During the holiday season things can get a little hectic at Sea-Tac Airport.  Where to pick up relatives, how to deal with gifts, best place to park!  Our friends at Sea-Tac put together some tips and tricks to help get you through your holiday travel.   


Holiday Traffic Numbers
This is not the busiest time of the year at Sea-Tac, but sometimes it can feel like it. Why? We don’t have as many overall passengers but we do have a lot of inexperienced travelers who may only fly once or twice a year. Plus, picking up relatives for the holidays means more traffic on the airport drives 

Here are the busiest days for the season:
Friday, Dec. 21 – 105,300 (projected passengers coming in and out of the airport)
Thursday, Dec. 20 – 97,500
Wednesday, Dec. 19 – 96,900

Each day from Dec. 18 – 23 is projected to see over 90,000 travelers or over half a million passengers in five days!

The lowest traffic numbers will be Dec. 25 (69,800) and Dec. 31 (66,900). 

Additional Sea-Tac Airport Traffic Notes:

An average summer day (June-August) will see over 100,000 passengers and is the peak air travel time for Sea-Tac. August is traditionally the busiest month of the year followed by July, June and May (December is 7th, November 10th).
To date, for 2012, passenger traffic is up 1.5%, including an 8.4% rise for international traffic. That trend will result in another record year at Sea-Tac with a projected total over 33 million! 

Tips for avoiding congestion on the drives
An operational team at Sea-Tac has implemented a series of new actions to reduce the congestion on the airport drives, from signage to traffic metering by Port of Seattle Police. Shuttles for the new Rental Car Facility alone have reduced the number of vehicles on the drive by 160,000 each month or 1.9 million for the year. Below are some effective tips for avoiding the congestion:

  • Pickup on the departures drive, dropoff on the arrivals drive — Airport traffic increases in the evening at Sea-Tac due to many inbound flights which creates traffic congestion on the Arrivals Drive. Instead of meeting your party outside of baggage claim on the Arrivals Drive, suggest that your arriving guests take an escalator or elevator from baggage claim to the ticketing level of the terminal and meet you outside the less-crowded Departures Drive.

  • Don’t get stuck in traffic! — Park on the Terminal Direct floor of the airport parking garage, the quickest and most convenient option for meeting passengers in the terminal, and pay just $4 per hour. Or use any other floor for $3 per hour.

  • Try the cell phone waiting lot — Parking in this lot is free and drivers can wait up to 30 minutes until arriving passengers have deplaned, collected luggage and called to be picked up outside of Baggage Claim. Take advantage of the cell phone parking lot and the new QR code that you can scan for the most recent flight arrival information. Remember, there is no parking or waiting allowed on the airport roadway shoulders.

  • Save 30 percent off regular parking rates — Travelers can park in our garage during the winter travel season with weekend and weekly discounts. Through Dec. 31, 2012, park for only $19 a day in General Parking when your stay includes a Saturday overnight stay. In addition, you can take advantage of the special weekly rate of only $99 a week (up to seven days) in General Parking for the same time period. Stays over seven days are only $19 a day until the next $99 weekly maximum is reached! There are no added charges or fees, and no shuttle to slow you down. Download a coupon from the airport website. Check for additional parking promotions throughout the year.

Earn Airline Miles When You Park, Dine or Shop
Sea-Tac Airport partners with the Thanks Again loyalty program to offer airline miles when you park in the airport’s ParkSmart garage or make a purchase at any of our airport merchants. Enrollment is free and when you register by texting (text FLYSEATAC to 82257) you will receive 100 bonus miles. Register today and earn airline miles for purchases you already make at the airport!

Holiday Travel Tips

Find a list of key travel tips for those heading to the airport during the holiday season, from including suggestions on security checkpoints, what to do with gifts, and parking discounts.

Holiday Entertainment
Annually sponsored by the Merchants of Sea-Tac Airport, the Holiday Entertainment Program provides live performances and musical entertainment from Dec. 16 – 24, during peak passenger traffic hours of 5 a.m. to noon. Delight in various holiday entertainers and performers, such as Santa Claus and his elves, carolers, jugglers, character actors, roving game teams, and many musicians (pianist and violinist) throughout the entire terminal. Find the schedule for all of the fun!

Wrap Gifts After Security But Before You Fly!
Wrapped gifts may need to be opened by security in order to take a closer look, so consider our two gift wrapping stations post-security.  Highline Community College Chorale volunteers will be in the central terminal and Airport Jobs will be on concourse A in the vicinity of the escalators to the south train station. 

What’s New?

  • Lost? Pathfinders and volunteers throughout the terminal use iPads to help travelers with quick information.

  • For users of electronics, take advantage of more than 300 new power plug-ins attached to seats at gate areas throughout the south satellite and concourses A, B, & C. More are coming and you can use it to check out our FREE WiFi throughout the terminal

General Travel Tips

  • Do Some Advance Planning – Confirm your travel details and make sure the name on your boarding pass and your government-issued ID match.

  • Pack with Security in Mind – Know what is and isn’t allowed in carry-ons and checked luggage by checking the TSA website. Also see if you qualify for the new TSA PreCheck program.

  • Get your Boarding Pass Early – Print it online before you arrive or use convenient check-in kiosks in the airport garage or at airline check-in counters. Passengers with only carry-on baggage can go directly to the security checkpoint. Passengers with luggage can go to airline bag-check points

  • Check the status of your flight online or via email notification – Check our flight status page for updates online or through email alerts.

  • Arrive at least two hours before your flight – give yourself time to get through security.

  • Park in the Airport Garage – Save time, stay dry and be close. No shuttles, covered skybridges and you are right next to the terminal.