Travel Guide to Seattle Airport

The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is commonly referred to as the Sea-Tac Airport. It is located 14 miles from downtown Seattle and 18 miles from downtown Tacoma. It is the largest airport in the Pacific Northwest. In 2018, Sea-Tac was the eighth busiest airport in the United States with almost 50 million passengers.

Seattle Airport has 34 airlines that serve 91 domestic and 28 international destinations. The airport is a hub for Alaska Airlines and Delta Airlines.  Since 2014, Delta Air Lines has increased its international flights and has nearly tripled the number of gates they occupy. This has caused some capacity constraints, which has led to a renovation project that will begin this year in 2020. 

The rapid growth of Sea-Tac Airport is great for the economy of the area, but it means that travelers need to allow plenty of time to navigate this busy airport. Officials recommend arriving at Sea-Tac Airport at least 2 hours before domestic flights and 3 hours before international flights. Read on for more tips on how to survive the Seattle Tacoma International Airport.


Seattle-Tacoma has four concourses and two satellite buildings. There are 80 gates in total. The four concourses form an “X” shape and in the middle are restaurants and retail stores. The two satellite buildings are connected by an underground system called the Satellite Transit System. All international flights arrive to the South Satellite Terminal. There are plans for renovations that will add international gates to Concourse A.

Airport Parking

SEA Airport has more than 12,100 parking spaces for both short- and long-term parking. General Parking in the SEA Parking Garage is within walking distance to the entrance of the airport. The cost is $32 per day and $149 per week. If your company has a partnership with Sea-Tac Airport, you might be eligible for Corporate Parking, which runs about $22 per day.

Off-site parking is far cheaper than the on-site parking options at Sea-Tac Airport. There are several parking lots and garages surrounding the airport that offer low rates, free shuttles, and 24/7 security. If you need long term parking, it is best to use an off-site parking company. You can find great deals, read reviews, check travel times, and more. Book at least one month in advance for the biggest savings on parking at SeaTac.

Getting To and From

Public Transit

The Seattle-Tacoma Airport has two public transportation options: the Link Light Rail and the King County Metro Transit Bus. The Link Light rail extends from SeaTac to the University of Washington, with stops in downtown Seattle and the stadium district. There are bus routes that extend from the city of Tacoma to downtown Seattle. 

Rental Cars

Planning to rent a car from Seattle-Tacoma Airport? All rental car companies operate at an off-site rental car facility There are free dedicated shuttle buses that run between the terminals and the rental car facility, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Find more information about renting a car at the Port of Seattle Airport website.


SEA Airport has three app-based ride-share providers: Uber, Lyft, and Wingz. If you reserved a premium Uber ride, you can meet at the baggage claim level. If not, you will meet your ride on the 3rd floor of the airport parking garage. Taxis are also available on the 3rd floor of the airport parking garage. You can choose between a taxi with a flat rate or a metered rate. Flat rate taxis base their price off the zip code of the destination. Metered taxis have a small fee and then charge per mile and/or time.

Airport Lounges

There are seven airport lounges available at SeaTac Airport if you are willing to purchase a day pass, annual membership, or pay at the door. Lounges typically offer free alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, snacks, wifi, and business facilities. The cheapest airport lounge at Sea-Tac Airport is The Club at SEA (South and Central Terminals) and it costs $40 per person. Sea-Tac also has a USO Lounge for members of the US Military and their families.


The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was built in 1944, but the first concourse wasn’t opened until July 1959. New concourses have been added and renovated over time as well as additional runways. The airport was almost renamed in 1983 to honor the late U.S. Senator Henry Martin “Scoop” Jackson. However, the city of Tacoma rejected the name change because they had previously provided money to the airport with the promise that the name of the airport would always incorporate the city’s name.

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