DTWPurserBoy
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ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Mon Sep 21, 2015 10:34 pm

I recently passed through ATL about 1700 on a Friday afternoon and was appalled at the mess in terminals T through D.

When they were designed they were state of the art but they are no longer viable. There are too many people crammed into too small a space. They are narrow, long, have absolutely insufficient rest room facilities--there were even lines for the men's room and that NEVER happens.

I was trying to think of alternative solutions and about all I could come up with was to demolish them one by one and rebuild on the same ground--eliminating one of the existing terminals so the buildings could be wider and give adequate room for aircraft maneuvering. This would then require the building of at least 1-2 new building elsewhere on the property connected to the tram system.

DL has so much money invested at ATL I am sure they do not want to move to a new airport but with continued passenger growth in a couple of years this will be untenable.

Any fellow a.netters have suggestions? ATL is not the only airport in this condition--IAD comes to mind immediately and with no new major airports even planned in the US our aviation infrastructure cannot take much more.

There was a similar thread in 2013 but I thought it appropriate to start a new one--moderators, feel free to combine them if you feel it best.
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bigb
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Mon Sep 21, 2015 11:04 pm

The problem with IAD comes down to who will front the money for C/D expansion. There were plans for UA to do C/D rebuild however they did not want to front the money and MWAA already is extended with projects in the DC area.
 
DDR
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Mon Sep 21, 2015 11:06 pm

I agree. And concourse D is the absolute worst one of them all. I've seen bigger bus stations!
 
SpaceshipDC10
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Mon Sep 21, 2015 11:07 pm

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Thread starter):
When they were designed they were state of the art but they are no longer viable. There are too many people crammed into too small a space.

How many passengers were transiting at ATL when they were conceived, then built, and when was that already? 30+ years ago? How many passengers transit through these nowadays? Frequencies over capacity must be a good reason behind these crowds. Remember when domestic widebodies were much more common? DL Tristars to everywhere, or almost.
 
RDUDDJI
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Mon Sep 21, 2015 11:19 pm

ATL certainly shows its age, and the concourses are too small for the number of peeps pushed through there everyday. I always joke that the ATL concourses are one of the few places that feel more cramped than the planes.  

That being said, ATL *is* incredibly efficient for connecting traffic. I routinely make less than 40min Domestic connections at ATL. And the number of destinations and flights is really mind-boggling.

My half baked idea for ATL: Add another floor. Leave the existing concourse for gate areas, sky clubs, but move the main walkways/restaurants/shops/restrooms to an additional floor. Then have escalators every few gates to move peeps downstairs to their gates.



Edit: Apparently you can't use the "less than" sign in an open tag.


[Edited 2015-09-21 16:21:49]
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rmoore7734
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Mon Sep 21, 2015 11:33 pm

& to think they use to let non-ticked passengers in the concourses once upon a time.
Suppose if not for 9-11 they may have had to do that eventually due to the congestion.
 
holzmann
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Mon Sep 21, 2015 11:40 pm

When I pass through ATL, it's usually ALWAYS a zoo and usually on T, A, B, or E/F. I rarely have anything to do with C/D, thankfully. I find TAB to be tolerable. Unless it's like Thanksgiving week. About nothing is as bad as C/D at IAD.
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FlyASAGuy2005
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Mon Sep 21, 2015 11:43 pm

Quoting SpaceshipDC10 (Reply 3):

How many passengers were transiting at ATL when they were conceived, then built, and when was that already? 30+ years ago? How many passengers transit through these nowadays? Frequencies over capacity must be a good reason behind these crowds. Remember when domestic widebodies were much more common? DL Tristars to everywhere, or almost.

55 million was the number it was designed for when it opened in 1980...

Bottom line really isn't the concourses. Yes they APPEAR to be small but again, everyone is flying much bigger airplanes than they were 30 years ago. Hell look at D Concourse. US Airways is pretty much all mainline with most departure to CLT being A321 that seat 187 people. Those gates were NOT designed to house that many passengers at once.
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jsnww81
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Mon Sep 21, 2015 11:54 pm

It's gotten pretty bad in Atlanta. The terminal layout is brilliant - it's still the standard for high-volume hubs to this day (look at DEN, which copied it shamelessly!) but the concourses need attention, despite what Delta seems to think. They're simply not big enough.

