Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), commonly referred to as Sea-Tac, is situated between Seattle and Tacoma in the Puget Sound region of Washington state. It is the primary airport for the state and the United States' Pacific Northwest region, and is a hub for flights to Alaska, Asia, and the interior Northwest.
Alaska Airlines, despite its name, actually has its largest hub at Sea-Tac, with frequent daily services to Anchorage, Alaska. Delta Air Lines also maintains a hub, with numerous destinations in Asia, Europe, and the United States (including Hawaii and Alaska).
ArrivalsFor domestic flights that arrive at the North Satellite or South Satellite, ride the train to the Central Terminal to claim your baggage and exit the airport.
For international flights, all immigration, baggage claim, and customs declaration processes are conducted at the lower level of the South Satellite. Sea-Tac Airport is equipped with Global Entry and Mobile Passport Control express lanes. After clearing customs and immigration, if you're continuing on another flight, you must re-check your checked luggage and clear security in the South Satellite to return to the gates; allow about 15-30 minutes for this process alone, plus the time at the immigration, baggage claim and customs. If you're exiting the airport, an isolated side of the train will take you to Central Terminal's baggage claim; you can either bring your luggage with you, or deposit it to be taken to the Central Terminal at carousel #1.
DeparturesCheck-in and security screening for all flights are conducted at the Central Terminal. While you may check the waiting times of all 5 security checkpoints at the TV screen, checkpoint 3 in the middle, the largest of the bunch, is usually the fastest despite long lines, particularly when detection dogs are being used. But, if you see a very short line at one of the other checkpoints, it may indeed be quicker.
Popular flightsSeattle is the main gateway to Asia, Alaska, Europe, and Hawaii from the Northwestern United States. Alaska Airlines and, increasingly, Delta Air Lines operate numerous daily flights to destinations all across the United States and the world. Seattle is the main jumping-off point to Alaska, with numerous daily flights to Anchorage, Fairbanks, Ketchikan, and Juneau. Alaska Airlines, Delta, and Hawaiian all fly several daily flights between Seattle/Tacoma and the islands of Hawaii, especially Honolulu. Near-hourly flights serve Portland, Boise, Spokane, and daily regional flights fly to smaller cities in Washington, Montana, Idaho, and Oregon. There are also frequent flights from Seattle/Tacoma to major cities on the western half of continental US Denver, Phoenix, Houston, Chicago, San Francisco, and the Los Angeles area. Transcontinental flights to the East Coast are also increasingly common.
International flights connect Seattle to major west Coast cities and Toronto in Canada, Mexico City and Guadalajara in Mexico, many major European and East Asian cities, and Dubai in the Middle East.
The Central Link light rail is the easiest and cheapest way to get to major areas of Seattle.
The rail station is connected by a bridge to the parking garage, which is in turn connected to the Central Terminal by several bridges. Be warned: it's about a 5-10 minute walk from the Central Terminal to the rail platform. From Baggage Claim, follow signs for "Link Light Rail."
The light rail operates M-Sa 5AM-1AM, Su 6AM-midnight and runs every 6-15 minutes. Fares are $2.25-3.25 depending on distance ($1.50 for children under 18). A ride to Downtown Seattle costs $3.00 and takes about 40 minutes. The train also stops in Tukwila, South Seattle, SoDo, and the International District before reaching Downtown, and continues past Downtown to Capitol Hill and the University of Washington. The train also travels south to Angle Lake Station.
For travel to Everett, there are two options that both connect through Link Light Rail. Both are accessed by taking Link Light Rail northbound to International District/Chinatown Station, head upstairs to ground level and walk west towards King Street Station (the brick building across 4th Ave). Then your choices are:
- Sounder commuter trains only run on weekdays, going to Everett in the evenings (4PM-7PM), and coming from Everett to Seattle in the mornings (6AM-10AM), although there is one "reverse commute" run on an Amtrak train.
- Bus route 510/512 travels northwards to Lynnwood (45 mins) and Everett (60 mins). The fare is $3.75 for adults and $2.75 for children under 18. 510 is the rush hour service, which skips stops in North Seattle, Mountlake Terrace, and Lynnwood. The stop is opposite King Street Station and right next to the large "Union Station" building on the corner of 4th Ave & S Jackson St. The bus comes at least every 15 minutes Monday-Saturday and every 30 minutes on Sundays.
The Sounder train is also a possibility for getting to Tacoma, but besides similar limitations in its commuter-oriented schedule, going by bus is 30 minutes faster.
