How to Rent a Car at the Atlanta Airport

SDAtlanta › Atlanta Airport Car Rental
Updated: September 13, 2022

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People wait in line at an airport under a sign showing the names of car rental companies

The rental car center at Atlanta International Airport is located a short distance from the arrivals terminal, with easy access via the airport’s Plane Train. I recommend reserving a car in advance at RentalCars.com.

Atlanta Airport Car Rental

My recommendation: The Atlanta airport is large, but renting a car there is easy and convenient. For the best prices reserve a car in advance at the Atlanta airport.

Tip: If you’re looking for large family-sized minivan or if you require an automatic car then book in advance for the most selection.

Rental cars available at Atlanta airport: DollarThiftyAlamoPaylessBudgetEnterpriseNationalSixtAvis

Map of the Atlanta airport, showing the location of rental car facilities, hotels, and terminals

Atlanta’s airport is one of the largest in the world, yet it is easy to navigate from your gate to the rental car center. The Domestic Terminals North and South are on the west end of the airport. Delta flights leave from the South Terminal; all other domestic flights leave from the North Terminal. Domestic flights leave from Concourses A to E and T. The International Terminal is at the far east end with flights using concourse F.

The Rental Car Center is located west of the airport on the other side of I-85, along with the Georgia International Convention Center, the Gateway Center Arena (home of the Atlanta’s WNBA team and the G League), and the four hotels of the Gateway Center Campus, all Marriott properties: Marriott Atlanta Airport Gateway, AC Hotel Atlanta Airport Gateway, Renaissance Atlanta Airport Gateway, SpringHill Suites Atlanta Airport Gateway.

Getting to the Rental Car Center at Atlanta Airport

Travelers walk by display screens in a busy airport corridor

All three terminals and all seven concourses are connected by the Plane Train. At the end of the line, you’ll need to switch to the Sky Train to get to the Rental Car Center, Convention Center, Gateway Arena, and the Gateway Center hotels. From domestic gates, follow signs for Baggage Claim and Ground Transportation to reach the Plane Train.

Sign directing airport travelers to US Customs and Border Protection

International arrivals will retrieve their bags first then go through customs before proceeding to the Plane Train. Make a left when you exit customs to get to the train. (Sorry, no photos allowed inside the customs area.)

Airport escalators leading down to baggage claim and ground transportation

The Plane Train runs through an underground tunnel. From any concourse or terminal (Concourse A is shown here), signs will lead downstairs via escalator or elevator (usually located adjacent to the escalator). Continue following signs toward Domestic Baggage Claim and Ground Transportation.

Travelers waiting for the arrival of an in-airport train

Wait here for the Plane Train. The electronic map above shows the current station (in this case, Concourse T) in yellow with upcoming stops listed in consecutive order in blue. This train begins in the domestic terminal at Concourse T then goes through all other domestic concourses (A through E) and ends at the international terminal at Concourse F and International Baggage Claim).

Airport travelers waiting for a train, under a lit sign

Another example of the Plane Train map, this one heading from Concourse A to Concourse T and Domestic Baggage Claim. The displays offer important information in eight languages: English and Arabic (seen here), plus Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, German, and Chinese. Wait time for the next train is shown at the top middle of the screen.

Baggage Claim Icon.

Close up of the symbols used for Baggage Claim (a suitcase) and Ground Transportation (a bus and a taxi). These symbols are shown on signs throughout the airport, not just on the train maps.

Plain Train doors open.

When the Plane Train arrives, the doors slide open automatically for access. The train is level with the floor with only a slight gap between the platform and train, allowing easy wheelchair or stroller entry. Priority seating (the only seats on the train) is available at the front and rear of the train.

The Plane Train map route inside the train car..

Onboard the Plane Train. The map is a little different here. The current station (where you are boarding from) is marked by letters in red above, and the upcoming station is shown in yellow.

Passengers riding the Plane Train at Atlanta airport

Inside the Plane Train. No matter where you board, maps are clearly visible. Most of the train is designed for standing only with handrails and ceiling traps for stabilization. Do hold on; it starts and stops abruptly and moves fast.

Passengers taking the escalators to the domestic baggage claim area.

Ride the Plane Train to the last stop at Domestic Baggage Claim and Ground Transportation. There are escalators leading up and usually an elevator in service adjacent to the escalator. In this instance, the elevator is closed for maintenance. The next closest elevator is at the Concourse T stop.

People waiting at the Atlanta airport baggage claim.

