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Airport Travel is Different, Know What You Can Do to Prepare

COVID-19 and travel at SEA Airport More Information

Be ready with FlyHealthy@SEA virtual tour video, SEA App, and these travel tips
June 25, 2020

The number of passengers are going up at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) especially heading into the July 4th holiday weekend. For many travelers, this will be your first trip through the airport after several months. Here are reminders of the changes you will see and how to prepare with the FlyHealthy@SEA program this summer.

FlyHealth@SEA — Ready for You

Take a video tour to preview airport changes.

  • Passengers, visitors, and workers are required to wear face coverings in the public areas of SEA
  • Signage for reminders and spacing to honor physical distancing
  • Nearly 200 plastic protective barriers that buffer interactions between travelers and airport employees
  • We doubled down on cleaning at SEA with frequent disinfection with medical-grade cleaning products 
  • Addition of over 250 hand sanitizer stations throughout the terminal for your use. Download the SEA App with our interactive map of hand sanitizer locations. 
  • SEA launched Pre-Booked Parking as an innovation for seamless, contact-free travel.
  • Each dining and retail tenant at SEA developed plans detailing procedures for safe operations such as physical distancing requirements, sanitation and personal hygiene protocols, personal protective equipment, and how to provide services while limiting close interactions.
  • Eat and shop at 51 open dining and retail outlets, including 20 re-opened in the last two weeks. Check out the latest updates.
  • The SEA live music program has returned with instrumental performances Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 a.m.

FlyHealthy@SEA will continue to evolve as travelers return to the airport. 

For more information, check out these links: 

By the Numbers

More travelers will pass through SEA in the coming weeks, especially for the long holiday weekend, and as summer travel increases. We expect to see more than 20,000 departing passengers per day through the security checkpoint on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday before the holiday weekend. That’s in comparison to only 2,500 per day during the low point of the COVID-19 crisis in March and an average of more than 13,000 per day just last week (see our latest airport activities dashboard update here). This is still considerably fewer than what was seen last year with peak days over 68,000 passengers per day – or more than 65% below normal traffic levels.

As for overall passenger traffic, May was down 87.3% compared to last year and year-to-date SEA traffic is down 48.3%. The month of May saw 569,773 total passengers this year compared to 4,499,748 in 2019.

What Can I Do to Prepare?

  1. If you’re sick, stay home. If you have symptoms, protect yourself and others by not traveling.
  2. Check travel guidance. Some U.S. states (Hawaii, Alaska, New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey) and foreign countries require mandatory quarantines for arriving passengers. Check with your airline regarding any rules you need to know for the state or country where you plan to travel.
  3. Mask Up! Face coverings become mandatory in Washington state starting June 26 under a public health order by Gov. Jay Inslee. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises face coverings may slow the spread of the virus. A key transmission route of COVID-19 is via droplets that fly out of our mouths when we talk, cough, or sneeze. Wear a face covering to help protect others in case you’re infected but don’t have symptoms.
  4. Wash and sanitize your hands often. Lather for 20 seconds covering the back of your hands, under your fingernails and between your fingers before rinsing. Don’t have time to wash? We have you covered! SEA installed hundreds of hand sanitizing stations throughout the terminal. You can locate all 250 of them on the SEA App.
  5. Wipe down surfaces. Bring disinfecting wipes on your journey and wipe down any common use areas you touch. 
  6. Don’t touch your face! Refrain from touching your face and putting items like your boarding pass in your mouth. 
  7. Keep your distance. Look for opportunities to maintain a six-foot distance from others. There are spaces in the airport where this can be a challenge, such as the satellite trains, gate areas, and, of course, the aircraft. If you can’t keep your distance, be sure you Mask Up. Otherwise, if you’re uncomfortable, step away from the crowd, or in the instance of satellite trains, wait for the next one to arrive in 2-3 minutes. 

Give me the Traveler Basics

To improve the travel experience for seasoned pros and newbies alike, SEA is encouraging fliers with tools, including:

  1. For a more efficient experience, download (or update!) the SEA Airport App. See checkpoint waits in real time (now listed in 5-minute increments!), locate restaurants and shops to explore, water bottle refill stations, and use the interactive map to navigate the airport. Now with accessible route directions!
  2. Look for the SEA Pathfinders and volunteers in bright green if you have questions in the terminal or slide into our DMs and our social care team is happy to help!
  3. Lead your way with extra time. Arrive two hours early for domestic flights and three hours for international travel. Even with lower traffic, COVID-19 physical distancing efforts can make transiting through the airport longer than expected.
  4. Park in the airport garage. Consider picking up and dropping off passengers in the airport garage to avoid congestion. Short term parking is only $5/hour. SEA launched Pre-Booked Parking as an innovation for seamless, contact-free travel. 
  5. Be ready for security checkpoints. SEA and TSA want to help you move through security checkpoints as quickly as possible. Travelers are required to remove electronics larger than a cell phone from carry-on luggage. Also, remove foods and liquids from your carry-on luggage, prepare to hold up your boarding pass for review, and wear your mask!

Need more travel hacks?

  • Visit our recently relaunched Traveler Tips webpage for our best advice to navigate SEA like a frequent flier. SEA is adding new services to make travel more accessible and less stressful for everyone. The expanded services, like the sunflower lanyards pilot program for customers with hidden disabilities, make the airport more accessible and help improve the travel experience beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. Learn more about accessibility at SEA.
  • Check with the City of SeaTac to see if any road construction projects might hinder your access to the airport.


Perry Cooper | Media Officer
(206) 787-4923 |

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