Inside Sea-Tac Airport’s new International Arrivals Facility

Several colorful sculptures hang above empty baggage claims at Sea-Tac Airport's International Arrivals Facility.

The “Chalchiuhtlicue” sculptures in the baggage area are by artist Marela Zacarías. | Photo by Sea-Tac Airport

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Hold onto your Toblerones. Sea-Tac Airport recently revealed its long-anticipated International Arrivals Facility (IAF) at a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week, which could be a game-changer for overseas travelers when it officially opens this spring.

The $986 million project was one of the airport’s largest in history with an attempt to streamline the customs process, add more space for passengers, and go all-out when it comes to the artsy elements. Here’s what all the hoopla’s about.

Wait, is that a plane below my feet? ✈️

The biggest wow factor will be the 780-ft long pedestrian walkway that connects the south concourse to the facility’s main arrival area. It’s a bridge the size of the Space Needle hanging 85-ft over an active taxiway, with room for Boeing 747 + 777 aircrafts to pass underneath. Those strolling across can also see views of Mt. Rainier and the Olympics.

Legroom + eye candy ✈️

Your arrival experience will get quite the upgrade, too, with:

  • Eight more international gates, and double the hourly passenger capacity — 2,600 fliers will be able to pass through at a time
  • 100,000-sqft of terrazzo floor sourced from local stones, which evoke certain PNW beach vibes
  • A striking, five-piece sculpture by artist Marela Zacarías that stands out over the baggage claim carousels — inspired by the colors of the San Juan Islands

Clear the runway ✈️

If you’re wondering how IAF might impact future vacay plans, Delta said that the airline expects to offer nearly 45 weekly, nonstop flights to destinations like Amsterdam, Paris, London, and Tokyo by August. Alaska Airlines’s partnerships with international carriers should get a similar boost.

Though there’s no specific date set for IAF’s official opening, Sea-Tac continues to work on the finishing touches, which includes a key stress test — flushing all the toilets at once.

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