Domestic Baggage Claim is busy and sometimes chaotic. This is a scene from the South Terminal, exclusively used by Delta flights. Passengers should refer to the large blue screen to locate the correct carousel for their flight. Luggage carts are available to rent here and can be returned after you reach your rental car.

Atlanta airport luggage carts.

Closer look at the luggage carts, available to rent for $9.00 and payable by cash or card.

Airport signs to transportation.

After claiming their bags, passengers should look for these clearly-marked signs pointing the way to a variety of transportation options. The red line at the top indicates Domestic Terminal South, where you’ll find baggage for all Delta flights as well as some shuttle services. The blue line indicates Domestic Terminal North, where passengers will find their luggage from all other airlines, along with the most common transportation options: taxis, rideshares, public transit to the city (MARTA), as well as the Sky Train to the Rental Car Center.

SkyTrain sign with arrow.

Follow the electronic displays to reach the Sky Train

Sign to Rental Cars and also Sky Train.

Or follow the signs for Rental Cars, which will also lead to the Sky Train.

The W1 exit to the Sky Train.

Continue following until you reach the building exit marked W1 on the sliding glass doors.

Blue cross walk to the Sky Train

Cross at the blue crosswalk to reach the Sky Train. (This area is also where to find taxis, hotel shuttles, and local/regional shuttle service.)

Outside the Sky Train station.

Outside the Sky Train station. All hotels and rental car companies served by the Sky Train are prominently displayed on the external wall. Riding the Sky Train is free of charge.

List of rental car agencies.

Plaques of each car rental agency in the Rental Car Center.

Escalator to the station.

Enter the train station and take the escalator up to reach the Sky Train platform.

Elevators to the Sky Train station.

Elevators are also available just behind the escalator.

The Sky Train platform.

The Sky Train platform. The train looks a lot like the Plane Train with automatic, sliding doors and level floors for easy wheelchair and stroller access.

Passengers riding the train with a digital display map.

Onboard the Sky Train is designed mostly for standing with handrails and grab bars. Dedicated wheelchair space is indicated on the left wall next to a horizontally placed bar. The digital display indicating stops on the route is not as advanced as on the Plane Train.

Blue priority seating bench and sign.

Priority seating is in blue, marked by a sign, and offers grab bars on either side of the benches.

Sky Train route map inside the train.

Route map for the Sky Train showing three stops: the Airport Domestic Terminal, the GICC Station (for the Georgia International Convention Center, Gateway Center Arena, and Gateway Center Hotels), and finally the Rental Car Center.

Escalators down to the Rental Car Center.

The Sky Train arrives at the fourth floor of the Rental Car Center, as indicated on the sign seen here on the center right. A series of escalators leads down the the rental car counters. Each set of escalators serves a different set of rental companies as marked on the signs above.

Renal Car Center sign listing agencies and floor number.

A closer look at the sign, listing the Sky Train stops (Level 4), locations of each car rental counter (Levels 2 and 3), and where you’ll find shuttles to car rental companies off site, the shuttle to the International Terminal, and the smoking area (Level 1)

Elevators to the Rental Car Station.

Two pairs of elevators are on the opposite ends of each floor of the Rental Car Center.

Picking Up a Car at the Rental Car Center

Detailed map of the Rental Car Center floor levels.

There is a detailed map of the Rental Car Center on the fourth floor, along with a map of the Sky Train’s route. All rental car counters are found on the second and third floors, and rental car pickups are usuallly in the corresponding garages on the second and third floors. Restrooms are located on both ends of the second and third floors. The first floor (ground level) is where you will find shuttle service to the International Terminal and off-site car rental companies.

Rental car agency counters.

Heading down from the Sky Train station, floor three of the Rental Car Center has counters for Avis, Hertz, and Sixt (Sixt has their counter on the third floor, but pickups are on the first). The Sixt counter is the leftmost counter on the third floor.

The Hertz counter.

The Hertz counter is in the center.

Avis' counter

And Avis’ counter is the farthest to the right. Car pickup for Avis is down this hallway to the left. Elevators and another set of escalators is at that end, too.

Hertz car pickup area

Exactly the same, but on the opposite side of the room (past the Sixt counter) is the Hertz car pickup area.

Sign with arrow to the Car Pickup

After checking in at the counter, follow the signs for Car Pickup.

Skybridge to the garage.

All rental car pickups will occur in the garage across the street from the Rental Car Center, accessible via a skybridge.

Avis garage counter and display screen with location of cars.

The Avis portion of the third-floor garage has a large customer service counter with a screen displaying the renters’ names and the parking space number, making it easy to find your vehicle. Most rentals don’t require a stop by here; you can just go straight to your car.

