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"Lines start to grow at Hartsfield"
Friday, December 21, 2007
Heading to airport? Lines ease up at gates
By MIKE MORRIS
The Atlanta (GA) Journal-Constitution
Security lines were long at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport early
Friday as the Christmas holiday travel season got underway.
At 8:45 a.m., the airport's Web site reported wait times of 30 to 40 minutes
at the main security gates, and 20 to 30 minutes at the "T-gate" checkpoint.
Wait times began building around 6:15 a.m., and were pegged at 30 minutes or
longer beginning around 6:45.
The lines began easing after 9 a.m., and were at 20 to 30 minutes at the
main checkpoint and 10 to 15 minutes at the T-gates at 9:30 a.m.
The north economy lot was reported full at 9:30, but parking was still
available in all of the airport's other lots.
The patchy drizzle across metro Atlanta was causing no significant flight
delays at Hartsfield-Jackson, and the Federal Aviation Administration
reported few weather-related backups across the country Friday morning.
The only delays were on flights bound for Chicago's O'Hare airport. Those
flights were being delayed an average of 39 minutes due to inclement weather
in Chicago, according to the FAA.
Delta Air Lines, the largest carrier at Hartsfield-Jackson, expected to
handle about 4.3 million passengers during the Christmas/New Years holiday
travel period, with Friday and Jan. 2 being among the heaviest travel days.
The Air Transport Association, which represents the major carriers, has
predicted the lightest travel days will be Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
On the roads, the Georgia State Patrol has predicted that 25 people will die
in wrecks over the 102-hour Christmas holiday period, which begins at 6 p.m.
Friday and ends at midnight Tuesday.
Last year, 22 people were killed in wrecks on the state's roads during a
78-hour Christmas holiday period.
The highest number of traffic deaths for a Christmas period was in 1971,
when 36 people were killed. The lowest number of fatalities occurred in
2002, when five people died.
The state Department of Transportation has suspended construction on
interstates and state routes from 5 a.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Wednesday.
Paul Marshall, a spokesman for the DOT, warned that traffic around metro
Atlanta was expected to be particularly heavy Friday afternoon.
"Holiday travelers, the last day of school before winter break and
last-minute shoppers will likely result in extreme delays through Friday
evening," Marshall said.
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