About Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
Address: 2300 Rental Car Center Parkway, College Park, 30337, Ga, Georgia
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is the world’s busiest airport by passenger traffic — over 100 million people pass through per year. Located 7 miles (11 km) from downtown Atlanta, (ATL) is one of the South’s two main regional hubs and features 12 major airport car rental providers — from Alamo to Hertz to National — located a short SkyTrain ride from the terminals.
Metro Atlanta is remarkable for its urban sprawl, and it’s almost a requirement to rent a car in order to reach certain destinations. Notorious for traffic congestion, Atlanta’s lack of a practical grid system makes getting around without a map — or preferably, GPS — nearly impossible. Thus, visitors arriving at (ATL) should brace themselves for an interesting navigational experience.
That said, it’s not all gloom and doom. Because Atlanta is not a particularly pedestrian city, there’s plenty of parking available. And if you’re headed out to the suburbs or points beyond, you’ll find driving through Georgia to be a fairly pleasant and straightforward experience.
Choosing your car
Choosing your car is a snap once you’ve established your travel plans. Atlanta Airport car rental agencies offer the usual compliment of vehicles to choose from. Based on the traffic situation in and around the city, intermediate to full-sized models such as the VW Jetta and Chrysler 300 offer the type of comfort that takes the sting out of sitting in gridlock. Larger groups will appreciate the space and comfort of a 7-9 seater Kia Sedona or similar vehicle. SUVs like the Toyota RAV4 are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts headed to the Chattahoochee River for fishing and boating. If you’re planning on a scenic trip through the picturesque Appalachian Foothills Parkway, settle in to a premium Ford Mustang GT convertible.
Tips and advice
To reach the airport car rental center, take the west exit from the terminal and proceed to the escalator up to ATL SkyTrain. It’s roughly a 5-minute trip to the car rental counters.
Drivers must be at least 21 to rent a car from most airport car hire locations. However, renters under 24 may have an underage surcharge added to their total.
Atlanta Airport is also infamous for being under construction. Therefore, renters are advised to allow for an extra 30 minutes travel time when returning your vehicle.
The naming system at (ATL) is somewhat different from other airports. The boarding gates are located in “concourses”, while the “terminals” are entry and exit points found at both ends of the airport, where you’ll find check-in and baggage claim.
Returning you car hire can be a little tricky. Start by taking Interstate 85 and following signs towards the airport and further signs to “rental car return”. Upon reaching the Rental Car Center, circle around the loop, where you’ll see the entrance of your particular car hire agency. After returning the car, board ATL SkyTrain to the Domestic Terminal, or the International Shuttle Connector to the International Terminal.
Gas stations are few and far between near the airport, and those that exist are extremely inconvenient and confusing to reach. So you want make sure your fuel gauge is on FULL before heading back to the airport.