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Here When You’re Ready: SEA Airport Presidents Day Holiday Travel Tips

COVID-19 and travel at SEA Airport More Information

#FlyHealthySEA, flySEA App, new virtual performance wall to support local musicians, new Lost & Found, Pre-Booked Parking, and free masks
February 10, 2021

For those who decide to travel during the upcoming Presidents Day holiday, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) continues its globally accredited FlyHealthy@ SEA program and encourages passengers to come prepared to comply with healthy travel measures. Current projections expect the largest number of travelers at SEA since the pandemic began. Meanwhile, a new effort begins to support the local musicians who lost the opportunity to perform live at the airport. Plus, a new, expanded Lost & Found opened, Pre-Booked Parking is available, along with free masks at the front door of the airport.  

FlyHealthy@SEA prioritizes traveler safety, health and well-being with protocols like mandatory masks, medical grade cleaning, touchless technology and plastic protective barriers. Since the latest TSA mask mandate, more than 3,000 free masks per day have been handed out to travelers.  

The airport asks that everyone comply with directions to limit the spread of COVID-19. Stay home if you are sick, expect to wear a facial covering for the duration of your journey, wash or sanitize your hands frequently, and embrace physical distancing. 

What’s New at SEA

  • Support SEA Music! A new high resolution digital 12x7 ft. LED music wall debuts this week on Concourse C with a two-hour program highlighting over 30 musicians who performed live at the airport before the pandemic. Developed with Gigs4U and Promosa, travelers can enjoy the beloved music program once again with a virtual experience that bolsters connections to the airport and Pacific Northwest. Our local musicians faced many challenges this year, and this pays forward the joy of music and concerts to support those artists who are hanging in until they can get back to playing at SEA. 
  • New Lost & Found — One of the worst things about travel is if you lose something! Yikes! Now there’s a larger Lost & Found to help. Located on bag claim level across from carousel 13, the new office is twice the size of the old one and ready to help with an overall return rate of 89.6 percent!
  • SEA launched Pre-Booked Parking as an innovation for seamless, contact-free travel. Book and pay for parking in advance of arrival, drive your own vehicle, and scan your booking QR code on your phone at garage entry and exit.
  • As of February 1, we entered Phase 2 of Governor Inslee's Healthy Washington — Roadmap to Recovery plan. Sit-down dining is available at 25% capacity, in addition to existing to-go options for food and beverage. Alcohol service is available daily until 11 p.m. Airport dining and retail are going above and beyond to protect your health and well-being. Eat and shop with confidence.

Good Reminders 

  • Face masks or coverings are required by federal law at the airport. Free masks available for travelers needing one. Bowls with free masks are at entrance doors of the airport, stop by the Information Desk, look for the Mask Up SEA cart, or ask a Pathfinder in green. 
  • Discovery Health MD has a COVID-19 testing location for non-symptomatic travel testing. 
  • Be Aware: Security checkpoint lines look longer but waits are not. Due to physical distancing, lines fill up faster as six-foot separations reduce queuing by up to 75%. Lines move faster than they look. Plus, wait times on flight displays and our flySEA App are noted in five-minute increments. Check out TSA’s Travel With Ease with PreCheck to shorten any checkpoint wait. 
  • We added close to 300 hand sanitizer stations throughout the terminal for your use. 
  • SEA installed nearly 650 plastic protective barriers that buffer interactions between travelers and airport employees, and 8,000 signs for reminders and spacing to honor physical distancing.
  • We doubled down on cleaning with frequent disinfection with medical-grade cleaning products. We even secured international accreditations for cleaning practices.
  • Breathe easy knowing our air filtration and ventilation system constantly circulates fresh, outdoor air through the terminal and uses filters that capture 90% of COVID-19 sized particles.

By the Numbers

Initial projections expect the number of travelers prior to the weekend to reach the largest levels seen since the beginning of the pandemic. 

The busiest days are projected to be Thursday, February 11 and Friday, February 12 with, respectively, 27,500 and 32,000 outbound travelers going through security checkpoints. That projects to be more than 68,500 and 80,000 overall travelers throughout the airport during those days. Those numbers are still 45-50% below what we saw last year before the pandemic. The Thursday before the holiday weekend in 2020 tallied 56,000 outbound travelers through the checkpoints and 140,000 overall through the airport. The corresponding Friday saw 58,500/146,000. For comparison, the largest traveler day during the pandemic so far is Sunday, December 27 with just over 25,500 outbound travelers. For more details, see the latest airport activities dashboard update and the year-end summary press release.  

The next busiest day is projected to be Monday, the holiday, February 15 with 55,000 outbound travelers through the checkpoint and an overall 138,500 through the airport. 

What Can I Do to Prepare? 

  1. If you’re sick, stay home. If you have symptoms, do not travel. 
  2. Check travel guidance. Your destination may require a negative COVID-19 test and/or 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 masks are now mandatory by federal law throughout the airport grounds. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises face coverings may slow the spread of the virus. Pack an extra mask in case you need a fresh one along the way, or snag one from an airport retailer.
  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 280 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. 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’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

We’re focused on the here and now and keeping travelers and the SEA team safe. We are ready for you when you feel good about traveling. 

  1. For a more efficient experience, download (or update!) the flySEA App. See checkpoint waits in real time in 5-minute increments, locate dining and retail to explore, and use the interactive map to navigate the airport. 
  2. Look for the SEA Pathfinders 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. Give yourself 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. Pre-Booked Parking is available for a touchless transaction in advance of arrival. 
  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. 
  6. Need more travel hacks? Visit the Traveler Tips webpage for our best advice to navigate SEA like a frequent flier. 
  7. SEA is adding new services to make travel more accessible and improve the travel experience beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. Check out our new SEA Social Story developed for travelers with sensory sensitivities such as autism, but also great overall tips for kids. Learn more about accessibility at SEA. The interactive map on the flySEA App offers accessible route directions.
  8. Check with the City of SeaTac to see if there are any road construction projects that might hinder your access to the airport. 

FlyHealthy@ SEA will continue to evolve as travelers return to the airport. For more information, please visit: 

Contact 

Perry Cooper | SEA Airport Media Officer
(206) 787-4923 | cooper.p@portseattle.org 

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