The summer travel season kicks off with the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Friday, May 23 will be the busiest day of the weekend with more than 100,000 travelers expected to go through Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The following week won’t be as busy, but the traveling rush will kick back in with summer vacations, the busiest travel period of the year for Sea-Tac. See below for the traffic numbers, travel tips and what’s new at Sea-Tac Airport.
Summer Traffic Numbers
The busiest days for the Memorial Holiday weekend:
- Friday, May 23 (100,191 estimated travelers), Thursday, May 22 (96,327), and Monday, May 26 are the busiest days. Numbers include passengers traveling in and out of Sea-Tac Airport.
- The lowest traffic numbers will be Sunday, May 25 (70,833).
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).
- For 2014, through March, Sea-Tac airport passenger traffic is up 3.5% over 2013, including a 5.4% rise for international traffic. A record 34.7 million passengers went through Sea-Tac in 2014.
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 the 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.
Tips for avoiding congestion on the drives
Below are some effective tips for avoiding the congestion:
- THINK OPPOSITE! Pickup on the departure drive, drop-off on the arrivals drive – If traffic is congested, look for the opposite airport drive for relief. Try meeting your arriving guests one level up from baggage claim at the less-crowded departure drive. Those with only carry-ons can go straight out the ticketing level. For drop-offs, reverse it. Go to the arrivals drive and travelers only have to go up one level to ticketing. Remember, the busiest periods are mornings for departures and evenings for arrivals.
- 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 -- A new cell phone lot opened just south of S. 170th Street exit from the Airport Expressway. When fully completed in June, the new lot will have 200 spaces specifically designed for easier circulation, along with better lighting, and free WiFi. Parking is free as long as drivers remain in their vehicle and can wait up to 30 minutes. Take advantage of the posted QR code to scan for the most recent flight arrival information. Remember, there is no parking or waiting allowed on the airport roadway shoulders.
Spring into Summer with Parking Deals at Sea-Tac
Save on Sea-Tac Airport parking with our discount coupons. Now through June 23, travelers can park in General Parking floors of the airport garage for only $19 a day or $99 a week (minimum stay required, see coupon for details). There are no added charges or fees when you park in the airport garage. Download a coupon here.
- Enjoy the “Best Arrivals Experience” honored by the Future Travel Experience Awards recognizing Sea-Tac Airport’s Experience the City of Music program. Check online for a schedule of live northwest musicians entertaining in various locations and get more details about this unique showcase of the region’s music culture, including DOUBLE the amount of musicians and play times.
- Take the Sea-Tac Airport Art Walk for a little exercise and education in public art. The free, self-guided tour takes you ½ mile (one way) through more than 16 permanent art installations and rotating temporary exhibits. QR codes guide your way and provide artistic information.
- Water lovers rejoice! You can take it with you -- by using the liquid drains at the checkpoints, take your favorite bottle through security, and then load up with four new bottle fillers. Find them near gates A-2, A-5, D-1 and in the middle of the central terminal food court.
- For users of electronics, take advantage of nearly 500 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.
- Self-bag tagging is now available in a common use kiosk for Hawaiian Airlines right across from the international ticket counters. Get your boarding pass and your bag tag on your own!
- Questions? Lost? Pathfinders, dressed in red, and volunteers , in blue, are available seven days a week throughout the terminal using iPads to help travelers with quick information.
- Don’t forget other amenities to enjoy your trip -- rocking chairs in central terminal, the salmon walk on concourse B, a kids play area where concourse B and A come together, and talking water fountains. See more under Passengers Services.
- More green projects have taken off and you can see them right outside the window of the gates. Centralized Pre-Conditioned Air and Electric Ground Support Equipment will save millions of dollars and thousands of tons of greenhouse gasses. Learn more on the projects page.
- Find out about new concessions options, construction, and news at Sea-Tac Traveler Updates.
Traveling Internationally? Sign-up for Global Entry
Frequent international travelers can significantly speed up their clearance process through U.S. Customs and Border Protection by enrolling in Global Entry, an expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. A five-year membership is only $100. Visit the Global Entry website for more information.
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 the 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!
Find more information on these and other travel tips for those heading to the airport or picking up passengers on The Port of Seattle' website.