SUVs and sedans parked and awaiting pickup.


A sampling of cars from the Avis fleet with a variety of SUVs and sedans awaiting pickup.

Hertz customer service counter in the garage.

On the opposite side of the third-floor garage is the Hertz customer service counter, not quite as high tech as the Avis counter. Again, most people won’t need to visit this counter.

Hertz child seats locker.

A variety of child seats on offer at Hertz, suitable for infants and older. All rental car companies have child seats, but not all have the same variety available.

Passenage van parked in the Hertz section of the garage.

A full-sized passenger van in the Hertz parking lot, along with a range of SUVs.

Alamo and National counters at the Car Rental Center

Heading downstairs, most of the car rental counters are on the second floor. Alamo is the farthest left, next to National, Advantage, Payless, Ace, Airport, Enterprise, Budget, Dollar, and Thrifty on the far right.

Sign showing what rental car agencies are on the second floor of the Rental Car Center.

View of the second floor of the Rental Car Center from the righthand side at the Dollar/Thrifty counter. A slightly outdated sign above indicates the counters on this level and a second sign in the middle of the room points the way up to the third-floor counters. Two sets of escalators and two sets of elevators serve this floor. The skybridges to the garages are on the opposite ends of the room.

Outside the National's customer service counter in the second-floor garage.

National’s customer service counter in the second-floor garage. A directory including other car rental agencies is on the wall, seen here on the left.

Parked upgraded cars in the National section of the garage.

A selection of upgraded sedans, SUVs, and sportscars in National’s garage space.

Budget customer service counter in the garage.

Budget is also on the second-floor garage, with their customer service counter shown here along with a convertible Mustang.

Cars and SUV's parked in the Budget section of the garage.

SUVs, sedans, and sporty coupe in the Budget garage on the second floor of the Rental Car Center.

Enterprise and Alamo share a customer service kiosk in the garage.

Enterprise and Alamo share a customer service kiosk on the second floor. Enterprise has an excellent selection of luxury vehicles.

Pickup trucks parked in the garage.

A wide selection of pickup trucks…

SUVs parked in the garage.

Along with SUVs and minivans here.

Full sized vans parked in the Budget section of the garage.

Full-sized vans in the Budget lot.

Ace and Airport Rent A Car kiosk in the garage.

Ace and Airport Rent A Car share a kiosk on the second floor. A minivan and a few SUVs of theirs are seen here.

Advantage Kiosk in the garage.

Advantage also has a presence here.

Kia SUVs and sedans parked in the garage.

These three companies offer affordable rentals in great condition. These Kia SUVs and sedans are in the Advantage lot.

Sign with arrow pointing to Dollar and Thrifty.

As for Dollar and Thrifty, pickup is also on the second floor, opposite of Alamo and Enterprise…

Two cars parked in the garage.

But, since the companies are owned by Hertz, you’ll find them under the yellow Hertz-brand signs. It can be a little confusing to locate your car, so don’t hesitate to ask an attendant in the garage.

Open car seat shed with one car seat out.

More car seats in the second-floor garage.

Car seat sitting on the floor of the garage.

A closer look at one of the child seats.

Escalator down to parked cars in the Sixt parking area.

Head down to the first floor (ground floor) to pick up rental cars from Sixt. Here in the background, you can also see some yellow signs, indicating the rental return area for Hertz (more on returns shortly).

Cars parked in the garage.

A sample of rentals available from Sixt: a convertible sports car, minivan, SUV, truck, sedan, and more.

Returning a Car to the Rental Car Center

Highway sign showing the lane to the Rental Car Center.

From the highway, follow signs for the Rental Car Center. (Don’t worry; I had a passenger take this photo).

Overhead road signs with arrows pointing to the Enterprise, Alamo, and National return lane and the return loop lane.

Once at the Rental Car Center, find the rental car drop off area for the company you rented from. If you miss your turn, just follow the Return Loop signs to come back around.

Overhead sign in the garage with arrows pointing to "return" and "mobility impaired returns"

Turn into the designated garage and follow signs for Return. This area will be narrow, so drive slowly and carefully. Drivers with mobility impairments should follow the symbol above for parking spots that are closer to the Sky Train to return to the airport.

Lanes of arrows on the garage floor pointing to the return area.

The rental area will widen out toward the end. Just follow the overhead signs and the arrows on the ground.

Parked cars in the return lanes.

Some rental car returns aren’t marked as well, so just follow the arrows on the ground and stay within the single-line lanes.

People with suitcases walking in the garage toward an escalator.