Quoting SpaceshipDC10 (Reply 3):
Remember when domestic widebodies were much more common? DL Tristars to everywhere, or almost.

True, but load factors were a lot lower in those days, too. A lot of those TriStars flew two-thirds full, except during peak periods. I remember passing through ATL in the early 1990s and the concourses still felt a lot less congested, and that was with TriStars parked at half the gates on Concourse A.  
Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 4):
My half baked idea for ATL: Add another floor. Leave the existing concourse for gate areas, sky clubs, but move the main walkways/restaurants/shops/restrooms to an additional floor. Then have escalators every few gates to move peeps downstairs to their gates.

Concourse E at the old Denver Stapleton airport had this setup. There were "express" moving walkways one level above the concourse designed to carry pax to the furthest gates. Every few gates there were escalators back down. It was kind of a complicated layout, especially considering the concourse was only in use for about seven years before the airport closed.
 
N867DA
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 12:19 am

Maybe they can widen each concourse by closing all the gates/shops on one side and building an expansion. ATL has gotten congested, but it's evident they are doing the best they can with the space available. I've noticed a lot of upgrades to aesthetic amenities and some of the concourses have new 'loft' areas above the center point for more dining and lounge options.

Have security times increased at ATL in the past 20-30 years? I have no hard facts but I've never had horrible wait times even at peak hours. I wonder if the O&D v. connecting mix has shifted over time.
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Alias1024
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 12:26 am

Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 4):
My half baked idea for ATL: Add another floor. Leave the existing concourse for gate areas, sky clubs, but move the main walkways/restaurants/shops/restrooms to an additional floor. Then have escalators every few gates to move peeps downstairs to their gates.

I had the same thought, thinking of SFO's international terminal as a template.
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ncflyer
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 12:36 am

Thank you for this post, I agree 100%, I frankly don't think ATL is THAT far behind Laguardia in terms of how embarrassing it is for a U.S. airport, let alone the world's largest.

The concourse architecture is so dingy 1980s too (though in fairness I've only seen the new international terminal from the outside). Compare it to DTW or DEN which are breathtaking and allow in much natural light. those airports show what's possible. I love the one terminal at a time idea, rebuild them one by one, I would only hope they have enough land between the terminals for the planes to transit as smoothly as they do now if the terminals are widened. The powers at be at ATL have to be thinking very long and hard about this. Yes I can transit quickly, but who's counting the people that I knock over to get there! And heaven help me as I age.
 
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 12:48 am

Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 4):
That being said, ATL *is* incredibly efficient for connecting traffic. I routinely make less than 40min Domestic connections at ATL. And the number of destinations and flights is really mind-boggling.

Agreed, and for the record - ATL has *NEVER* let me down.

But D is the worst. The best thing you can do with an ATL connection is not be rushed, I always book with 1h15m minimum connection time. Even though I think 40 or 45 are legal connection times, El Rickatron will not do any less than 75 minutes!
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alphaomega
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 1:18 am

I currently live in ATL and yes, thanks to DL eventhough I live there I have sometimes connected in ATL, and I must be the only one who doesn't see how bad ATL is. I usually fly out of ATL on Mondays and back on Fridays, with a few Tue/Thu travel days thrown in. Yes there are crowds during the peak times, like all airports, but I think this is exaggerated by the gate lice that hang out and block the concourse which keeps everyone from getting by. If you avoid the Monday mornings and Friday evenings, its not any worse than some other airports around the US.

DL has been experimenting with zones and keeping everyone out of the center of the concourse currently by B3 and B5, but not sure of their feedback on this...I personally liked how it got everyone out of the way of the center of the concourse but when I used it, thought it was pretty annoying.

A 2nd level would be excellent - probably the only way to expand without closing down current gates and really squeezing the existing capacity - but mostly because a lot of the concessions are crammed in too tight I think. The food outlets not in the center of the concourses are closets, but I must say pretty efficient at getting people through.

Overall, I can't say ATL is on par with LGA or IAD C/D, but if DL continues to grow and any other carrier makes a play for any growth in ATL, expanding the existing mid-field concourses will be necessary very quick. F is beautiful and does have most of the concessions on the 2nd floor, along with quite a bit of space through the terminal. Even Concourse E is pretty good on space. D I agree is garbage but I've only been through there a few times.
 
