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The Old Atlanta Terminal

Wed Mar 13, 2002 12:59 pm

This is similar to my earlier post about Dallas' Love Field... are there any of you who can share your memories of the old Atlanta Airport terminal that closed in 1980? I'm referring to the blue-paneled terminal with the office building and control tower on top... for its time it must have been a pretty large building.

Did any of you ever pass through there? What was the inside like? Was it mostly outdoor boarding, or jetbridges?
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RE: The Old Atlanta Terminal

Wed Mar 13, 2002 2:02 pm

I only went through there twice in October of 1978, on my way from DFW-ORF and back. I can't remember if I flew Delta or Eastern on the way up, but I do remember changing over to Piedmont for the ATL-PRF segment and my particular flight did not have a jetway. It was raining and the Piedmont folks all handed out umbrellas.

Coming back, I remember I was on United for the ORF-ATL leg and changed over to Eastern. Got on the Eastern flight to continue on to DFW and while we were still boarding the captain came on and said a threatening note had been found against our flight in one of the restrooms in the terminal and we had to get off. That particular Eastern flight had also used airstairs. They took all the baggage off and we all had to identify our luggage and whatever was left over didn't go on our flight.

I think Eastern and Delta both had at least some gates with jetways, but some of the other airlines didn't.

Anyway, here is a postcard from around that time period:

Since I only went through the old terminal those two times and it was so long ago, I really can't remember much else. Sorry.


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RE: The Old Atlanta Terminal

Wed Mar 13, 2002 7:34 pm

When I was little I passed through there on DL flying PBI-ATL-DFW around 1975/76. I think there was an underground walkway connecting the terminal pier ends together but I'm not completely sure. I remember the DL 727 we flew on PBI-ATL had the special US bicentennial colors but the DL 747 ATL-DFW did not. On another note I remember parking next to a Davis Airlines commuter plane on arrival at DFW. George Cearly also has a historical photo book about ATL just as the one on DAL. They are both very nice with a lot of info.
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RE: The Old Atlanta Terminal

Wed Mar 13, 2002 10:41 pm

There's a good book called "A Dream Takes Flight : Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport and Aviation in Atlanta" that's about the ENTIRE history of ATL. If you can find this book at your public library, it'll have everything you want about the old terminal.

I never used the old terminal, as I was born in 1981. But my dad remembers that there were some very long walks betwen the gates and the terminal. Also it seemed like many of the areas were built as temporary, but they ended up being permanant, so it wasn't a very good looking place.
Tom in NO
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RE: The Old Atlanta Terminal

Thu Mar 14, 2002 1:49 am

I'll make you the same offer I made to someone else recently, e-mail me and I'll send back some scanned pics I took of the old ATL terminal back in 1982. I've also got a postcard from when it was in use taken from overhead.

As for books, George Cearley did a picture book on ATL that covers the history of terminals at ATL. The exact title escapes me right now, but it does have Atlanta-Hartsfield in the title.

Tom in NO (at MSY)
"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
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RE: The Old Atlanta Terminal

Thu Mar 14, 2002 6:08 am

I never got to go to the old terminal, but I went to the current terminal the day it opened. My grandfather remembers the switch as being a little hectic, since quite a lot of his cargo equipment had to be moved (he was the Air Cargo manager for Eastern at ATL at this time). The old terminal building is now the site of the Rennaissance hotel, but there is still quite a bit of old portions of the former complex still being used. The ramp area by the Delta hangar (the ex-Eastern hangar) is used to park a/c for mx and RON a/c (Delta and AA both use this area), and some of the cargo ramps (UPS and ABX) and the Mercury Air Center (G.A. and some charter flights) are pieces of the old ramp areas. The old terminal building was supposed to be reused (it was barely 20 years old), first as a hotel, then a office building, and even as a casino(!), but each project fell through, and the space was razed in the late 80s to build the buildings that currently sit in that area (the Rennaissance hotel, ASA's G.O., some of the Delta Campus).

RE: The Old Atlanta Terminal

Thu Mar 14, 2002 7:21 am

I first came to the old terminal in December 1965 just as in my post about Dallas Love Field. Me, My mother and siblings arrived on a Convair 440 from CAE and went to a Delta DC-8 for DAL/SFO. My next visit was on June 4, 1979 aboard a Eastern DC-9. The terminal looked very old and tired by this time. Eastern had no jetways, I think Delta was the only airline with jetways. There was a observation deck there and many pictures here on were taken from there. I flew out on Southern Airways Flight 469 to HSV/MEM that was actually a North Central DC-9 since the merger was about a month away. I saw my first 747 at Atlanta on the return trip on June 16, 1979. I left MEM on a Delta 727 and switched to a Eastern DC-9. From my window I saw a Sabena 747 parked at the Delta Rotunda Gate. Delta's first flight to Frankfurt departed the following day on June 17, 1979 (L-1011). What I remember most about this trip is having to wait in the Southern Airways Office downstairs since I was a UAM.
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RE: The Old Atlanta Terminal

Thu Mar 14, 2002 8:12 am

1975, I was returning to SRQ from DCA, connected in ATL on Eastern. Two 727-200s, N8844E into & outbound on N8855E. On the outbound flight for some reason there was festival seating!! I think because there was some large tour group. They let them board first. Everybody else had to find remaining seats. I was with my mom&dad. The only seats we were able to get together were on the last row!! Remember, this is on a 727!!! The engine(right side) blocked half the window!! The flight attendent asked if I wanted a drink, I semi-yellowed "no!" like a pouting 10 year old would. I was so bummed!! Actually,that was my last flight on Eastern!---No, not for that reason, I just didn't fly a whole lot in the 80s. Smile
"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
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RE: The Old Atlanta Terminal

Thu Mar 14, 2002 8:24 am

I flew through the old terminal many times in the 60s and 70s. Most flights were with Eastern but some with Southern, United, and Delta. Eastern offered the most variety as some gates had jetways, some required outside boarding, and then there were the mobile lounges to the fringe areas of the airport. All of Southern and United's gates were with out jetways. Northwest came in the 70s and soon they added jetways for their flights. The first international flights to Mexico were offered by Eastern requiring some adjustments for custom services in the building. The main part of the terminal was very large for the few airlines that provided service. I think that when I was through there that there weren't more than 10 airlines serving ATL. Perish the thought that if for some reason you had one flight on Eastern and another on Delta for it could be a half-mile walk. For an airline enthusiast the old terminal was a joy.
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RE: The Old Atlanta Terminal

Thu Mar 14, 2002 9:49 am

Another thing that exists from the old terminal is at the eastern end of the most southern runway, you can still see part of one of the diagonal runways.

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