Atlanta Police, Transportation Security Administration, Customs and Border Protection, and Hartsfield-Jackson officials shared details on Wednesday on how they're addressing safety, COVID-19, and security ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Steve Mayers, Director of Customer Experience at Hartsfield-Jackson said the most important thing for passengers to do is to obey the rules and be patient.
“We will have music for you. We’ll have smiling faces. All that we ask is that you obey whatever rules we have," Mayers explained.
While addressing recent disruptive incidents aboard airplanes nationwide due to mask mandates, airport leaders want to make sure travelers are aware the pandemic isn't over.
Officials added that masks are still federally required in airports, on planes, as well as on buses and trains through January 18, 2022.
“There are going to be almost 60,000 employees here to take care of you. We want you to treat them with respect so that they can take care of you and that your journey through our airport is as smooth and stress-free as possible," Mayers said.
Leaders are also recommending that you get to the airport 2-4 hours ahead of time, as crowds are expected to be the biggest Atlanta has seen in years.
“From Saturday, the 20th through Monday, the 29th – more than 2.2 million travelers will travel to or from Hartsfield Jackson," Airport Senior Deputy General Manager Michael Smith said.
Hartsfield-Jackson has opened two new park ride options and all airport shuttles are back to normal operations. All three domestic checkpoints will be open including the main security checkpoint at the international terminal.
Protection agents added that international travelers should expect to undergo facial recognition technology.
Paula Rivera, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Director Atlanta, said this technology will be critical to ensuring travelers aren't using fraudulent IDs, "This technology is a part of our layered enforcement strategy to protect our nation.”
TSA is also giving travelers a heads up on what food items they can and can't carry on for their Thanksgiving meal. Travelers will need to check items like cranberry sauce, gravy, and wine; but baked goods like pumpkin pie and even stuffing can be carried on.
The airport also recently moved its rideshare pick-up location and it warns it could impact travel. The new location is near the terminal north baggage claim, and authorities have placed orange signs to direct passengers to the pick-up spot.