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: FEATURE ARTICLE :

Volunteers put international terminal to the test
By Amy Schneider

More than 1,600 members of the public portrayed international travelers on May 2 during a simulation to test the operational readiness of the Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal and its staff.

“The simulation was designed to test the new terminal’s operational readiness and to identify areas in which to concentrate our efforts in order to ensure a successful opening on May 16,” Aviation Deputy General Manager Balram Bheodari said. “We appreciate the feedback we received and will continue striving to meet international travelers’ needs and tastes for years to come.”

The simulation involved all Airport stakeholders, such as airlines, concessionaires, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration.

“Passengers” were given specialized, individual scripts that specified how they were to arrive at the terminal (park in the international hourly lot, go to the rental car center and take a shuttle to the international terminal, etc.) and which imaginary flights they would be taking.

The exercise included ticketing/check-in run-throughs, baggage checks (each participant was asked to bring two pieces of luggage), security screenings, emergency response drills and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection process. Participants also were asked to locate various amenities, such as specific concessions or airline lounges.

Each volunteer went through the departure process first, then, after pretending to board a plane, transformed into an arriving passenger and went through that process. After each phase, participants were asked to fill out surveys to gauge the experience and provide their feedback. 

The Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal opens on May 16.

Volunteers use the self-service check-in kiosks at the international terminal during the May 2 simulation.

Volunteers use the self-service check-in kiosks at the international terminal during the May 2 simulation.

More than 1,600 people participated in the simulation, including families with children and people with disabilities. Some volunteers came from as far away as Africa.

More than 1,600 people participated in the simulation, including families with children and people with disabilities. Some volunteers came from as far away as Africa.

Participants wait for their “flight” to depart.

Participants wait for their “flight” to depart.

A volunteer picks up his baggage from the carousel at the international terminal.

A volunteer picks up his baggage from the carousel at the international terminal.

Deputy General Manager Balram Bheodari talks with reporters after the simulation. Bheodari said the international terminal’s big test “exceeded our expectations.”

Deputy General Manager Balram Bheodari talks with reporters after the simulation. Bheodari said the international terminal’s big test “exceeded our expectations.”

Volunteers head home with their baggage after the end of the international terminal simulation.

Volunteers head home with their baggage after the end of the international terminal simulation.



© 2012 Hartsfield-Jackson News. A Publication from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. All rights reserved.

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