Smell that? That's the scent of brand new airport, as Atlanta's Airport opens the doors to their brand new Maynard H. Jackson International Terminal today. The building is 1.2 million square feet with 12 gates, and cost $1.4 billion to complete. Now that is finally completed, however, what can you expect as a traveler winging your way to or from far-away destinations?
Yummy, convenient food options. Pei Wei Asian Diner, The Varsity (classic American burgers and hot dogs), Ecco Kitchen, Jekyll Island Seafood Company, Lorena Garcia Tapas Bar, Maison Mathis, Sweet Auburn Market Café, The Pecan, and The original El Taco will fill out the terminal, and of course there will be a Starbucks. Notice no Sbarro for reheated, overpriced pizza slices! Progress!
(Hopefully) faster, easier security. There'll be two security checkpoints in the new terminal, with a total of 13 lanes. Of course those won't all be in use at the same time, but we have high hopes for an airport that's been designed after 9/11, after the introduction of mobile boarding passes and after years of new security rule after new security rule.
The shopping will just be okay, however, as the only notable boutiques (besides duty-free!) are MAC Cosmetics, Kiehl's, Brookstone and Tommy Hilfiger. Meh.
*Some things you'll need to know:
Do be aware that reaching the new terminal is totally different. For one, it's accessed via I-75 (exit 239) if you're driving or dealing with a confused taxi driver. For another, the train from downtown doesn't go to this terminal at all. Instead, you'll have to take the train to one of the domestic terminals, then find and transfer to a shuttle bus (free) to the International Terminal.
All in all, the new terminal is a huge, HUGE improvement for travelers at what's consistently named the world's busiest airport. Is it revolutionary? It doesn't seem so; it's no Terminal 5 at JFK, but it is exactly what Atlanta needs right now.