Hartsfield-Jackson strives to keep airport clean

By Justin Boron

Waiting, stranded, or rushing to a plane, some travelers recently said one of the most important things to them at the airport is cleanliness.

"Since I've got to be here so long, I don't want to wait in a dirty place," said Sommer Miller, 27, of Atlanta while waiting to get through the security checks.

"You've got people coming in from all over the world," she said.

At a recent ceremony at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Ben DeCosta, it's manager, said the airport had a long way to go to catch up with other airports overseas in Asia.

Hong Kong was recently awarded best airport in the world by Airlines International Magazine.

DeCosta said the Atlanta airport isn't alone in its need for improvement. By in large, he said most airports in the U.S. pale into comparison with the airports he recently visited in Asia.

U.S. Army Sgt. Keith Shorter from Columbus, Ga., who has been to the airport in Seoul, Korea, said he was impressed with it.

But he said there was nothing like the one with which he is most familiar.

"I just like this airport for some reason.

"This has been the best one inside," he said. "I've seen some nasty ones."

Charisma Cannon, the assistant manager for the public relations at the airport, said the airport is currently working toward improving its appearance.

"(DeCosta) is trying to get employees to take a more active role in the environment of the airport," she said. "No one wants to be stranded or pass through a filthy airport."

Cannon said if employees see a problem with cleanliness they should report it to the airport's maintenance division.

She also said the airports in Asia also are fairly new and improvements within the terminal would contribute to a cleaner airport.

One of the most sought after things at the airport, some travelers say, is a clean restroom.

Fred Maddox, 53, of Decatur said there is always room for improvement in how restrooms are sanitized.

"That's where a lot of germs settle," he said.

Daniel Giorgion, 35, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., said the area around the people mover could use some improvement.

"There's a lot of traffic there. I know it's hard to maintain," he said.