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Travel Tips for SEA Airport

Summer travel is here and it's busy at the airport! Make sure you arrive 2 to 3 hours before your departure time and find your best checkpoint and live estimated wait times. TSA Wait Times and Checkpoints

For information about flights, baggage policies, and flight check-in, contact your airline directly.

A little advance planning goes a long way to make your trip more predictable and lower stress. Use these tips to make your SEA experience more efficient.

Summer Travel at SEA

With school districts getting ready to start summer vacations, SEA Airport is sending along a few brief updates as its busiest time of the year is about to start, June thru August.

  • TSA Security Checkpoint 3 is scheduled to re-open on Friday, June 14th. Reconfiguration of TSA Checkpoints 3 and 2 has added four new lanes to increase traveler throughput by 600 passengers per hour, helping SEA meet peak departure periods this summer.
  • A Quick Tip for those using the drives as construction challenges impact the drives – Don’t pull in right away, Go South! Use skybridges and doors/exits further south along the terminal to avoid north end closures and congestion. Not checking a bag? You may also find it’s quicker to head to the south entrances. All TSA checkpoints lead to all gates. Construction upgrades will be noticeable all summer as part of Upgrade SEA investing $5 billion over the next five years.

Latest Travel Estimates

  • Friday, June 14 will see significant volumes as the summer travel season gets into high gear, so be ready! Over 179,000 travelers are projected to go through SEA on Friday, June 14th (arriving, departing and connecting) followed by 165,000 Saturday, June 15, and 172,000 Sunday, June 16th. The next weekend will be even busier with 166,000 Thursday, June 20, 180,000 Friday, June 21, and 171,000 Saturday, June 22.
  • These will be fairly typical volumes for weekends throughout the summer, again, the busiest time of the year for SEA Airport.
  • The summer is forecast to see 15.5 million passengers, roughly equal to 2019 levels. Overall passenger volume is expected to increase by 3% in 2024 compared to 2023, which will set an all-time record for SEA. The record passenger level for SEA was 51.8 million in 2019, forecasts project 2024 to be over 52 million. Already in 2023, SEA saw record international traffic volumes and had seen a 14% increase of international passengers through early 2024.

Construction impacts

For an easier journey, check out the current construction projects and how they will impact your trip.

Before you leave home

  1. Reserve your spot in the TSA security line with SEA Spot Saver.
  2. Download the FlySEA app for live checkpoint wait times, traveler alerts, maps, and more info.
  3. Get food on the fly with the Order SEA mobile ordering service and pick up meals on the way to your gate.
  4. Enroll in a trusted traveler program like TSA PreCheck or CLEAR.
  5. Check with the City of SeaTac to see if there are any road construction projects that might impact your trip to SEA Airport.
  6. Reserve your parking spot on the fourth floor of the SEA Airport garage. 

To and from SEA

Avoid the hassles of driving and parking. Consider alternative modes of transportation to/from the airport like a Link Light Rail, bus, taxi, ride share options, shuttles, airporters, or door-to-door options.

Road signs at the Cell Phone Lot with Link light rail in the background

A busy parking garage makes airport parking a challenge. Be aware that during busy travel periods you may need extra time to find a parking stall.

Parking options:

  • Floors 1–3 and 5–8 are for General Parking. Simply drive up and find an available stall.
  • Floor 4 is for Reserved Parking. You may purchase in advance up to 120 days before arrival. Your  reservation will guarantee an available space on Floor 4, dedicated to Reserved Parking.

The new automated parking guidance system marks available and occupied stalls with green and red lights.

It's dangerous to park on the shoulder of the airport drive. Use the newly reconfigured Cell Phone Lot.

At the airport

Get here early! Depending on your needs, you may need more time. Passengers should arrive two hours before domestic travel and three hours before international travel. 

Upgrade SEA highlights more than $5 billion in improvements underway over the next five years.

Be ready for security checkpoints:

Accessible travel at SEA

Return trip

Switch it up to Speed it Up!

  • Use the arrivals (lower) level to drop off in the morning and the departures (upper) level to pick up in the evening
  • Check Airport Drive Cameras to check traffic on the drives

Coming from an international destination?

  1. Download the Mobile Passport Control app.
  2. Add your travel details as you land at SEA.
  3. Collect your bags and go straight to a dedicated line in the arrival hall.
  4. Your entire family can complete the customs process from one mobile device.
  5. Learn about the Bags First arrival process at SEA Airport.

Stay safe at SEA

Check out travel tips on how to stay safe at the airport

Stay in the loop with SEA Airport


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