Atlanta airport now limiting access to the public. Here's what you need to know

ATLANTA — Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is now limiting public access to the airport.

Channel 2′s Tom Regan was at the airport Monday, where the goal is to address the growing unhoused population at the airport and improve security.

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The new regulation complies with legislation City Council approved in February. The rules basically say that if you are coming into the airport, you have to have a legitimate reason to be there. You can’t loiter or panhandle or find a place to sleep.

The new regulation was apparently driven by complaints from workers and travelers.


The airport and the city are now cracking down on the growing unsheltered population that usually takes refuge at the airport usually late at night, sometimes in the hundreds.

Many ride MARTA to get to the airport.

“About three trains come in full of unhoused individuals and other people mixed into that crowd, and that creates a problem at the airport,” Keith Hardrick, a homeless advocate, said.

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The airport has had a policy of restricting terminal access from 11 p.m. to 4:30 a.m., but that’s now in place around the clock.

The airport said access will be restricted to ticketed passengers, individuals meeting passengers, employees, contract workers and others who have legitimate business.

Some travelers are in support of the new restrictions. They believe it will improve the security and quality of their travel.

“Overall, I guess it’s pretty good,” traveler Jenee Young said.

Others said the new restrictions are unduly harsh on a vulnerable population.

“As far as the homeless, if they are not bothering anybody, what’s the big deal?” traveler Cody Healy said.

Hardrick has helped homeless people at the airport find shelters and services. However, he said the city and airport had no choice but to take action.

“If you are spending four or five hundred dollars on an airline ticket you shouldn’t have to deal with being harassed,” Hardrick said.

The restrictions will also apply to the ATL Sky Train, the car rental center and parking decks.