By busThe easiest way to get from the airport to Lakewood, Tacoma, West Seattle, and Bellevue is from the airport bus stop on the arrivals level at the south end of the Central Terminal (follow signs from Baggage Claim for "ST 560/574"). Both routes stop at Door 02 of the Central Terminal, just outside Baggage Carousel 1.
- Route 560 offers all-day direct service to West Seattle and Bellevue from the airport. The fare is $2.75 for adults and $1.50 for children under 18. The bus runs both directions from the same stop, so check the sign above the windshield: for West Seattle it will say "560 Westwood Village" and for Bellevue it will say "560 Bellevue."
- Route 574 offers all-day direct service to Lakewood, Tacoma, and Federal Way from the airport. The fare is $3.75 for adults and $2.75 for children under 18. Transfer to Intercity Rt 612 or 620 at Tacoma Dome Station, Lakewood P&R or Lakewood Sounder Station to continue to Lacey and Olympia.
King County Metro is more useful if your final destination is within the vicinity (up to 10 miles) from the airport. Metro's airport bus stop is on International Blvd, downstairs from the Link Light Rail station.
- Route 156 will take you northbound to Tukwila's Southcenter Mall or southbound to Highline College
- Route 180 goes westbound to Burien Transit Center, southbound to the towns of Kent and Auburn.
- The RapidRide Line A travels to Federal Way to the south along International Blvd/Pacific Hwy (Hwy 99)
You can catch a bus from Downtown Seattle to Albany, Olympia, Bellingham, Portland, Vancouver BC, Spokane or to other points in Central and Eastern Washington. Greyhound's depot is easily accessible from the Stadium Light Rail Station. BoltBus offers 2 or 3-hourly bus services to Bellingham, Vancouver BC, and Portland from directly outside the International District/Chinatown Station in Downtown (stop is along 5th Ave next to the International District/Chinatown light rail Station entrance/exit).
Jefferson Transit Rt #7 & Kitsap Transit Rt #390 provide public transportation from Port Townsend through Poulsbo and Bainbridge Island where travelers take the ferry into downtown Seattle. Jefferson Transit do provide a printable schedule and directions on using public transportation from Port Townsend to SeaTac on their website . They also have arrangements with Coast Gateway Hotel (see below under 'sleep') to offer discounts, to those who used this option to get to SeaTac and have to stay overnight for an early flight.
By shuttle busMost of these shuttle services pick up passengers from the bus terminal at the southern end of the main terminal building at door 00, outside Baggage Carousel 1. However, some shuttles (namely the ShuttleExpress, Speedi Shuttle, Downtown Airporter, hotel shuttles and off-site parking shuttles) pick up from the third floor of the parking garage, across from the central terminal.
phone: +1 425 981-7000Operates both a shared and private shuttle service from the airport to/from hotels and residences within the Tacoma-Seattle-Bellevue-Everett corridor and its vicinity.
phone: +1 206 693-7100Door to door, shared ride shuttle for the greater Seattle Metropolitan Area.
phone: +1 425 981-7000Operated by ShuttleExpress, service to selected downtown Seattle hotels.
BellAir AirporterService to points north of Everett (Bellingham, Bellingham International Airport, Marysville, Mount Vernon, Anacortes and the San Juan Islands Ferry Terminal); and to East (rural) King County and Central Washington (North Bend, Cle Elum, Ellensburg and Yakima).
Olympic Bus LinesService to the northern rim of the Olympic Peninsula (Port Angeles, Kingston, Sequim, Port Townsend) with a twice daily departure. The bus cross the Puget Sound on the Edmonds-Kingston Ferry (SR-104). Additional stops at the Greyhound Station and King Street Station.
Capital AeroporterFor areas mainly south of the airport (Tacoma, Olympia, Auburn, Kent, Chehalis, Centralia, Shelton). Transfer to Grays Harbor Transit Rt#40 at the downtown Olympia Greyhound station to get to Aberdeen and Hoaquim.
phone: +1 360 876-1737Service to Ft Lewis/McChord, Tacoma, Gig Harbor and the Kitsap Peninsula. Their buses/shuttles head south and use the Tacoma Narrows Bridge rather than Seattle-Bremerton ferry.
phone: +1 360 378-7438Direct service to Friday Harbor and Roche Harbor on San Juan Island.
phone: +1 360 679-4003Service to Whidbey Island and NASWI.
phone: +1 509 293-5773A shared shuttle service that operates several daily departures to Wenatchee and Peshastin in Eastern Washington.