AAflyguy
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:04 am

All of this "wishing for a better ATL" talk is very easy to say and rather difficult (and incredibly costly and disruptive) to do. I don't think most have any clue as to how much it would take to pull this off. It's far more involved than simply saying they should widen and/or rebuild the concourses, as that impacts ramp/gate operations as well. I've flown into ATL many times, including this year, and typically have no issues with the concourses, though they are generally swarming with people. In fact, I came into Conc D this year over the July 4 holiday weekend. It's always O&D for me anymore. To widen all of the concourses A-D would most likely sacrifice the efficiency of the ramps between them which allows for dual simultaneous taxiing with planes parked at the gates on both sides. I know DL is working with the Airport to make some major modifications to Conc D, and there are renderings floating around that I've seen. Beyond that, good luck with the hopes & dreams of wider concourses. It's not impossible, but it's not likely, either. And, it would take years, plus a couple billion dollars, to accomplish. If DL doesn't want it, guess what? I'll ask a few senior management folks @ ATL what the specific concourse plans are when I see them next week. I'd love to be proven wrong! Will report back..

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jetlanta
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:06 am

I saw photos today of the improvements that are going to be made to the concourses as part of the current terminal improvement project. Higher, arched ceilings and lots new windows will dramatically change the "feel" of the buildings. Delta also apparently believes that the new boarding process, which keeps lines against the walls of the gatehouse versus in the hallways, will have a big impact on crowding.

The truth is that there is no economical argument for replacing the current concourses. Any reconstruction to increase concourse size will would cost a fortune AND reduce capacity. It is a terrible argument to make. So they will get more creative with the space they have.
 
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northwestEWR
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:32 am

Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 4):
That being said, ATL *is* incredibly efficient for connecting traffic. I routinely make less than 40min Domestic connections at ATL. And the number of destinations and flights is really mind-boggling.

  

Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 4):
My half baked idea for ATL: Add another floor. Leave the existing concourse for gate areas, sky clubs, but move the main walkways/restaurants/shops/restrooms to an additional floor. Then have escalators every few gates to move peeps downstairs to their gates.

This is what they're going to have to do if they want to keep A-D running into the future. I'm not sure it would end up being cheaper than an entirely new terminal or not.

Quoting holzmann (Reply 6):
When I pass through ATL, it's usually ALWAYS a zoo and usually on T, A, B, or E/F. I rarely have anything to do with C/D, thankfully. I find TAB to be tolerable. Unless it's like Thanksgiving week. About nothing is as bad as C/D at IAD.

I work at ATL and it's really not *that* bad. Yes, it's packed but so is every major transport hub in the country. It's better than Penn Station NYC at Rush Hour. That is a nightmare.

Quoting jsnww81 (Reply 8):
It's gotten pretty bad in Atlanta. The terminal layout is brilliant - it's still the standard for high-volume hubs to this day (look at AND CURRENT: Denver - International (DEN / KDEN), USA - Colorado">DEN, which copied it shamelessly!) but the concourses need attention, despite what Delta seems to think. They're simply not big enough.

And they're getting attention, albeit slowly. Delta knows they need work.

Quoting N867DA (Reply 9):
Have security times increased at ATL in the past 20-30 years? I have no hard facts but I've never had horrible wait times even at peak hours. I wonder if the O&D v. connecting mix has shifted over time.

Not really. I haven't ever had a wait longer than 10-15 minutes, though that's the Pre   line.

Quoting B4REAL (Reply 12):
Agreed, and for the record - ATL has *NEVER* let me down.

Agreed.   

Quoting alphaomega (Reply 13):
I currently live in ATL and yes, thanks to DL eventhough I live there I have sometimes connected in ATL, and I must be the only one who doesn't see how bad ATL is. I usually fly out of ATL on Mondays and back on Fridays, with a few Tue/Thu travel days thrown in. Yes there are crowds during the peak times, like all airports, but I think this is exaggerated by the gate lice that hang out and block the concourse which keeps everyone from getting by. If you avoid the Monday mornings and Friday evenings, its not any worse than some other airports around the US.

   It's not that bad. Sure, there are better facilities (DTW!) but it is what it is.

