Processing, Claiming Luggage, and Screening
International flights (other than those arriving from a pre-clearance airport) arrive and process at the the first point of entry into the United States. All passengers must be interviewed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and claim all checked luggage before being allowed to enter the U.S. including connecting travelers. Processing can take 60 minutes or longer during peak periods, such as holidays and summer travel season, when multiple international flights arrive. When scheduling connections from an international flight at SEA we recommend that you schedule at least 120 minutes between flights to allow enough time for processing to prevent missed connections for your next boarding times.
Once cleared by CBP, passengers will have the opportunity to recheck their luggage for a connecting flight or exit the airport locally find more step-by-step instructions on the international arrivals and passport control process at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).
Upon exiting CBP's agriculture and baggage inspection, connecting passengers will go left (following the orange walls) and check their luggage for the next flight. All connecting passengers must go through U.S.'s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security screening. The passport control's TSA Checkpoint is open from 8 a.m. through 2 p.m. Pacific Time.
If the passport control's TSA Screening Checkpoint is closed, passengers will have to exit to the pre-security side of the airport and re-screen through one of the main security checkpoints. TSA PreCheck is only available at main terminal checkpoints.
Getting to your next flight
Agents from Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines are available to help passengers recheck and re-book any connecting flights if needed. Hours will vary with each airline depending on demand. Depending on your airline carrier you may have to exit and recheck your bags on the ticketing level on the pre-security side of the airport. Rebooking standards and policies vary by airline.
Once cleared through TSA's screening*, passengers will take the train to connect to all gates and the rest of the terminal. The first stop off the train will take passengers to the A Concourse train station, from there passengers can go up the escalators or elevators for the A gates or take the other trains to go to B, D, and N gates. For help navigating around the terminal and information on dining and retail, please see our interactive map.
Traveling with a Tight Connection
When scheduling connections from an international flight at SEA we recommend that you schedule enough time in between the scheduled arrival time and your next boarding time. If a connection is within 60 minutes or less, depending on the airline they may rebook your connecting flight if there is not enough time to connect. Airline representatives should be available in the baggage claim area of the South Satellite baggage claim level to help assist any passengers who may need to re-book any flights. Find your airline's contact information.
The “Express Connect” program is currently suspended due to COVID-19 and low international passenger volume. Passengers are currently already being processed quite quickly. Our customer service team will currently assist larger families with expedited screening in special circumstances.