By taxi or ride-hailingAll taxis and rides can be hailed at the third floor of the parking garage.
The ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft are by far the cheapest and easiest option; a ride to downtown or Capitol Hill would generally cost $20 plus an airport surcharge of $5. Go down to level 3 of the parking lot to the pickup area, then request a ride using the app.
The taxi situation is a bit of a mess. Only one company has the honor to park its taxis at the airport, although it's technically a "for-hire", not a taxi (their cars have no meters; you agree on a price up front). Despite having many regulations, taxis at Sea-Tac will try to overcharge. Be sure to confirm the fixed rate otherwise they'll use their meter which will end up costing more.
phone: +1 206 242-6200Blue and yellow cabs. Sister company Eastside for Hire has red cabs.
phone: +1 206 622-6500
phone: +1 206 522-8800
phone: +1 206 242-6200Black cars. Their pricing model is to randomly use their meter, charge a flat rate and/or charge surge pricing which means they will charge anywhere from $44 to $100. If you're not comfortable settling on a price beforehand or arguing when they try to overcharge you later, wait for a fixed-rate taxi. If it's the middle of the night, you may not get a choice as E-cab has significantly more taxis.
Limos and towncars can be competitively priced with taxis, making them good value for a bit of extra space and comfort.
phone: +1 425 453-2769This service will take you to any city in Western Washington, including Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond and Mercer Island.
STILAphone: +1 206 243-1811Towncars, SUVs, and limos. Use the touchscreen monitors on the Baggage Claim level near the escalators and press "Ground Transportation", or find their stands on the third floor of the parking garage.
By carIt takes roughly 30 minutes to drive to Downtown Seattle, Tacoma, and Bellevue in normal traffic; however, it can take well over an hour during busy commute periods.
Parking is provided in a single building that can accommodate 13,000 cars, the largest of its kind under one roof in the world. All spots are eligible for short-term or long-term parking. Level 4 has the easiest access to the terminal, as all the skybridges are on that level, but levies different fares compared to floors 2-3 and 5-8. The level 4 parking rates are $4 per hour, $35 daily. Other floors are $3 per hour, $28 daily, $130 for 7 days. Discounts may apply for all charges if you use a parking card.
By rental carThe rental car facility is located off-site; a free shuttle service operates 24 hours a day between the central terminal and the rental car facility. Stops for this shuttle are located at the far ends of the central terminal, outside Baggage Carousels 1 and 16. All of the major companies are at the car rental facility, where you can compare prices and pick up your car. The car rental facility is also the same place to return your car, directly accessible from SR 518.
Renting from the airport will incur an 11% "airport tax" surcharge. You can avoid this fee by renting from a downtown or other non-airport location, which may save a bit of money on the rental, but those savings would be offset somewhat by the expense and hassle of getting yourself and your luggage to the rental location.
Access towards the airportThe airport is easily accessible from both I-5 and I-405 for travel from Seattle, Tacoma, and Bellevue. If travelling via I-5 from Seattle or Tacoma, take exit 154B for SR 518 westbound. Coming from I-405, just go straight ahead. From there on, the way to the airport is clearly marked.
Alternatively, if I-5 from Seattle is crowded, as has been always the case during the rush hour, you can take the Alaskan Way Viaduct (SR 99), then bear right onto SR 509. Exit to SW 148th Street and turn left for SR 518, then follow signs to the airport.
By bicycleIn a city as bike-friendly as Seattle, it's no surprise that there are facilities for biking to the airport and flying with your bike, whether you rode there or brought your bike on public transit. A bike assembly station near baggage claims 9 and 10 has tools and air pumps. Short term bike racks are available, and there is long-term storage near baggage claims 12 and 13.
There are over 100 permanent and rolling art masterpieces created by 85 local artists throughout the airport, most at the ticketing centers and then scattered throughout the whole area. Some of them may be unnoticeable enough to be seen though, such as at the supporting columns, on walls towards the restroom, on the ceiling, even at the supporting wall of the runway. Most of the main attractions though, is along the walk from the Center Terminal towards Concourse A.
For the kids, there is a dedicated playing area for them between the Central terminal and Concourse A. There is also a big and satisfactory mother's room inside.
Alaska Airlines LoungeRegardless of your class of travel with Alaska Airlines, you can enter if you enroll in its membership program or purchase a one-day pass for use at the airline's lounges nationwide.
