Traveler Tips: What’s New?
These tips will help you get through Sea-Tac efficiently during the summer travel season. Great ideas on how to get to the airport, get through security checkpoints, and find what you need in the terminal quickly.
Getting to the Airport
- Plan Ahead — not only getting to the airport but also picking up, dropping off, and getting through checkpoints. The busiest travel days will be Thursdays and Fridays with 150 -155,000 passengers going through the airport each day.
- Peak traffic congestion occurs on the Departure level from approximately 4:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. During the middle of the day, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., both Arrival and Departure drives experience backups. In the evenings, the Arrivals drive experiences heavy traffic from about 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
- Take Link Light Rail, a bus or shuttle to the airport. Public transportation is by far the best option if you want to stay out of a traffic jam. Use Link Light Rail to travel all the way to the airport or meet your party at one of the nearby stations. Tukwila and Angle Lake stations offer free parking one stop away to avoid airport traffic headaches.
- Go Opposite — In the morning, drop off passengers on the Arrivals level. In the evenings, arrange to meet your passengers on the Departures level. Going opposite gets you out of the traffic crunch. Another example — many arriving passengers do not check bags so they are already on the Departures level when they exit, and easy to pick up.
- Come from the south end — Motorists coming from north of the airport can avoid the heaviest traffic by accessing the airport from alternate routes.
- Park and walk — Park at the Sea-Tac Airport garage and walk into the terminal. For travelers, receive discounted parking rates by signing up for our parking coupons.
- Arrive Early! Travelers are encouraged to leave plenty of time to get to the airport, check in for their flight, and clear security. Plan on arriving at the airport at least two hours in advance for a domestic flight, and three hours for international travel. To save time, it’s suggested that travelers check in for their flights and print boarding passes prior to arriving at the airport. Some airlines allow passengers to print luggage tags in advance. This saves time at the ticket counter.
- Blind and low vision travelers can try new assistive technology with Aira, with the Port providing free connection service while at the airport.
- Port of Seattle Police officers patrol the Airport Expressway to prevent motorists from parking on the shoulder, and additional Traffic Support Specialists will be deployed on the Arrivals and Departure drives to assist with traffic flow.
- Are you there yet? If you’re picking up passengers, make sure they are there before going to the drive. It will take some time for them to walk from the plane or pickup bags.
Ready for Security Checkpoint
- Be ready for security checkpoints. Once travelers get to the airport, Sea-Tac and its partners in the Transportation Security Administration want to help you move through security checkpoints as quickly as possible. Enhanced security measures now in effect at Sea-Tac and airports nationwide require travelers to remove electronics larger than a cell phone from their carryon luggage.
- Be thoughtful with food. While it’s okay to bring food with you, sometimes food items can slow down the screening process. Sea-Tac recommends that unless you plan on eating it in the airport or on your flight, consider packing food in your checked luggage.
- Sign up for Trusted Traveler Programs such as TSA TSA Pre✓, Global Entry, and CLEAR to get you through the lines faster. These expedited security programs help for both domestic and international travel, including a faster way through customs with Automated Passport Control and Mobile Passport Control.
What’s New in the Terminal
- New options for traveling with pets! Three new pet relief areas have been installed inside the terminal for easier customer access and compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). You can find them in the North and South Satellite and Central Terminal near Concourse B. Check our website for an up-to-date map and info.
- More amenities for traveling mothers! Sea-Tac now has seven nursing suites throughout the airport.
- New dining and retail options! New locations have recently opened up including Floret, Sea-Tac’s first vegetarian restaurant; Terminal GetAwaySpa; Starbucks Evenings; Rel’Lish burger lounge; and a larger, 24-hour Qdoba location. Plus more are on the way this summer!
- Recently, Sea-Tac began its Central Terminal Renovation Project. When complete, there will be more than 10,000 additional square feet of dining and retail space, spectacular second-level restaurants, family-friendly seating as well as charging stations. During construction, the water bottle filling station in the Central Terminal has been removed. There are multiple filling stations throughout the airport, as well as 44 restaurants and coffee locations on every concourse. This map shows you where to grab a bite or satisfy your coffee fix.
- What’s all that construction? Yes, we’ve got some major projects underway, including North Satellite Modernization, International Arrivals Facility, Concourse D Annex, and one you don’t see, the Baggage System Upgrade