Port of Seattle adds more staff, more dogs, more tech and more amenities to get ready for summer travelers

Sea-Tac Airport makes several upgrades to welcome projected record-breaking passenger totals for summer

SEATTLE – Memorial Day weekend kicks off a summer travel season during which the Port of Seattle expects to welcome a record number of travelers to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The Port is using a variety of people, dogs and technology to make the travel experience comfortable for travelers.

In just seven years, Sea-Tac’s passenger totals increased by nearly 15 million – 31.5 million in 2010 – compared to 2016’s total of 45.7 million. Thus far in 2017, overall passenger totals are up 4 percent, including a 13 percent jump in international traffic.

Holiday Weekend Passenger Projections

  • Busiest days for Memorial Day weekend: Friday, May 26 – 146,000 (total passengers at airport inbound and outbound) Thursday, May 25 – 141,000

Summer 2017 Highlights

More staff

  • Customer service “Pathfinders” throughout airport to help make travel smooth
  • More volunteers - positioned in key locations to assist customers during peak periods
  • Special summer team of 30 high school and international college interns to help non-English speakers

More K9s

  • Everyone likes dogs, right? The Port of Seattle Police added three specially trained K9s to help detect suspicious packages

We don’t like lines either

  • Security wait times displayed near flight information displays in ticketing areas – travelers can find a checkpoint with the shortest wait
  • Staff monitors wait times and directs travelers to the shortest lines

Sit back and relax

  • Sea-Tac’s award-winning live music program features musicians throughout airport
  •  New gate area seating has been added and more to come throughout 2017

More Tech & Customer Accessibility

  • Wi-FI upgrades in Central Terminal, B and C Concourses.
  • Improvements to parking garage walkway leading to transit connections, including electric golf cart to assist passengers with mobility issues

Sea-Tac is a hot place to be

Sea-Tac has set annual passenger records for the past six years, totaling 45.7 million in 2016 - 3.4 million more passengers than in 2015. The 8 percent passenger growth rate is Sea-Tac’s second largest in the past 20 years, only topped by 2015's 12.9 percent increase. International travel also increased in 2016 - 11.1 percent from 2015. For the past three years, Sea-Tac is the fastest growing large hub airport in the U.S. and is the 9th largest domestic airport based on total passengers.

Summer – Sea-Tac’s busiest time

  • Sea-Tac’s busiest travel period: June through August (August is typically the busiest month, followed by July and June)
  • Arrive Early! Travelers are encouraged to arrive a minimum of two hours before domestic and three hours for international flights – give yourself time to park, check-in and get through security. If you’re checking bags, add some extra time - always better to be early.
  • The busiest times at TSA checkpoints typically are between 5 - 11 a.m., while increased flights during the evening create another busy period between 7 - 9 p.m.
  • Peak hours can mean TSA checkpoints may be longer, please plan accordingly.
  • Peak travel days are Thursday and Friday.
  • Take  Link Light Rail for an easy, predictable and sustainable ride to Sea-Tac. If picking up or dropping off, think opposite!!!
  • More tips are available on our webpage.

Ready for the future
To accommodate more passengers and airlines, the Port is investing more than $3.2 billion in capital improvement projects, including the North Satellite Modernization project, a new International Arrivals Facility and new baggage handling system.  The capital improvement projects will add more gates to the airport, more than double North Satellite dining and retail establishments, and create a direct connection to the terminal and more baggage and passport services for international travelers.  

About Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Operated by the Port of Seattle, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA, KSEA) is ranked as the 9th busiest U.S. airport, serving nearly 45.7 million passengers and more than 366,000 metric tons of air cargo in 2016. With a regional economic impact of more than $16.3 billion in business revenue, Sea-Tac generates 171,796 jobs (109,924 direct jobs) representing over $2.8 billion in direct earnings and more than $565 million in state and local taxes.  Twenty-four airlines serve 83 non-stop domestic and 24 international destinations.