May 4, 2021
COVID-19 and travel at SEA Airport
Even during the pandemic, construction of the new International Arrivals Facility has continued. This facility is needed to accommodate the region’s growing demand for travel, and will significantly improve the arrivals process for international passengers and give a better first impression of the airport and our region. When the facility opens in 2021, international passengers will find shorter waits, more gates for international aircraft, faster connections between flights, and a more awesome experience.
Here's what arriving passengers have in store:
Here's what you can look forward to in the Grand Hall:
Here, passengers will retrieve their bags before going through Customs, the first major U.S. airport to use the Bags First process. They’ll find additional room to spread out with more and larger bag claim carousels than the current 1970’s era Customs facility — increasing from four to seven bag claims and in length from 668 linear feet to 1,806 linear feet total. This will eliminate "bag tippers" where staff had to stack bags on their side to fit multiple arrivals in the old facility. This is all part of the streamlined experience of the Grand Hall, allowing passengers to connect with their bags more quickly and efficiently.
Bonus fact: Beneath the facility, international inbound bags will move through a separate baggage system from domestic bags. The result: International arriving passengers will reunite with their bags sooner and be on their way before they know it.
The Grand Hall (450,000 square feet) eclipses the existing 70s-era Customs Facility (80,000 square feet). More space for baggage claim and passport control means you'll spend less time in line when you're tired from your flight. And a bigger facility with better technology will speed you through passport control; the new facility can serve 2,600 passengers per hour, twice as fast as the existing facility. Connection times drop from 90 to 75 minutes to get you where you're going faster.
When designing the roof, SOM architects envisioned the wings of an aircraft tilting to come in for a landing. The curved roof brings in natural light and maximum views and guides your experience through the building. High rooflines provide dramatic transitions between the world and the Great Hall:
The double curve of the roofline means that no two pieces of steel in the facility are cut to the same length. The longest piece is 157 feet.
The color choices, architectural elements, and artwork will welcome travelers to the natural beauty of our region:
Even the artwork evokes the natural beauty we're known for through colors, shapes, and movement:
To fulfill the Port's mission of environmental stewardship and sustainability, this facility was constructed with important green building elements:
May 4, 2021
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