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Port of Seattle Implements New Protocols for Safe and Healthy Trade and Air Travel

The Port of Seattle announced changes this week to maintain the safety, health, and well-being of passengers and employees using Port facilities, including Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
March 3, 2020

The Port of Seattle announced changes this week to maintain the safety, health, and well-being of passengers and employees using Port facilities, including Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The new protocols build on steps the Port began taking one month ago when public health officials first announced that a Washington resident was ill with the new novel coronavirus. The protocols support other actions being taken by maritime and airline partners and federal agencies.

“The Port, along with our aviation, maritime operators, and federal agencies are working together for the safety of our passengers and employees,” said Port of Seattle Commission President Peter Steinbrueck. “Our port’s transportation facilities play a critical role in the local economy, millions of people and their personal lives. We appreciate the efforts by all employees and partners who are doing everything possible to keep travel safe for all.”

The Port continues to participate in, coordinate, and lead emergency response trainings for first responders, aviation and maritime operators, and federal agencies.

Tourism is one of Washington’s leading economic sectors, supporting tens of thousands of jobs statewide and providing millions in revenue to the region. Between February 2 and March 7 more than 80 flights have been suspended to mainland China while airlines have recently announced reductions and cancellations to Seoul, South Korea, and Hong Kong.

Following are highlights of steps the Port and partners are taking to keep travelers and employees safe, along with recommendations for steps all travelers can take.

New protocols at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

The airport has focused its efforts on disinfecting common areas of the airport and helping passengers and employees maintain good hygiene at the airport.

  • The Port has installed more than 45 new hand sanitizers throughout the airport with 90 expected to be installed soon. The Port plans to install 100 hand sanitizers as they become available.
  • Hand sanitizers are being placed at security checkpoints, jet bridges, boarding gate locations, ground transportation centers, plus airlines have been adding their own sanitizer sources at check-in counters and gate areas.
  • The airport has increased cleaning frequencies at all high touch point areas, such as escalator handrails, elevator buttons, ticketing kiosk, badge readers, stairwell handrails, door handles, gate hold room seating, armrests, tables, STS train grip bars, inside restroom doorknobs, food court tables, and chairs.
  • The Port’s janitorial contractors have been trained in bio-hazard cleaning should it become necessary and follow up on any suspected incidents with bio-hazard cleaning as a precaution.
  • Contractors are equipped with hospital-grade disinfectant and wipes for faster response and cleaning.
  • The airport has updated its cleaning protocols for employee shuttle buses, buses serving the rental car facility, and buses that shuttle passengers to and from planes. Buses will be cleaned multiple times a day.  Cleaning includes disinfecting driver seating area, passenger seating area, and handrails. The Port is working to install hand sanitizer dispensers by bus driver stations or doors.
  • For the latest information about Port actions at the airport, visit the Traveler Update page.

Airline partner actions

Together, Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines serve 75 percent of the airport’s passengers. All airlines are taking extraordinary measures to keep travel safe for passengers and employees.

  • Alaska Airlines has announced multiple actions to keep passengers and employees safe on the plane, at the airport, in the lounge, and in their offices.
  • Alaska enhanced aircraft cleaning between flights and will continue to evaluate our cleaning procedures. This is in addition to the regular cleanings between flights.
  • Alaska is offering flexible travel options for guests who book new tickets from February 27 through March 12. Learn more at
  • Delta Air Lines has adjusted travel schedules, waived change fees for affected destinations and are working with customers to adjust travel plans, using relationships with other airlines when needed.
  • In February, Delta began deploying a fogging technique with a highly effective, EPA-registered disinfectant on flights arriving at U.S. gateways from Asia – Atlanta, Detroit, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Portland, and Seattle. Fogging procedures are being performed on all trans-Pacific flights arriving into the U.S. Delta is working rapidly and have sourced additional machines to expand fogging to inbound international flights, prioritizing trans-Atlantic inbound flights from markets with reported coronavirus cases. Fogging procedures on all inbound Italy flights to New York-JFK and Atlanta began on Feb 29. Read a detailed explanation of Delta’s measures to clean aircraft.
  • Please see the individual websites of other airlines serving Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) for more details.

Passenger actions

Passengers can help prevent the spread of germs at Port facilities. Here are some suggestions of actions passengers can take:

  1. Do not use your mouth to hold passports, boarding passes, pens, or parking passes and then hand that item to someone else.
  2. Wash your hands frequently and for 20 seconds at a time.
  3. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  4. Use a tissue or your elbow to catch a sneeze or cough.
  5. Clean your device screens.
  6. Stay home if you are not feeling well.
For more guidance from public health officials visit the King County Public Health website

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