Quoting alphaomega (Reply 13):
DL has been experimenting with zones and keeping everyone out of the center of the concourse currently by B3 and B5, but not sure of their feedback on this...I personally liked how it got everyone out of the way of the center of the concourse but when I used it, thought it was pretty annoying.

I believe B7 is now a test gate as well. They look really nice. If people would stay seated, that would almost fix the issue instantly.

Quoting alphaomega (Reply 13):
A 2nd level would be excellent - probably the only way to expand without closing down current gates and really squeezing the existing capacity - but mostly because a lot of the concessions are crammed in too tight I think. The food outlets not in the center of the concourses are closets, but I must say pretty efficient at getting people through.

That would be fantastic--sort of like Amsterdam where larger food places, lounges and especially offices/break rooms are on the upper level. Just moving all the Delta offices and such upstairs would make a lot of space available for new things.

Quoting jetlanta (Reply 15):
I saw photos today of the improvements that are going to be made to the concourses as part of the current terminal improvement project. Higher, arched ceilings and lots new windows will dramatically change the "feel" of the buildings. Delta also apparently believes that the new boarding process, which keeps lines against the walls of the gatehouse versus in the hallways, will have a big impact on crowding.

  

Quoting jetlanta (Reply 15):
The truth is that there is no economical argument for replacing the current concourses. Any reconstruction to increase concourse size will would cost a fortune AND reduce capacity. It is a terrible argument to make. So they will get more creative with the space they have.

      
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airliner371
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:02 am

Is this a valid interpretation for what will be Concourse C or no?

http://www.buildzoom.com/blog/hartsfield-jackson-atlanta

[Edited 2015-09-21 20:03:00]
 
CIDFlyer
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:05 am

I've gone through ATL many times and yes it is packed to the gills. However I feel the concourses are kept up well and the wide array of restaurants and stores are probably the best as far as airports go. It is what it is.

Quoting northwestEWR (Reply 16):
Quoting jetlanta (Reply 15):
I saw photos today of the improvements that are going to be made to the concourses as part of the current terminal improvement project. Higher, arched ceilings and lots new windows will dramatically change the "feel" of the buildings. Delta also apparently believes that the new boarding process, which keeps l

This will be nice! They especially need windows on the end of the concourses so you can see the airfield. Will be curious to see those plans.
 
jetlanta
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:07 am

Quoting airliner371 (Reply 17):
Is this a valid interpretation for what will be Concourse C or no?

No. That is a very old rendering of a project that turned out much differently.
 
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:08 am

Quoting jetlanta (Reply 19):
No. That is a very old rendering of a project that turned out much differently.

Thank you. I wasn't sure because of the date of the article.
 
TW870
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 4:23 am

Quoting northwestEWR (Reply 16):
Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 4):
My half baked idea for ATL: Add another floor. Leave the existing concourse for gate areas, sky clubs, but move the main walkways/restaurants/shops/restrooms to an additional floor. Then have escalators every few gates to move peeps downstairs to their gates.

This is what they're going to have to do if they want to keep A-D running into the future. I'm not sure it would end up being cheaper than an entirely new terminal or not.

The extra floor idea seems like the only workable one regardless of cost. Logistics aside, it would be almost impossible to build a new terminal that used ramp and taxiway space as efficiently as the current design. A new terminal that maintained current capacity but expanded passenger facilities would have to drastically enlarge the footprint of the airport. The 2-floor idea, meanwhile, would vastly increase the amount of room for passengers while maintaining ATL's robust capacity.
 
threeifbyair
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 4:33 am

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Thread starter):
Any fellow a.netters have suggestions? ATL is not the only airport in this condition--IAD comes to mind immediately and with no new major airports even planned in the US our aviation infrastructure cannot take much more.

Flow more connecting traffic over DTW and MSP?

Those airports have spare capacity.
 
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northwestEWR
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 4:57 am

Quoting TW870 (Reply 21):
The extra floor idea seems like the only workable one regardless of cost. Logistics aside, it would be almost impossible to build a new terminal that used ramp and taxiway space as efficiently as the current design. A new terminal that maintained current capacity but expanded passenger facilities would have to drastically enlarge the footprint of the airport. The 2-floor idea, meanwhile, would vastly increase the amount of room for passengers while maintaining ATL's robust capacity.