Standard rental car returns park near the escalator and stairs leading up to the Sky Train station. Persons with disabilities should follow the signs with the wheelchair symbol for parking closer to the elevator. Head back up to the fourth floor to take the Sky Train back to the airport or Gateway Center hotels.

Sign with an arrow pointing down to a black box, stating, "After hours drop box here."

Most airport rental companies ask that you leave the keys in the car upon return. But if you forget or if it’s after-hours and the customer service kiosks are closed, just leave them in the appropriate drop box.

Outdoor waiting area with a sign that reads, "Off-Airport Rental Cars Shuttle."

If you rented a car off-site, the rental car shuttle will drop you off outside the first floor of the Rental Car Center. Head inside and up to the fourth floor to catch the Sky Train to the airport.

Outdoor waiting area with a sign that states, "ATL International Shuttle" and a parked blue Connector bus.

For international travelers, it may be faster to take the free shuttle seen here to get directly to the International Terminal, rather than taking the Sky Train plus the Plane Train. The international shuttle picks up and drops off on the first floor of the Rental Car Center.

More Transportation Options at the Atlanta Airport

Inside the airport, a sign lists transportation options with a red "Rideshare" section with an arrow pointing to the right.

There is no shortage of transportation options from the Atlanta airport into the city and beyond. From the Domestic and International Baggage Claim areas, look for signs overhead leading the way to various ground transportation types.

An outdoor waiting area with a railing and red crosswalk zone to a blue Connector bus.

In some cases (to reach the MARTA trains or Greyhound buses, for example), international travelers will first need to take the Plane Train or International Shuttle to the Domestic Baggage Claim area. The International Shuttle is blue, and stops at the International Terminal, Rental Car Center, and the Domestic Terminal near the W2 gate and Baggage Claim area.

Trains

A sign inside the ariport with an arrow pointing north to "Marta, Train to City" and "Sky Train."

The train into Atlanta is run by MARTA. Follow the signs to reach the train station inside the domestic airport terminal. The MARTA station is at the west side of the domestic terminal (near the exit for the Sky Train). Trains run regularly every day of the year.

Inside the airport a sign sits for "Marta Train Station" sits above sliding glass doors.

The Airport Station is the southernmost stop of both the Red and Gold Lines, which run north from the airport through College Park, East Point, West End, Five Points, Peachtree Center, Civic Center, North Avenue, Midtown, and the Arts Center and more before splitting off toward Buckhead and North Springs (Red) and Lenox and Doraville (Gold). Change at the Five Points Station to catch the Blue or Green Lines to West Lake, GWCC/CNN Center, Georgia State, King Memorial, Inman Park, Edgewood, Decatur, Avondale, and more. See the official site for more detailed rail information.

MARTA Train Station with ticket kiosks on the right and the entrance on the left.

Everything you’ll need to ride the train is in the main rooms as soon as you pass through the doors. Buy tickets at the self-serve kiosks on the right; the gates to the trains are on the left. The customer service desks are straight back past the gates as is a large route map.

Two men buy a ticket for the MARTA train at a kiosk.

Several self-service kiosks are available for purchasing one-way, round-trips, or multi-day passes. Small route maps and an overview of fares are at the top of each kiosk. Standard adult tickets cost $2.50 and are valid for three hours and up to four transfers. Up to two children up to 46 inches tall ride free with a paying adult. Seniors, persons with disabilities, and Medicaid recipients qualify for a reduced fare of $1.00. More info on fares, tickets, and passes can be found on MARTA’s website.

MARTA entrance gates with ticket scanners to the platform.

Scan the ticket pass through the gates to the train platforms. All gates are wheelchair and stroller accessible. On the other side, there are elevators up to the trains where the gray cylinder is and stairs leading up on the right behind the customer service desk.

Taxis

Inside the aiport a sign with an arrow pointing to the north states, "Local/Regional" and "Taxis" hangs from the ceiling.

From the Domestic Baggage Claim area, follow overhead signs for Taxis.

Inside the airport a set of doors have W2 painted on them .

This should lead to the W2 exit. Continue out the doors and turn right.

Rapid Taxi car driver getting out and of the front seat of the car.

Taxis will be lined up on the curb in numbered stalls. In this picture, you can also see the local and regional shuttles on the opposite curb and hotel shuttles across the street.

Outdoor taxi sign listing fares next to the taxi line up.

Flat fares are listed according to predetermined zones. Rates are listed for single riders; add $2 for each additional passenger, plus a $1.50 fee per vehicle for airport pickups. Additional info on non-flat fare rates is detailed on the sign.

