Traveling via plane can be fun — jet-setting over beautiful blue waters or rolling hills, taking in cloud formations, and landing in a completely different location in a matter of hours is unlike anything else.
The whole navigating the airport part? Less exciting, and sometimes pretty stressful. To help make your time at Sea-Tac Airport as smooth as possible, we’ve created a guide that covers everything from gates and parking to details on the airport’s many nonstop flights.
What to know
- TSA | Security line wait times can vary each day, but Sea-Tac recommends getting to the airport at least two hours before a domestic flight or three hours before an international flight. SEA Spot Saver app can help reserve your place in the security line. Pro tip: Since 80% of Seattle departures are scheduled in the morning, lines tend to lighten up after 11 a.m. — so book a midday flight, if you can.
- Map it out | If you’re like us and need to completely visualize a place before you step foot inside, these maps of the entire airport will be your saving grace.
- Food and drink | We’ve covered dining options before, but one big spot to know is Salty’s at the SEA at Central Terminal, which offers oysters, beer, and some nice views. The Order SEA app has certain food items delivered to your gate.
- Reminder | Thanks to a recent two-year extension, you will not need a REAL ID to board commercial flights in the US until May 7, 2025.
- Flight status | While we recommend staying updated via your respective airline, you can also check the airport’s dashboard for your flight status in a pinch.
Current airport updates
Sea-Tac is currently undergoing a five-year, $4.6 billion renovation project spread across one million sqft. This past year, the airport unveiled the new International Arrivals Facility and Central Terminal upgrades, the latter of which includes 100+ more chargers and extra seating (including rocking chairs).
Also coming down the pipeline are a C Concourse expansion and S Concourse renovation that will create new lounges, add more space for retail, and reconfigure the SEA Underground train.
And do you hear what we hear? Live music is back.
Parking, shuttles, and rideshare
Not everyone has a bestie who will drop everything to pick them up from their 3 a.m. landing.
For those that do, know that each lot and garage offers up to 20 minutes of free parking in the cell phone lot, $6 per hour in the general lot, and $7 per hour for terminal direct on the fourth floor of the lot. There’s also a new automated guidance system that helps you find a spot more efficiently.
Beyond that, the prices for longer periods are as listed:
- Daily parking | $24/day ($42 for terminal direct)
- Weekly parking | $169/week ($294 for terminal direct)
- Pre-booked stays | Prices vary (note: pre-booking is completely sold out for the holidays, but dates are available again in 2023)
Hate the thought of driving yourself? Try out a rideshare, shuttle, or the Light Rail that will take you to and from the terminal. These services are suggested by the airport:
- Wingz | Rideshare | Downtown to Sea-Tac rates start at $36.
- Light Rail | Train | SeaTac/Airport stop
- Premier | Shuttle | If you book online, you can save 10% on door-to-door fares.
The rideshare pick-up location is located at the third floor of the parking garage and the drop-off location is at the main terminal (likely near the arrival/baggage level at peak times).
Sea-Tac offers 119 nonstop flights — 91 domestic ones to every US region, plus 28 international flights to 18 countries. Here are five popular, nonstop international flights.
Pro tip: Remember that flight times and schedules will often change — you should rely on your respective airline for exact timing and to stay updated on any changes.
- Papeete, Tahiti | Air Nui Tahiti | Wednesdays and Sundays, 11:30 a.m.
- Tokyo, Japan | Japan Airlines, ANA, Delta | Daily, various times
- Cancún, Mexico | Delta, Alaska | Daily, 7:27 a.m. + 8:05 a.m.
- Paris, France | Delta, Air France | Daily, various times
- London, United Kingdom | Delta, American, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways | Daily, various times
Here are all the gates and their nearby popular amenities, shops, and lounges:
- A Gates | Terminal getaway spa, United Club, duty free shop, children’s play area, Little Free Library
- B Gates | Delta Assistance Center, Southwest Customer Service, charging stations
- C Gates | Alaska Airlines Lounge, nursing room, auditory assistance
- D Gates | Charging stations, The Good Traveler, Jabbrrbox work pods, nursing stations
- N Gates | Alaska Customer Service and diaper changing stations
- S Gates | Delta Assistance Center, currency exchange, massage chairs
- Central Terminal | Ticketing, airport information, Delta Sky Lounge, Centurion Lounge
Food and drink
Sea-Tac is a dining hub with dozens of restaurants, bars, and coffee shops for fliers wanting to grab bites and drinks before or between flights, like:
- Floret | A Gates | Menu highlights: Hand pies, egg sandwiches, and Stumptown coffee
- Africa Lounge | A Gates | Menu highlights: Spicy beef sambusas and wings
- Lou Lou Market and Bar | B Gates | Menu highlights: Prime rib French dip, seafood bisque, and Nutella crepes
- Poke to the Max | S Gates | Menu highlights: Poke salad with Ahi tuna, loco moco rice plate, and Spam musubi
- BrewTop Social | Central Terminal | Menu highlights: Pulled pork tacos and beer-battered cheese curds