They've already started doing this in some places--if you notice the construction on B concourse lately, they're working on the foundational structure for the new SkyClub that will be on the "2nd" level. They're essentially building a truss over the existing concourse and will build the new SkyClub on top of that and then connect it to the floor below.
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 5:24 am

Quoting jetlanta (Reply 15):
Higher, arched ceilings and lots new windows will dramatically change the "feel" of the buildings.

That's the main issue with the older terminals, raise the ceiling and the whole place would feel less crowded.

Quoting N867DA (Reply 9):
Have security times increased at ATL in the past 20-30 years? I have no hard facts but I've never had horrible wait times even at peak hours.

I can honestly say, the wait times at ATL are amazingly short given the amount of traffic that goes through them, compared to LAS or DTW they are heaven.
 
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 1:14 pm

Quoting jsnww81 (Reply 8):
Concourse E at the old Denver Stapleton airport had this setup. There were "express" moving walkways one level above the concourse designed to carry pax to the furthest gates.

Parts of new DEN have this setup. The mezzanine levels atop the central part of each concourse each extend for some distance down the concourses. I don't think a lot of people realize it's up there.
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jetlanta
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 1:27 pm

Quoting jetwet1 (Reply 24):
That's the main issue with the older terminals, raise the ceiling and the whole place would feel less crowded.

The renderings, which were shown in a presentation delivered by Delta's VP of Corporate Real Estate, make the concourses look completely different. From what I could tell, the highlights were:

1. Down the main hallways, the ceilings are no longer flat, but rather arched in a concave fashion.
2. Ceilings in the gatehouses are angled so that they rise as you get closer to the wall.
3. The gatehouse wall was, in fact, all windows.
4. There were two levels of windows. The first looked to be about 12' high (just guessing though). On top of that, was another level of windows that was maybe 3-4' tall.
5. My guess is that the second level of windows is the same height as the angle of the ceiling as it rises from the hallway to the wall. (In other words, the ceiling rises 3-4' feet as you move to the wall)
6. It also appeared that the hallway gate number signs had LED screens which included flight information (such as destination and Delta branding)

The VP commented that the new boarding process being tested is designed to wrap lines around the interior walls of the gatehouse and keep people out of the hallways. He said the customer surveys about the process have seen large improvements in satisfaction and, after some further tweaking, may go live in ATL next year. Apparently boarding times are reduced as well.

I wish I had the pics to share. His comments about the renovation basically reflected that the bones of the buildings are great and that a new terminal is cost and space prohibitive. But they recognize that the customer experience is not reflective of what they want the Delta brand to stand for, so they are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to improve it.
 
Cubsrule
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 1:36 pm

Quoting jetlanta (Reply 26):
The VP commented that the new boarding process being tested is designed to wrap lines around the interior walls of the gatehouse and keep people out of the hallways. He said the customer surveys about the process have seen large improvements in satisfaction and, after some further tweaking, may go live in ATL next year.

To me, this the crux of why the WN process works and the UA process doesn't always work. WN makes an efforts to keep the lines as far from the hallway as possible. UA often shoots the lines parallel to the jet bridge and perpendicular to the hallway. It sounds like DL is thinking correctly here.
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MSPNWA
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 5:57 pm

The current plans sound like a lot lipstick on a pig. You can arch this and add windows that, but it won't change the real problem which is floor space. The only feeling of space I care about is for my shoulders as I wade through a human maze. Nothing will change that unless either floor space is added or the number of passengers using it reduced. Those factors are only going the wrong way. ATL needs to think to the long-term future. It's either a bigger ATL with redesigned concourses and/or another airport. Even the new DL boarding process will shift one problem to another. It will reduce congestion in the hallways, but it will come at the cost of gate seating (it's one thing I don't like about WN's setup).

ATL is a stressful experience. Unfortunately CLT is about the same, so if you travel to that region there's little you can do to avoid a chaotic connection.

[Edited 2015-09-22 10:58:39]
 
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Polot
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 6:27 pm

Quoting MSPNWA (Reply 28):
The current plans sound like a lot lipstick on a pig. You can arch this and add windows that, but it won't change the real problem which is floor space. The only feeling of space I care about is for my shoulders as I wade through a human maze.

