A new automated parking guidance system designed to indicate open stalls debuts in the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) parking garage ahead of the busy Presidents Day holiday weekend. The first two floors of the eight-floor garage are now open with LED lighting and smart camera sensors to indicate available stalls and help customers locate accessible parking stalls. The guidance system will cut stall search time in half and lay the groundwork for future tech-focused customer service integrations.
After a slower than projected January travel period due to the Omicron variant, the Presidents Day holiday is expected to see larger numbers of travelers and traffic on the airport drives. SEA Airport suggests finding alternative ways to get to the airport to avoid the worst congestion and longest lines. Plus, travelers can find stress-free ways to avoid waiting throughout the holiday travel process.
Find that Parking Spot, and Your Car, Faster
If you do plan to drive, SEA Airport is opening the first phase of one of the largest-scale automated parking guidance system (APGS) installations in the country, over 12,000 stalls! The first and second floors now feature the Park Assist APGS. Smart sensors and red or green lights above the drive lanes help you quickly locate open stalls. Blue lights indicate available accessible stalls. The new system also provides improved wayfinding signage for parkers to navigate the rows more efficiently. In addition, each sensor has camera-based license plate recognition (LPR) technology to help locate your vehicle, improve parking policy enforcement, and improve vehicle monitoring and security in the garage with motion-activated video surveillance (can you say ‘we’re watching you, catalytic converter thieves?’).
The installation of the system will continue through this year and cover every floor by early 2023. The project will also nearly double the number of electric vehicle charging stations, with the capability to increase the charging capacity for further expansion.
Safety First, Avoid Shoulder Parking
Vehicles are encouraged to use the new reconfigured cellphone lot and avoid dangerous parking along the shoulder of the airport drives. Violators will be cited as the Port of Seattle Police are working with the Washington State Patrol for emphasis patrols during the holiday.
By The Numbers
For the holiday travel period, the busiest days are ahead of the Presidents Day weekend. The Thursday and Friday before the holiday will see the largest volume with 129,000 and 124,000 travelers going through the airport each day. Wednesday, Feb. 16 will see 105,000 travelers while Saturday is projected to be busy as well with 109,000 travelers. This represents approximately 80% of the passenger volume pre-pandemic in 2019, when passenger volumes reached as high as 165,000 per day and nearly 70% higher than 2020 volumes reaching 87,000 per day. Of note, the busiest times at SEA are during the summer months June through August.
What’s the best advice for travelers?
It’s busy since the last time you’ve been here – Get here early! Two hours before a domestic flight, three hours before an international flight.
Masks are still required at the airport – and make sure to check your destination’s COVID-19 requirements for entry. Visit XpresCheck if testing is required for your destination they’re available on the baggage claim level.
Think of alternate modes of travel to get to the airport.
Use SEA Spot Saver to reserve your spot in the TSA line and avoid congested security lines at the airport.
Download (or update!) the flySEA App for alerts, maps, info and more.
Use Order SEA, our mobile ordering service including gate delivery for food from all over the airport.
Alternate ways to get to SEA Airport
The SEA Airport parking garage is busy.
Avoid the hassles of driving with Sound Transit’s Link Light Rail. Public transit is by far the best option if you want to stay out of a traffic jam.
Catch a ride with taxis or app-based ride shares like Uber and Lyft, or other modes of ground transportation.
Rent your own ride. All rental car companies operate at an off-site rental car facility where dedicated shuttle buses transport passengers for free 24-hours-a-day, 365 days a year.
Pedal power! Yes, you can even bicycle to the airport with bike racks and two ways to access the airport on a bike.
If you still plan to park, we recommend at least 30 minutes to find a stall. Off-site parking facilities are also expected to be very busy. Parking reservations are recommended.
If you’re picking up or dropping off loved ones
Check out the new and improved Cell Phone Lot! The new access ramp is a game change with better flow for entry and exiting you can pick up your passengers easier. Use it instead of shoulder parking, which is dangerous and illegal!
Travel hack! Use the Departures Drive for pickup at night and the Arrivals Drive for passenger drop off in the morning.
Give me the Traveler Basics
The CDC guidance for travelers changes depending on your COVID-19 vaccination status. Check with your airline for the state or country where you plan to travel.
Be ready for security checkpoints. SEA and TSA want to help you move through security checkpoints as quickly as possible. Travelers are required to remove electronics larger than a cell phone from carry-on luggage. Also, remove foods and liquids from your carry-on luggage, prepare to hold up your boarding pass for review, and wear your mask. You can also see the latest Identification and Documentation Requirements.
Need more travel hacks? Our Customer Care team has the best advice to navigate SEA like a frequent flier.
SEA is adding new services to make travel more accessible and improve the travel experience beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. Check out our SEA Social Story developed for traveler with sensory sensitivities such as autism, but also great overall tips for kids. Learn more about accessibility at SEA. The interactive map on the flySEA App offers accessible route directions.
Check with the City of SeaTac to see if there are any road construction projects that might hinder your access to the airport.