Best of the Best: You can get there from here
At times, booking a flight is easier than planning travel to and from the airport. We tend to lean on family and friends to deposit and retrieve us from the terminal regardless of better options. Having exercised available alternatives, to and from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, I’ll share what works well given time of day, traffic conditions, length of trip and cost.
If plans include being chauffeured by family or friends, be considerate; check with the driver before confirming your flight reservation. Schedule leaving Madison by 5:30 a.m., between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. or any time after 6 p.m.; this allows an hour-and-a-half travel to the airport and one hour to return. Using these time frames ensures keeping the chauffeur out of rush-hour and leaves a little wiggle room for unforeseen traffic hold-ups. I suggest checking Atlanta traffic reports to determine the best airport route to take, on any given day, at any given time; select your route, I-20 to 285 or I-20 to I-85 South, depending on accidents and construction.
Driving yourself and parking is a viable option for trips up to five days. The airport location, on campus, Park-Ride lot offers free shuttle service to the terminal for $9 a day. The shuttle is especially nice because it picks you up and drops you off at your car- no hauling luggage through the parking lot. The website listed below has a map of airport parking areas to get you there easily. Allow 45 minutes extra to park and ride the shuttle. For safety and convenience, I recommend this option over non-airport affiliated, off-campus, park-and-ride lots.
Yes Virginia, there is an airport shuttle from Madison: EZ Ride Augusta/Groome Transportation airport shuttle. The service offers 15 trips daily between Augusta and Hartsfield with stops in Madison, at the Pilot Travel Center, 1881 Eatonton Road, to pick up and drop off travelers. The shuttle drops you at your designated airline and retrieves you at ground transportation upon your return. At a cost of $45 one-way or $90 round-trip, it’s a bargain when considering fuel prices and parking costs for longer trips. You’ll need to do the math to determine if it’s cost-effective for specific trips. Reservations are required (note website and phone numbers listed below) for this convenient pre-pay service; confirm you are a Madison rider when making the reservation. The van may be marked EZ Ride, Groome or both; Augusta is clearly marked on all vans.
One final note: Always allow extra time for traffic, construction, parking and shuttle when planning airport transportation. Don’t forget that once you arrive at the terminal there’s security, the train to your concourse, walking to the gate, stopping for a break, perusal of current news-stand magazines and boarding 30 minutes prior to take-off conspiring to consume your time. You don’t want to be that person running down a quarter-mile concourse, dragging travel essentials behind you, only to be left holding your bag. With a generous dose of extra time, you can easily get there from here.
Best of the Best
Local Resources: Pilot Travel Center, 1881 Eatonton Road, Madison
App: Georgia Traffic Advisor available on iTunes
Georgia Navigator for real-time travel information or call 511 from any phone 24 hours a day, www.511ga.org/traffic
Hartsfield- Jackson International Airport parking information: “Overview, Parking Lot Current Status, Parking Rates, Parking Rates" > "Domestic Terminal, Parking Rates" > "International Terminal, Airport Parking Categories, Airport Parking Services, Parking News & Updates, Parking with Disabilities, Parking Map & Directions, Parking Customer Service Survey, and New Cell Phone Lot,” www.atlanta-airport.com/parking
Groome Transportation (airport shuttle service from Madison to Hartsfield), www.groometransportation.com, 706-860-4900 or 888-441-7867
Printed in the September 6. 2012 edition.