Well yes it won't solve the fundamental issues but it is better than nothing. ATL's older terminals need more windows and are way too compartmentalized, with basically every gate or group of 2 walled off by concessions/restrooms/whatever, giving the whole terminal a dark and dingy feel that just amplifies how crowded it actually is.
 
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 6:31 pm

They could solve the too small waiting area problem by building out to the side at each waiting area. They could increase the size of the concessions on a second level. But they can't fix the too narrow walkways that can't accommodate a moving walkway. It can be a long, long walk for older pax and families if you come in at the end of one pier and have to connect to the end of another pier. Worse when they change your gate on you as they like to do...
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FlyASAGuy2005
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 6:40 pm

Quoting northwestEWR (Reply 23):
They've already started doing this in some places--if you notice the construction on B concourse lately, they're working on the foundational structure for the new SkyClub that will be on the "2nd" level. They're essentially building a truss over the existing concourse and will build the new SkyClub on top of that and then connect it to the floor below.

Was wondering what that work was. I figured it was either a club or some sort of restaurant/food court. That's pretty much what they did on T-North however the food court still isn't open yet...

Quoting MSPNWA (Reply 28):
ATL is a stressful experience. Unfortunately CLT is about the same, so if you travel to that region there's little you can do to avoid a chaotic connection.

I agre on most points except this. What is usually most stresful for travelers is security. Although the lines tend to get long at ATL, it moves at a constant pace. I have seen the lines at the main checkpoint extend out past the atrium, around where the welcome sign is and into the walk-ways in front of baggage claim. Even then, you should get screened in about an hour.

In all honesty, yes it's crowded but it's not THAT bad.
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Polot
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 6:58 pm

Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 31):
I agre on most points except this. What is usually most stresful for travelers is security.

The thing that makes CLT stressful is its inefficient airport layout which means you (naturally) always land on the runway furthest from your gate that requires you to go all the way around the airport dealing with the busy aprons and sitting for 10 minutes as you let traffic going to/from the gates in front of you clear. Then US never has the ground crew ready or the gate clear (DL ramp at ATL is much better about that than US ramp at CLT). All of the above is especially true with US express flights, god help you if you are parking at gate E4 while landing on 36L/18R for example, which of course serve most of the Southeast cities. Once inside the terminal CLT is pleasant, although it can have some long connection distances which is true of many large hubs, but at least everything is connected behind security.

So you can land on time but still almost always wait at least 20 minutes, stressing about how tight your connection is getting, until you are actually off your plane. ATL does not suffer from that as badly, even when you are landing on the outer runways.

[Edited 2015-09-22 12:00:52]
 
CMHSRQ
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 6:58 pm

I think ATL is replacing the seating. Those weird satellite seating pods that sit 6 people waste an enormous amount of space. Put in normal rows of seats like most airports and you double the concourse seating capacity.
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timpdx
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 7:21 pm

Taken early Nov, a very quiet time of year, Sunday before noon, and not a telephoto shot to compress distance (50mm lens)
http://i.imgur.com/QC5S673.jpg
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northwestEWR
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 7:50 pm

Quoting timpdx (Reply 34):

That's what it usually looks like on a busy day. Sundays are awful in ATL. About the only slow day is Saturday right now.
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mcg
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 7:57 pm

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 25):
Quoting jsnww81 (Reply 8):
Concourse E at the old Denver Stapleton airport had this setup. There were "express" moving walkways one level above the concourse designed to carry pax to the furthest gates.

Parts of new DEN have this setup. The mezzanine levels atop the central part of each concourse each extend for some distance down the concourses. I don't think a lot of people realize it's up there.

The upper level walkways never get used because using them doesn't save any time. I guess DEN isn't that crowded.
 
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1337Delta764
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 8:20 pm

Quoting mcg (Reply 36):
The upper level walkways never get used because using them doesn't save any time. I guess DEN isn't that crowded.

I wonder, would elevated automated people movers inside the concourses similar to DTW be a good idea? They can include five evenly-spaced stations from end-to-end. I can see such setup being useful in Concourses A, B, and E.
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northwestEWR
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 8:26 pm

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Reply 37):
I wonder, would elevated automated people movers inside the concourses similar to DTW be a good idea? They can include five evenly-spaced stations from end-to-end. I can see such setup being useful in Concourses A, B, and E.