The largest and perhaps the best lounge at the airport.
Delta Sky ClubA premium lounge with showers, food, and a bar for Delta Air Lines passengers holding premium tickets or who are SkyClub Elite members.
United ClubAvailable to Star Alliance Gold and United customers with a premium ticket.
British Airways Club Lounge / First Lounge
Eat and drink
The world famous coffee chain originating from Seattle, Starbucks, has a coffee shop at all areas but Concourse D and South Satellite, where their sister chain Seattle's Best Coffee takes a turn.
Pre-Security and Baggage ClaimThere are only a couple of restaurants available outside of security.
Alki BakeryBaked goods, salads, sandwiches, coffee.
Diva EspressoDeli sandwiches and salads, and micro-roasted coffee.
Vintage Washington Wine BarSmall bites
Anthony'sA mockup of what you would expect from its base at Seattle harbor, less the ocean view. Premium fish and seafood products from the Pacific Northwest. Try the Puget Sound oysters on the half shell, Alaskan King Salmon, and its signature dish, Wild Mountain Blackberry Cobbler. Accompany with a glass of Washington wine, fine china and silverware.
Dilettante Chocolates & Mocha CaféTreat yourself to a mocha, hot chocolate, and other confections, or buy a gift box to take home.
StarbucksThe Seattle-based coffee chain has small kiosks throughout the airport. All but one are open only from 4AM to 11PM; the location next to Vino Volo are open 24 hours.
Vino VoloA wine house, a wide range of wine to taste and shipped home by the bottle (they must not be opened yet if you bring it onboard your flight). The limited food menu is very good, but is essentially just appetizers which are mostly too small to make a meal of.
FloretCharming restaurant serving vegetarian and vegan food in a space with plenty of natural light and views. Breakfast all day.
Seattle TaproomFor its namesake, selection of beers from microbreweries in Seattle and handcrafted ales. Spicy chicken wings, chili cheese fries, beer braised bratwurst and honey lime chicken are worth to try for here, among burgers and sandwiches.
Casa del AgaveMexican specialty such as enchiladas and quesadillas. Try its Ultimate Margarita.
Rel'Lish Burger LoungeBurgers, salads, breakfast, and drinks from local chef Kathy Casey.
- Fast food: McDonald's, Quiznos (toasted sandwiches), Sbarro (pizza, pasta)
Beecher's Handmade CheeseSeattle's very own brand of cheese, crafted at the iconic Pike Place Market. Try its "World's Best" mac and cheese, award-winning artisan cheeses, breakfast, sandwiches, and espresso.
Dish D'LishGrab-and-go salads and bowls from local chef Kathy Casey. Gluten-free and healthy options.
Waji'sOperated by Uwajimaya, Seattle's largest (and best) Asian supermarket. Not only Japanese cuisines, especially sushi, but also throughout Asia. Wraps, salads, entrees, and alcohol can be bought here.
Wolfgang Puck Gourmet ExpressIf you wish to have a sneak taste on what a gourmet restaurant has to offer, head over to this restaurant. Wolfgang's signature Chinois salad, classics, gourmet pizzas, and sandwich.
D GatesOptions at D gates are paltry. Eat at the Central Terminal or other gates instead.
Great American Bagel Bakery12 gourmet bagels, scones, muffins, pastries, soups and salads. Try the famous Tomozo, a jumbo steamed baked bagel dipped in a zesty pizza sauce covered with mozzarella cheese.
Bigfoot Food & SpiritsEat like a bigfoot! Its favorites are omelets piled high with veggies, meat and fresh cheese, served with fresh potato bakers. Rob's Beast Feast comes with the works including ribs, smoked sausage, BBQ chicken, baked beans, potato salad, corn, and a fresh corn muffin. Local beers and wines.
Great American Bagel Bakery12 gourmet bagels, scones, muffins, pastries, soups and salads. Try the famous Tomozo, a jumbo steamed baked bagel dipped in a zesty pizza sauce covered with mozzarella cheese.
Seattle Seahawks 12 ClubThe local American football team maintains its presence in the airport by a restaurant. Pretty much crowded only when the Seahawks play. Simple choices though such as sandwiches, nachos, quesadillas, and complete breakfast menu.
South SatelliteSouth Satellite has few restaurants, and even fewer that are worth a visit. If you have time, search out food in the Central Terminal or gates before heading to the Satellites.
