality industry. A native of San Francisco, he has called the Brookhaven neighborhood of Atlanta home for the past 18 years. As a former road warrior, he now only travels once or twice per month and enjoys the extended time at home. When he does travel, his favorite destinations are California and Europe and his favorite seats are lie-flat business or first-class seats and his least favorite are business class recliner seats. The one flight schedule he’d add to the current Atlanta roster would be a daytime flight to London!
Stay tuned for more coverage from The TICKET as the opening date approaches. In the meantime, do you have any questions about the new international terminal? If so leave them below and we’ll try to get an answer for you.