I don't think the distances require a people mover--DTW is almost a mile long and the ATL concourses are less than half that. From the center to the last gate, it's not too long of a walk. End to end can be a hike but I don't find that to be a bad thing. People need to exercise!
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diverdave
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 8:35 pm

Quoting northwestEWR (Reply 16):
If people would stay seated, that would almost fix the issue instantly.

That would help, but most gate areas don't have nearly enough seats for everybody.

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 27):
WN makes an efforts to keep the lines as far from the hallway as possible.

This. I always wonder why ATL doesn't have staff go up and down the concourses and ask folks to move over.

Quoting northwestEWR (Reply 35):
About the only slow day is Saturday right now.

Yep. And Saturday isn't really like it's a ghost town, just somewhat less crowded.

David
 
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Polot
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 8:46 pm

Best way to kill time in ATL is not to stay seated, there is nowhere near enough seating for that, but just walk through the underground tunnels between the terminals which are easily the least crowded part of the airport (until you reach one of the train stations).
 
747megatop
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 8:48 pm

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Thread starter):
ATL is not the only airport in this condition--IAD comes to mind immediately and with no new major airports even planned in the US our aviation infrastructure cannot take much more.

ATL & IAD are paradise when compared to SEA. SEA is overcrowded and has no room to expand.
 
FlyASAGuy2005
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 9:16 pm

Quoting Polot (Reply 32):
The thing that makes CLT stressful is its inefficient airport layout which means you (naturally) always land on the runway furthest from your gate that requires you to go all the way around the airport dealing with the busy aprons and sitting for 10 minutes as you let traffic going to/from the gates in front of you clear. Then US never has the ground crew ready or the gate clear (DL ramp at ATL is much better about that than US ramp at CLT). All of the above is especially true with US express flights, god help you if you are parking at gate E4 while landing on 36L/18R for example, which of course serve most of the Southeast cities. Once inside the terminal CLT is pleasant, although it can have some long connection distances which is true of many large hubs, but at least everything is connected behind security.

Well, CLT as an airport needs to be leveled. They terminals and alleyways were not designed for current a/c. During a push, everything pretty much comes to a standstill because a/c cannot taxi side-by-side, unlike ATL where this is possible. Even with pushes, you can't push at the same time say off C6 and an a/c is ready to push off B3 or B5. It's terrible.
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afcjets
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 9:29 pm

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Thread starter):
I was trying to think of alternative solutions and about all I could come up with was to demolish them one by one and rebuild on the same ground--eliminating one of the existing terminals so the buildings could be wider and give adequate room for aircraft maneuvering. This would then require the building of at least 1-2 new building elsewhere on the property connected to the tram system.

This idea reminds me of what RDU did to the terminal built to be American's hub, which was a lot easier because it happened when it was no longer a hub, and it is obviously a much smaller airport. If ATL were to do this they should tear down and rebuild one end of a concourse at a time, just like RDU did. Starting with D would make the most sense because it is where the most space would be added which would come in handy when they rebuild the other concourses.

Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 4):
My half baked idea for ATL: Add another floor. Leave the existing concourse for gate areas, sky clubs, but move the main walkways/restaurants/shops/restrooms to an additional floor. Then have escalators every few gates to move peeps downstairs to their gates.

I immediately thought of Stapleton too but it has already been mentioned. IIRC, one MIA concourse added a second floor about 20 years ago, but I never went up there just remember the construction.
 
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 10:58 pm

I had not thought of the second level option. Moving walking traffic to that level would greatly decrease the sense of crowding and it would be possible to install what are euphemistically referred to as "moving sidewalks." The concept is that the sidewalk keeps moving and so should you. Unfortunately, people seem to think it is an excuse to stand there and give dirty looks to the people trying to pass by.

Thinking about the overall geography of ATL there really is no place to build a new terminal as they did around 1980. I recall with NO great affection the original terminal. When this complex opened it was a huge improvement but 35 years is a long time in the life of a terminal and they certainly never anticipated the growth in air travel since that time. In all fairness DL is well aware of the problems and are trying to make the existing facility work and continually experiment with new ideas such as lines along the walls instead of out into the concourse. Getting people to cooperate is another story.

