What Did Atlanta Airport’s Hundred Millionth Passenger Get?

Filed Under: Travel

The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (as they request to be referred to) is the world’s busiest, and broke a pretty incredible record this week. Atlanta Airport is the first airport to pass a hundred million passengers in a single calendar year. As you’d expect, they’re having a pretty big celebration to commemorate this milestone, including throwing a huge party for their hundred millionth passenger.

However, as noted by View from the Wing, the process by which they’re selecting the hundred millionth passenger is arbitrary at best:

As there is no single entryway to count passengers entering into the terminals on a one by one basis, the accounting firm will help the airport pinpoint to the record day when the 100 million threshold is crossed. According to the airport spokesperson Reese McCranie, a passenger will be randomly chosen from that day and be given a prize to be determined to celebrate the occasion.

Well, this past Sunday the airport finally had its hundred millionth passenger of 2015, which also happened to be one of the busiest travel days of the year. The randomly selected passenger, Larry Kendrick, was traveling from Gulfport to Chicago via Atlanta, and was caught off guard by being the “lucky” passenger.

The passenger was greeted by Atlanta’s mayor and given quite a prize, including a Nissan Altima, two roundtrip tickets to anywhere in the world in Delta business class, a $500 gift card, and wireless headphones. While I don’t want to think of the tax obligations, that’s quite a prize!

Here’s a local NBC news story about the milestone:


I do wonder how they “randomly” chose this guy, and if he really had no clue he was going to win as he exited the plane. That’s quite a welcome committee to get upon arrival!

It still blows my mind that the airport is the world’s largest, given that it’s built largely on connecting traffic and isn’t even geographically that convenient.

Regardless, congrats to Atlanta Airport on this very impressive milestone.

  1. If I recall, they used some agency to approximate *when* the 100,000,000th person would arrive. Then they chose a (Delta) flight that would deplane during the time when that passenger would mathematically arrive. Then they just counted.

    And yes, he missed his connecting flight due to the festivities.

  2. yes he missed his connecting flight and due to having no status, he was asked to pay for a new ticket. Just kidding. I have no idea. Congrat to the person. that said, in the 90s I worked for a very large telecom firm that offered a celebration and gift to their n-th number of customer.. the customer was selected weeks in advance….

  3. Love the veiled snark 🙂
    “The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (as they request to be referred to)”
    So how do you refer to the airport in the rest of your post? Atlanta Airport, of course!

    “What Did Atlanta Airport’s Hundred Millionth Passenger Get?”
    “Atlanta Airport is the first airport to pass a hundred million passengers in a single calendar year.”
    “Regardless, congrats to Atlanta Airport on this very impressive milestone.”

    LOL touche. What a waste of funds.

  4. It *has* to be arbitrary, since there’s a bunch of people flowing in and out at every possible moment.

    The gifts though… damn.

    Regarding him missing his flight: pretty sure Atlanta has more than 1x ATL-ORD per day, so I’m sure they were able to rebook him. Or, he could drive his new car up there…

  5. @Geoff: “largest” has several different metrics: passengers, flight operations, airport land size, terminal size, number of runways, largest terminal, international vs. domestic etc. ATL definitely is the busiest in terms of passengers, primarily due to domestic connecting traffic, but is no longer the busiest in terms of flight operations; now that ORD has expanded, it has retaken that crown. (And, of course, DEN is by far the largest airport in the US by land area, but its overall allocated land is small compared to DMM(!).)

  6. Thanks for flying. Here’s a new car. Errrrr……guess they are saying they don’t appreciate having that many people in their space in a calendar year?

  7. I do get fed up of airports saying they are the biggest, baddest best yet, every airport claims some title and it is a little annoying. I cannot believe Atlanta has had 100 million people in a year, not disputing the fact but that is just crazy. I don’t think I would like to transit through Atlanta right now.

  8. @Paul Rowland From personal experience, I’d rather transit through ATL with 100m passengers a year than depart from TMS with 20k passengers a year. Unless of course, the latter is the price to pay for another vacation in Sao Tome 😉

  9. In terms of total passengers, Atlanta is the champion.
    In terms of international passengers, Dubai is the winner. JFK is the winner in USA.
    In terms of cargo, HK is ranked 1st . Memphis used to be the champion but dropped into 1st runner up in 2010.
    In terms of airport size, King Fahd International Airport is on the top of the list, although most of the area within the airport property is unused. In USA, the largest size airport is Denver, followed by Dallas/Fort Worth.

  10. @Jon
    If you ever travel through there, hop on Facebook and “check-in”. You’ll have several options but this is by far the most popular: Atlanta Latoya Jackson Intergalactic Spaceport and Nail Salon

  11. And, to think of all the hours I’ve spent in Atlanta as an Atlanta hub captive, the one day I’m not flying to or from Atlanta is the day they choose their special passenger. I never win anything . . .

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