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President’s Day Holiday Travel Tips for Your SEA Airport Experience

Expanded hours for SEA Spot Saver, new eats at N Concourse, Mobile Passport, and be aware of construction as you plan ahead

February 13, 2023

Travelers heading out for the mid-winter break of Presidents Day are reminded to plan ahead for an easier experience through Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). The airport expanded hours for its free SEA Spot Saver service, which saves precious time in the TSA checkpoints, perfect for families who want to take the stress out of security screening. A free service from United States Customs and Border Protection, Mobile Passport Control, can speed international travelers through arrival. What else is new? Enjoy new retail and dining options now open at N Concourse, and prepare for Upgrade SEA construction on the skybridges, the curb, and in baggage claim. These tips should help any traveler, but those with early flights should take the most care. Typically, more than one-third of our daily volume arrives at the airport before 9:00 a.m. Travelers heading out before 9:00 or 10:00 a.m. should be prepared for very busy conditions at TSA security and on the drives. Use these tips to skip the line. Check out the flySEA app for your latest updates and be ready to travel! Skip the Line Get thru security quickly! The free SEA Spot Saver program expanded its morning and evening hours to speed you through TSA screening. Sign-up 72 hours in advance online or at the terminal with a QR code next to the checkpoints.

  • Going to Mexico or another international destination for your holiday? Download the Mobile Passport Control app before you leave home. Add your travel details as you land back at SEA. Collect your bags and go straight to a dedicated line in the arrival hall. Your entire family can complete the customs process from a single mobile device.

  • Avoid the hassles of driving and parking with Sound Transit’s Link light rail. Airport parking will be a challenge. Consider alternative modes of transportation to/from the airport like a taxi or ride share option.

  • If driving and parking is your best choice, the new automated parking guidance system upgrades your experience in the garage with easy-to-use lighting that indicates available stalls. Or Switch it up to Speed it Up! Avoid the airport’s longest traffic lines by using the arrivals/lower level to drop off in the morning and departures/upper level to pick up in the evening.

  • Try Order SEA, a mobile ordering service that allows you to pick up meals on the way to your gate. Order through the SEA Airport app.

Try Something New

  • New eats are available at N Concourse — Nine new locations opened recently and are ready for you to discover. Newbies include the first ever Costa Coffee retail location at a U.S. airport — a staple in the U.K.!

  • The Central Terminal is done! Salty’s at the SEA and BrewTop Social and the new Amex Lounge complete this spacious modernization. Come back for more seating, dining options, and the best airport views.

We’re Upgrading SEA

  • Upgrade SEA highlights more than $4.6 billion in improvements underway over the next five-years, here’s a blog for more info.

  • Construction for safety and accessibility improvements unfortunately means temporary closures along garage skybridges and the airport drives.

  • A major new ticketing area renovation project has spillover impacts in the baggage claim area.

By The Numbers This holiday will be virtually back to normal. The forecast for the period Thursday through Tuesday is passenger travel through the security checkpoints will be at 98% of 2019 levels (about 12 Percent over last year) – some 308,000 passengers departing through the checkpoints or more than 830,000 overall through the airport (departing, arriving, and connecting). The busiest days are expected to be Friday before the holiday at 159,000 travelers overall, followed by Tuesday at 152,000, and Thursday at 146,000. TSA security checkpoints are busiest at SEA from 5:00 – 10:00 a.m., 2:00 – 5:00 p.m., and 9:00 –11:00 p.m.  For 2022, SEA was just under 46 million passengers (45,964,321), 27.1 percent over 2021 and down 11.3 percent versus 2019. Projections for 2023 is for traffic levels to be short of 2019 levels by only 6 percent for the year with pre-pandemic levels returning in 2024.Dig in more on our Airport Statistics page. What’s the Best Advice for Travelers?

  • Get here early! Depending on your needs, you may need more time. Make sure you’re at the airport at least two hours before your boarding time for a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight

  • Be prepped with your airline ahead of time! Make sure you check their baggage policies, check in, and have all their apps downloaded for efficient travel. See our best baggage tips!

  • 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.

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 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 and prepare to hold up your boarding pass for review. 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 continues to add 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 travelers 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.