D concourse, as noted by many on this thread, is the one that makes me mumble to myself. It is by far the biggest headache but back in the day, D was for the exclusive use of the non-DL/EA airlines and was deliberately made smaller. It used to be a relative haven from the rest of the facility.

It all comes back to congress and the need for investing in new infrastructure. The existing airports will be worthless in 20 years and the funny thing is that few people travel more than senators, representatives and their staff yet they ignore the need to spend money where it is needed. I advocate for a need to inform your elected representatives to ignore the political implications (i.e. get companies like Verizon and GE to actually pay SOMETHING in taxes every year!) but I foresee a day when there will be a terrible tragedy like when an commuter airplane crashed in DTW and slammed into the old F concourse at gates that had just had two fully loaded 747's depart. This is an area where high value customers can have some serious input with the airlines.
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TeamintheSky
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:23 pm

Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 42):
Well, CLT as an airport needs to be leveled.

As a loyal DL flyer flipped loyal AA flyer, I disagree. While I will agree that the airport is not nearly as efficient as ATL, I have always had very pleasant experiences at CLT.

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 44):
(i.e. get companies like Verizon and GE to actually pay SOMETHING in taxes every year!)

DTW - completely agree that investment needs to be made on US airports. Even though the LHR runway saga continues without end, there is no doubt that there is tons of investment into LHR, other European gateways, Middle Eastern, and Asian gateways that put the US airports to shame.

I draw out this one comment, as a tax guy, as inherently wrong. While not on topic, corporations in the US have the highest corporate tax rates levied on them every year. Now while they may use legal means to lower their liabilities, the US taxation of corporations is laughable. Any taxes they do pay are simply passed on to their consumers in their pricing, so you are basically paying the tax anyway. The best place to start to try and raise revenue is always at the individual level (ie, ending the earned income credit would be a start) or even better, charge those that actually use the airport (ie, increase fees).

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AVLAirlineFreq
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Wed Sep 23, 2015 12:21 am

Quoting Polot (Reply 32):
Once inside the terminal CLT is pleasant, although it can have some long connection distances which is true of many large hubs, but at least everything is connected behind security.

The biggest problem with CLT is Concourse E. What seemed like a temporary afterthought for US Express at one time has now metastasized into this sprawling tentacle that is often difficult for taxiing aircraft to reach during peak hours and nearly impossible to connect in a timely way if you have a flight to or from there. (God help you if you arrive at Gate E38 and have a tight connection.)

On my most recent flight through there, the taxiing time to get from the runway to my E gate was longer than the flight itself. I'm not exaggerating.

Regarding ATL and Concourse D, can the DL Connection gates there only handle CRJs, or are they also able to accommodate mainline jets?
 
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northwestEWR
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Wed Sep 23, 2015 12:29 am

Quoting AVLAirlineFreq (Reply 46):
Regarding ATL and Concourse D, can the DL Connection gates there only handle CRJs, or are they also able to accommodate mainline jets?

It depends on the gate. I believe all of them are capable of at least a CRJ-900 and all the gates on D-South are mainline now.
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ikramerica
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Wed Sep 23, 2015 3:35 am

Quoting northwestEWR (Reply 38):
I don't think the distances require a people mover--DTW is almost a mile long and the ATL concourses are less than half that. From the center to the last gate, it's not too long of a walk. End to end can be a hike but I don't find that to be a bad thing. People need to exercise!

Forcing people to exercise while trying to make a connection, get something to eat since it wasn't available on the plane, try to use the restroom, and lug luggage and family about, is abuse.

There is a time and a place for exercise. A connecting hub is not that place, and a 50 minute connection is not that time.
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hz747300
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RE: ATL Terminals T Through D--Enough!

Wed Sep 23, 2015 6:59 am

I have not been to ATL in a number of years, but I agree, it would require closing one concourse, or one-half of a concourse at a time, to minimize impact on business while the second story is added and floor to ceiling windows are added.

Bangkok is like this. When you walk down to the gates, you are raised, and then take stairs, a ramp, or elevator down to the specific gate area. The difference is that all the shops are centralised in BKK, so ATL would modify it.

I think it can work, I think it would cost as much as a new airport, and it would take a while unless they have funding to do a "Ty Pennington: Extreme Makeover Airport Edition". The more I think about it, it could only be a half concourse at at time too.

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