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Celebrate SEA with Birthday Trivia!

July 9, 2021

By Jamie Carter and Darlesa Cahoon 

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) officially opened on July 9th, 1949 in front of a crowd of around 30,000. In its first full year of operation, more than half a million passengers and 6,234 tons of air freight passed through its gates. 

To put this birthday in perspective, in 1949:

  • a new car cost $1,650
  • gas was 26 cents a gallon
  • and bread was 14 cents per loaf
  • The Billboard top hit was “Some Enchanted Evening” by Perry Como
  • Legos, Junior Mints, the Lone Ranger, and the 45 RPM record were introduced

All that and people started flying in and out of SEA.   

Historical image of SEA airport

Just a few things have changed since 1949! Turning 72 is a perfect occasion to celebrate, reflect, and maybe learn a few things about SEA. Our team developed a trivia game honoring the airport’s history. Play along to test your airport knowledge and celebrate with us! Answers are at the bottom.  

1. In 2019 SEA was ranked ______ on the list of busiest airports in the U.S. based on total passengers. 

a. 1st 

b. 6th 

c. 8th 

d. 11th 

2. Which airport has the smallest footprint by acres? 

a. LAX 

b. ATL 

c. DEN 

d. SEA 

3. How many parking spaces are in the SEA airport parking garage? 

a. 11,000 

b. 13,500 

c. 20,000 

4. The SEA parking garage has more parking spaces than Disney World in Florida.  

a. True 

b. False 

5. How much luggage can one screening machine process per hour? 

a. 300 bags per hour 

b. 700 bags per hour 

c. 1,100 bags per hour 

6. What was the creature found during construction at SEA during preparation for the 1962 World’s Fair? 

a. Woolly Mammoth 

b. Saber-toothed tiger 

c. Sloth 

d. Dinosaur  

7. The airport has three locations on the airfield that are home to ___________. 

a. Honey bees 

b. Barn owls 

c. Starlings 

d. Earthworms  

8. Which famous professional boxer composed a poem for a Port of Seattle employee during a visit through SEA in 1972? 

a. Joe Louis 

b. Mike Tyson 

c. Sugar Ray Robinson 

d. Muhammad Ali 

9. South King County was not the first location choice for SEA. What was the preferred location?  

a. Boeing Field 

b. Lynnwood  

c. Redmond  

d. Tacoma  

10. What year did D.B. Cooper disappear on a flight between SEA and PDX?  

a. 1965 

b. 1971 

c. 1973 

d. 1977 

11. Where did Dave Grohl film his HBO special in 2014? 

a. Dilettante Mocha Café 

b. Floret by Café Flora 

c. Made in Washington 

d. Sub Pop 

12. What is the official color of SEA Airport? 

a. Green 

b. Blue 

c. Purple 

d. Brown 

13. Which SEA gate was featured with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in the movie “Sleepless in Seattle?” 

a. S3 

b. N7 

c. C8 

d. D1 

Gate N7 in Sleepingless in Seattle

14. Which is the longest of SEA’s three runways? 

a. 16L/34R 

b. 16C/34C 

c. 16R/34L 

15. How many days each year is SEA closed? 

a. 0 

b. 1 

c. 5 

d. 8 

16. How many people work at SEA? 

a. Under 5,000 

b. 5,000-10,000 

c. 10,000-20,000 

d. Over 20,000 

17. The roof of the new International Arrivals Facility opening later this year resembles what? 

a. A cruise ship 

b. Mt. Rainier 

c. An airplane landing 

d. A waterway  

Happy 72nd birthday, SEA!




Q1: c. 8th busiest 

Q2: d. SEA 

Q3: b. 13,500 

Q4: a. True 

Q5: b. 700 bags 

Q6: c. Sloth 

Q7: a. Honey bees 

Q8: d. Muhammad Ali 

Q9: c. Redmond 

Q10: b. 1971 

Q11: d. Sub Pop 

Q12: a. Green 

Q13: b. Gate N7 

Q14: a. 16L/34R 

Q15: a. 0 days  

Q16: d. Over 20,000 people 

Q17: d. A waterway  

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