More than two and a half million passengers expected at Sea-Tac for holidays

Shopping malls won’t be the only busy places this holiday season. From December 15-January 2, more than two and a half million passengers are expected to pass through Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the nation’s ninth-busiest airport.

In excess of 2,507,200 travelers are expected to arrive, depart, or connect to other destinations through Sea-Tac.  The three most heavily-traveled days are forecast to be:

Friday, December 22 (157,800);

Thursday Dec. 21 (154,900);

Friday, Dec. 15 (152,500);

The least-traveled days are:

Sunday, December 31 (99,700);

Monday, January 1 (108,700);

Sunday, Dec. 24 (109,200).

Shortest Distance Is Not a Straight Line:

Sea-Tac reminds travelers coming to the airport that the direct route may not be the quickest. Drivers coming from Seattle and points north may want to consider staying on I-5 and get off at Exit 152/South 188th Street. By heading west and then north onto International Boulevard (Highway 99), drivers can enter the airport garage or terminal loop via S. 182nd Street.

The south entrances are also an option for drivers coming from the west side on Highway 509. Instead of exiting on Highway 518, continue on to 188th, and then turn north on International Boulevard.

For suggested alternative routes to access Sea-Tac, check out this video-

Drivers are reminded that parking on the shoulders of the Airport Expressway is not allowed, and motorists will be ticketed by Port of Seattle Police.

Busy Signal:

The airport’s cell phone lot is popular with drivers waiting to pick up travelers. But during busy times, getting out of the lot can be a challenge. We suggest when exiting the lot, turn right onto S. 170th Street and then go south on International Boulevard, again entering the parking garage or loop around to the terminals.

Another option is to use one of the airport’s 13,000 parking spaces in the garage and enjoy a more leisurely airport experience. At a cost of only $4 for an hour, motorists can park and walk to the terminal to meet an arriving or drop off a departing traveler. This way you can completely avoid the congested drives!

If you do decide to use the airport drives, Port of Seattle Police traffic officers will be directing traffic to keep cars moving on the departure and arrival drives.  To ease congestion, motorists are reminded to think opposite – drop off at arrivals and pick up at departures.

The easiest way to get to Sea-Tac for the holidays is to leave the car at home and take public transit (buses or Link Light Rail), taxis or rideshare services.  Travelers who take light rail to the airport can hitch a ride on complementary electric carts to make their way to or from the terminal and train station.  

                                                     – Port of Seattle