International passengers waiting inside the airport for their luggage.

International arrivals will proceed from baggage claim directly out the doors seen here on the left to reach the taxis.

Taxi line up outside the airport.

Taxis will be lined up along the curb as soon as you exit.

Taxi flat rate sign outside the airport.

Flat fare and additional rates are the same at the International Terminal as they are at the Domestic Terminal.

Local, Regional, and Hotel Shuttles

Inside the airport a sign hangs from the ceiling with arrows pointing to Shuttles.

From Domestic Baggage Claim, follow signs for Hotel, Local, and Regional Shuttles.

Outside the airport, an overhead sign points north to the shuttles as people walk over the red crosswalk.

Signs will lead outside in the same direction as the taxi pickup space. Cross at the red crosswalk.

Outside the airport, people wait in numbered stalls for shuttles.

Local and regional shuttles pick up from numbered stalls on the opposite curb of the taxis.

Two men walk across the red crosswalk to the hotel shuttle area.

Continue across a second red crosswalk to reach the hotel shuttles. You’ll pass the international shuttle stop along the way. The Sky Train Station is this direction, too.

Several hotel shuttles are stopped in a tight inlet to pick up passengers.

Hotel shuttles pick up along the inside curb in numbered stalls, always with the hotel logo on the shuttle.

International passengers wait for their luggage at baggage claim.

From International Baggage Claim, follow signs for Passenger Pick-Up, seen here on the left, and head outside.

Passengers waiting outside along a curb for shuttles.

Shuttles pick up on the curb to the right. Park and Ride Shuttles pick up at the orange signs, local shuttles (including those to the Rental Car Center) pick up under the red signs, and hotel shuttles (and ride shares) are at the far end at the green signs.

Rideshare (Uber/Lyft)

Signs hanging from the ceiling have arrows pointing to the right stating, "Rideshare" this way.

For Uber and Lyft, follow the bright orange and pink signs from Domestic Baggage Claim.

A man rides an Escalator down with a Rideshare sign to the right of the opening.

Head downstairs via escalator or elevator (on the opposite side).

Passengers, following a Rideshare sign, walk toward doors leading outside.

Once downstairs, continue down the hallway to the outside.

Following a Rideshare sign, passengers walk toward a blue crosswalk leading to a parking garage.

Keep going across the blue crosswalk straight into the parking garage.

A red Rideshare sign is painted on the parking garage wall with an arrow pointing left.

Continue straight for a few meters, then hang a left through the garage.

A woman pulling a suitcase walks toward a Rideshare area.

Exit the garage and cross the street to the covered Rideshare waiting area. The Rideshare area has eight pickup zones.

A man and woman wait in the Rideshare lot.

Meet your driver at the assigned pickup area. Note that there are often drivers not affiliated with any taxi or rideshare agency offering cheap rides with no wait time. Though the rates are usually low, these drivers are not vetted or background checked, and you will have no easy recourse (aside from the police) if something were to go wrong. Politely decline and wait for your Uber or Lyft driver.

Two cars are stopped at Zone 3 of the Rideshare pick up area.

The driver will pull up to the curb at the assigned zone. Be sure the verify that the license plate on the driver’s car matches with the plate Uber or Lyft sends to you.

International passengers wait for their luggage..

From International Baggage Claim, getting a rideshare is a much faster process. Proceed out the exits, just like you’re meeting a taxi or shuttle.

Orange, red, and green signs line a road. The green Uber/Lyft area at the far end.

The Uber/Lyft pickup area is past the taxis and shuttles in the area marked with the green signs. Again, be sure to verify that the vehicle’s plate number matches the one shared to you by the app.

Greyhound Bus

A sign inside the airport points left toward Greyhound.

From the Domestic Terminal, follow signs for the Greyhound bus stop downstairs. It will be in the same direction as the Rideshares. International arrivals will need to make their way to the Domestic Terminal via the International Shuttle or the Plane Train first, then follow signs for the Greyhound.

An escalator down to baggage claim leads to a sign directing people outside to Greyhound.

Go down the same escalator or elevator as the Rideshare passengers and continue through the hallway to the outside.

People are waiting to walk the blue crosswalk to the Greyhound airport station.

The Greyhound bus stop is immediately outside the door before you cross the blue crosswalk.

There is a big overhead sign outside the Greyhound station.

Greyhound buses operate daily from the Atlanta Airport Station from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. The office here is not always open during those hours, but be assured that even if the office is closed the bus is still running. For info and tickets see Greyhound’s official website

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