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Insider Tips Help Make Most of Navigating Hartsfield-Jackson
By A.B. Snedeker

You may travel through Hartsfield-Jackson regularly, but you might not know some of these true "locals only" insider tips. With these tidbits in hand, you can make the most of your time at the world's busiest airport, whether you're from Conyers, Ga., or Caracas, Venezuela.

If you have time, don't be afraid to leave your concourse. The people mover trains connecting the terminal and concourses T, A, B, C, D and E take approximately 90 seconds between stations. Some of the best spots to eat, let the kids run, escape the bustle, or take care of business could be located away from your gate. Accessing the people mover is easy - just head to the concourse midpoint and take the escalator down to the Transportation Mall.

Good Eating - Looking for a healthy bite to eat? Nature's Table Café (www.naturestable.com), located at the midpoint of Concourse E, Le Petit Café on Concourse T and Bistro del Sol in the Atrium* offer sensible choices, including fresh salads and soups, sandwiches and other healthy alternatives. Also, if you have a taste for sushi, check out the state-of-the-art sushi/salad kiosk near Gate 10 on Concourse B or the more upscale One Flew South on Concourse E.

Kids in the Hall - Sitting at the gate with fidgety kids can be tough. Let them burn some energy in the Transportation Mall. It's about a mile-and-a-half-long straight shot - mostly carpeted - that's a great place to let everyone in the family stretch their legs and get a bit of exercise. You can also play with a toy or game, read a story, or curl up for a nap with mommy or daddy.

A stunning sculpture collection from Zimbabwe lives between Concourses T and A. You can enjoy a leisurely stroll among the artwork, representing 12 African artists, or take it in at a slightly quicker pace on the moving sidewalks.

Also for mommies and daddies, each restroom - both women's and men's - at Hartsfield-Jackson is equipped with a diaper change area.

Finding Sanctuary - Should you find yourself with a longer layover, there are a few places to find a bit of refuge and solitude. There are two interfaith chapels located on Concourse E and in the Atrium* that are open 24 hours.

If you need a place to pitch camp, there is extra room at gates B-29 and C-30. Also, at the south end of Concourse D, there is a large hold room that is perfect for stretching out and getting some shut-eye. Additionally, the American Airlines baggage claim area in the terminal*, downstairs and separate from the other baggage claim areas on the north side of the terminal, is another option.

Be sure to stop by Z-Market for some fresh sandwiches and munchies, then hit Simply Books for the latest best-sellers and children's books, and you're all set. If you have a DVD player, a Blockbuster video store opening later this year might also come in handy.

Taking Care of Business - The Airport offers a full-service post office on the south side of the terminal* complete with gift wrap and ribbons for last-minute shipping needs. Many Hartsfield-Jackson retailers also offer shipping services.

Curb Your Dog - There is no formal pooch park at Hartsfield-Jackson, but there is a little-known spot to give your dog a break. Complete with pickup bags, a trash can and plenty of trees to sniff, this doggie oasis is located just outside Terminal North at the LN2 door*. Use the American Airlines baggage area escalator on the north side of the terminal. At the bottom of the escalator, turn left toward the LN2 door. Once outside, turn right, and the dog walk area is just a few steps down the sidewalk.

Arriving and Departing - If you're visiting Atlanta, arrange to be picked up and dropped off using the lower-level access roads. They run directly in front of the north and south sides of the passenger terminal and are less busy than the upper level. Delta Air Lines also offers curbside check-in near the lower level entrance on the south side of the terminal. Another great option is hourly parking. The first 15 minutes are free - only $1 per hour for the first two hours - so there's no need to rush at the curb.

Once you're ready to find your gate, don't forget the newly expanded security checkpoints. While many still flock to the 22-lane main checkpoint, there are six new checkpoint lanes in Terminal North and four new lanes in Terminal South. Since opening in October 2008, security wait times have not exceeded 20 minutes.

*Requires re-entry through security checkpoint

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