During the peak summer season, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) averages 102,976 passengers per day. For baseball fans, that’s enough to fill up Turner Field twice or the Los Angeles Coliseum once. There are approximately 1,054 flights daily from Atlanta, and the airport boards more passengers and baggage daily than MSP, MEM and DTW, three of our largest hubs, combined.
These are just a few of the interesting tidbits we learned after we toured Delta’s operation at the Atlanta Airport a few weeks ago. As two Delta newbies, we jumped at the chance to learn about our new company by spending an afternoon at ATL, Delta’s largest hub.
Our tour began with a visit to the International and Domestic check-in area, where we learned that 22,000 to 26,000 passengers use 123 ticket counters and 92 self-service kiosks to begin their journey every day.
After our tour of check-in, we hopped into an airport vehicle on our way to explore the intricate baggage system below the airport terminals. On our way over, we had the rare opportunity to view a Boeing 757 through the front windshield of the car (we were secretly hoping the plane would slow down for our viewing pleasure). About 87 pictures later, we arrived at the sprawling baggage operation, where we explored the belts and carts that transfer about 90,000 bags each day.
Then we wandered into the tarmac, where we got an inside look at an MD-88 that was preparing for departure to Washington, DC. After sticking our heads into the baggage compartment and exploring the different parts of the wing and wheel, we realized that we actually had a large audience for this part of our tour- a fully loaded MD-80 with plenty of curious faces.
We finished up our day with a visit to the Delta ground control tower and instantly became jealous of the people who get to call that tower- and the view from it- their office. To cope, we resorted to posting pictures of the view to our cubicle walls, though it’s not quite the same.
We learned a lot about the world’s largest airport during the few hours we spent at ATL. But most of all, we learned about the many moving parts that work in-sync each and every day to make Delta the world’s greatest airline. And that’s something every passenger- and every Delta newbie- should know.
Rachel Welford and Trebor Banstetter