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How to Navigate Sea Tac Airport like a Pro

Sea Tac is celebrating 70 years this year. If you’ve visited Sea Tac airport recently, you will see that it is undergoing a huge renovation and a ton of changes. On KING 5 New Day Northwest, I recently shared tips for navigating Sea Tac Airport like a pro. Watch it here.

NAVIGATING SECURITY WAIT TIMES

GET TO THE AIRPORT 2-3 HRS AHEAD: Check traffic and security wait times before you leave the house so you know what your commute will look like. Arrive 2 hours before domestic flights, 3 hours before an international flight. I know it seems like a long time, but traffic and Sea Tac security lines can be wild cards and it’s better than missing your flight. 

BE A SMART PACKER: Pack light and carry on if you can. Avoid bringing home packed meals and empty your liquids before you get in line. This will save time and speed up lines for everyone. 

REVERSE YOUR PICK UP/DROP OFF: Think opposite. In the morning, drop off passengers at departures. In the evening meet you passengers at arrivals. 

INVEST IN TSA PRE-CHECK OR CLEAR: We have TSA Pre-check and it is a breeze. Checkpoint 1 and Checkpoint 4 have dedicated TSA Pre-check lanes. Check the Sea Tac airport app before you go to make sure your closest checkpoint is open before you go.

WHICH PROGRAM IS RIGHT FOR ME?

TSA PRE-CHECK: $85/5 YEARS: This can be the most affordable option for families. Kids under 12 can accompany you without TSA pre-check. The appointment literally took us 5 minutes and we had our TSA Pre-check Numbers within a week. 

GLOBAL ENTRY: $100/5 YEARS W/ PRE-CHECK. If you travel abroad frequently, for $15 more you can get Global Entry to navigate faster lines through immigration. Shortening the time clearing customs is a life saver after a long international flight when the whole family is jet lagged and exhausted 

CLEAR: $179/YEAR, FAMILY PLAN $50 per additional adult (up to 3) and kids under 18 can accompany a CLEAR adult without CLEAR. This can be pricey for a family but can be the fastest through the airport, and CLEAR also has other benefits and gets you into stadiums and other perks. Learn more about the best expedited security program for you and your family.

TECH TOOLS TO TRAVEL WITH 

DOWNLOAD THE SEATAC APP: This app is a dream to help navigate the shortest lines at security, look for nearby restaurants, shops and entertainment. 

AVOID BILL SHOCK TRAVELING ABROAD: If you are flying internationally, do you know if your plan covers your destination? Don’t land and discover that you are not covered. Check with your carrier before you fly. Plans like TMobile Simple Global offer unlimited texting and data in more than 210+ countries. Or call your carrier and buy a day pass for your destination. Many carriers won’t charge you for the pass unless you use it. 

CHECK YOUR WIRELESS PLAN FOR FREE TRAVEL PERKS: Some plans offer free music streaming MLB, NFL on the go and TMobile offers customers free inflight Go Go Wireless and Netflix on Us for after you land in the US. 

WHAT TO DO AT SEATAC

EAT! SEA-TAC HAS ADDED 16 NEW RESTAURANTS THIS YEAR: And there are more to come. Ballard Brew Hall in D Gate, Lucky Louies, Evergreens, a new and more in Central Terminal. One of my favorites is Cafe Floret in A Gate. Love the open and airy vibe (and dreamy cocktails and wallpaper!) you almost forget you are in the airport. 

LIVE MUSIC PROGRAM: You may have noticed the sweet sound of music on your last visit to Sea-Tac. The new music program offers music throughout the airport seven days a week. 

DAY PASSES FOR AIRPORT LOUNGES: Want to skip the crowds? You can buy a day pass for your airline’s lounge, or Sea Tac has two lounges – “The Club” is available at A and S gates for $40 bookable online. 

Want some more great ideas on what to do at the airport? Take the Port of Seattle’s Travel Personality quiz for more fun ideas

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