Dungeness Bay Seafood HouseAll things of the luxury Dungeness crab and seafood.
KoboAsian entrees, Japanese udon and sushi, wrap sandwiches. Breakfast menu of overpriced and underseasoned rice and egg bowls or biscuits and gravy.
For shopping options, more varieties can be found at the Central Terminal or Concourse C.
Hudson Newsaddress: all areas of the airportThe dominating bookshop at the airport. Not only books, but travelers' needs, snacks, and bottled soft drinks.
Dufry Duty Freeaddress: Central Terminal, North and South satellitesThe only duty-free shops at the airport. Everyone can shop here, but domestic travelers may not carry cigarettes or tobacco.
Emilie Sloanaddress: Concourse CThis local brand is famous for its signature product: rainproof bags. Basically bags of all shapes, sizes, and colors, all with that special feature.
Fireworksaddress: Central Terminal, Satellite NArts and crafts.
Made in Washingtonaddress: Central Terminal, Satellite NFor last-minute gifts from Seattle and the state of Washington. Prices are the same as its shops outside the airport.
InMotion Entertainmentaddress: Concourse CThe only gadget center in the airport. Test the headphones, rent a movie, or look at cutting edge technology.
Planewearaddress: Concourse CClothes and fashion, but with a touch of airplane, such as Pan-Am vintage motifs, bags, passport cover, or pen.
Device charger outlets can be found under the seat on all concourses, but they are spotty. If you are lucky enough to depart from gate B4, there are 25 outlets under the seats. If you find none, there are dedicated charging booths at some point within the airport except the satellite terminals.
If you are using the Digiboo internet service, you can pay to download a movie or TV show at its booths scattered throughout the airport. Just swipe your credit card, then you can download with a USB or WiFi.
Mail services are offered at Baggage Storage (USPS, FedEx, and UPS), plus copying/fax and notary. There are also "Send-It-Home" kiosks near every security checkpoint: in case you accidentally packed a small prohibited item (like a pocketknife), you can buy a bubble envelope and mail it to yourself. U.S. $12, Canada $18, international $25. You can also purchase stamps from any ATM in the airport, and drop your letter or postcard in one of the U.S. mailboxes found throughout the airport.
There is only one shop for baggage storage, provided by Smarte Carte, but its facility is complete. It is also one of the only two airports in the U.S. that offers frozen storage. You can also rent a car seat, stroller, and wheelchair here; and buy locks, cases, pet kennels, and rifle cases. Vehicle battery jumper service.
There is a free children's play area (Near gate A1). For nursing mothers, there are several nursing stations, with at least one near each concourse.
phone: +1 206 901-9268address: 18525 36th Avenue South, SeaTacClose to the airport but nestled in the green wetlands, that is what makes the lodge unique. Everything uses sustainable energy, grows its own farms, collects rainwater, and does not use a lot of energy. The room is well lit but not overly bright to help soothe the eyes. Exotic enough to hold a marriage or a corporate stay here.
phone: +1 206 248-8200address: 18415 International Blvd
phone: +1 206 241-2200address: 13050 48th Avenue South, SeattleA little bit further but very good option. Close to the Southcenter Shopping Mall and the Museum of Flight. Large rooms with fridge and microwave. Complimentary continental breakfast and use of spa and swimming pool.
phone: +1 206 244-0810address: 13910 International Blvd., TukwilaSelected rooms have whirlpool bathtub. Free breakfast in the hall. Complimentary airport service.
phone: +1 206 248-0901address: 16838 International Blvd., SeaTacA recently renovated facility with rooms that have many more facilities: your very own desk to work at, coffee, microwave, and ironing board. Free Wi-Fi service, up to 10 pages of fax, and local calls. Free airport transfer. You can also make use of the fitness center.
phone: +1 206 244-1230address: 17108 International Blvd., SeaTacThis is one of the oldest local establishments, standing by the airport since 1959. Rooms are decent with TV, Wi-Fi, and continental breakfast. Free airport shuttle to the airport at any time of day.
phone: +1 206 244-4800address: 17620 International Boulevard, SeaTacPerhaps the best hotel within the airport. Typical 5-star facilities like Hilton's standards, with swimming pools, fine bathrooms and spacious rooms. The in-house restaurant, Spencer’s for Steak and Chops, offers prime steak and seafoods.
phone: +1 206 204-0874address: 18900 47th Ave SNearest Motel 6 to Sea-Tac.
phone: +1 206 433-8188address: 3100 S 192nd