Tips for fall holiday travel at Sea-Tac Airport revealed
The fall holiday travel season gets underway with one of the busiest days of the period this Friday, Nov. 16 and an estimated half of a million travelers during the busiest week at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Even though this is not the busiest travel season of the year at Sea-Tac, we do see many infrequent travelers during the holidays that can benefit from our annual holiday travel tips.
The busiest day for the upcoming holiday period will be the day before Thanksgiving with almost 91,000 passengers projected to go through the airport. The next busiest day will be the Sunday after Thanksgiving (86,856 passengers) when travelers begin to return home from the holiday.
What are the slowest travel days? Thanksgiving day and the following Friday, when only a bit more than 65,000 travelers will be on hand.
Those numbers are still much lower than an average summer travel day, when Sea-Tac sees about 100,000 passengers per day.
With that in mind, this is a good time to see what’s new; review travel tips; and check out the latest passenger traffic information, special offers, and links for additional information.
Traffic Numbers at Sea-Tac Airport
• The busiest travel days for the Thanksgiving period are projected to be Wednesday, Nov. 21 (90,877 passengers), Sunday, Nov. 25 (86,856), Friday, Nov. 16 (86,614) and Monday, Nov. 26 (84,168).
• This period is NOT the busiest time of the year for Sea-Tac. The high days for the period are in the top third busiest days for the year, but they are well below summer averages. Other airports do see their busiest periods during the winter holidays, mostly airports with large connection traffic such as LAX, Denver or Chicago. But not Sea-Tac.
• An average summer day (June-August) will see about 100,000 passengers (inbound and outbound) through the airport and is the peak air travel time for Sea-Tac.
• In terms of travelers, August is traditionally the busiest month of the year followed by July, June and May [by contrast December is 7th and November 10th].
Traffic numbers for 2012
• Sea-Tac is projecting to see a record number of passengers in 2012. Through September, overall traffic is up 1.5 percent, right on track with the projected increase for the year. In 2011, Sea-Tac recorded a record 32.8 million passengers.
• Read more statistical information on Sea-Tac passenger traffic.
• Waiting to pick-up passengers? Take advantage of the cell phone parking lot and the new QR code that you can scan for the most recent flight arrival information.
• Pathfinders throughout the terminal use iPads to help travelers with quick information.
• For users of electronics, take advantage of more than 250 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!
• Find out about new concessions options, TSA security updates and even the new rental car facility at Sea-Tac Traveler Updates
Tips for picking up out-of-town arrivals
• Pickup on the departures 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.
• 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. From Nov. 12 to 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
• 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.
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.
Find more information on these and other travel tips for those heading to the airport or picking up passengers on our website.