At Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the domestic and international terminals are connected by the Plane Train within the airport's secured area. The few times that I've had international flights out of Atlanta, I've noticed that the wait in the security line tends to be much shorter than the wait in the domestic terminal, which can often be quite long.

So what I've thought about doing is going through security in the international terminal and then taking the Plane Train to my gate. I suppose this may not actually save me any time due to the longer distance from security to my gate, but I'm sure any traveler can understand why I'd rather spend my time riding the tram than waiting in the security line.

Is this something that I can do? Will I be allowed through security at the international terminal without a boarding pass for an international flight? If so, will I need to have the same kind of documentation I'd need for international travel (e.g. a passport) or would the standard U.S.-issued driver's license suffice like it would at the domestic terminal?

Edit for 2019

Due to ongoing construction, there is currently significantly increased traffic at both the north and south domestic terminals. The work is intended to continue for some time. This makes checking in at the international terminal an even more desirable option if allowed.

  • I've never done this at Atlanta, but I do it in San Francisco semi-often and it's no problem at security (TSA doesn't care what you present as long as it's an accepted form of ID). But it could well be a problem at check-in if you need to visit the counter to get a boarding pass or especially to check bags. And if they won't do it, you're on the opposite side of the airport from where you need to be (there is a shuttle bus outside, but I'm not sure how often it runs). It should work though if you have a carry-on and checked in online, but I've never tried it in Atlanta. – Zach Lipton Oct 29 '18 at 20:07
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    I have done this, one time when there was construction at the domestic terminal making the lines even longer than usual. The main problem is with checking bags - if you have checked luggage, you need to be on an airline that has check-in counters at both the domestic and international terminals. I believe Delta is the only such airline. – Michael Lugo Jun 10 at 15:50

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