‘Arrive early and be patient’: Memorial Day travel at SEA Airport to surge

As Memorial Day weekend is in view, the Port of Seattle said it will see a surge in numbers at Sea-Tac International Airport, with about “one-third more travelers than in 2021.”

According to a release, that number is about 80% of pre-pandemic numbers from 2019.

During Memorial Day weekend in 2019, the airport saw more than 178,000 travelers daily.

This year, airport officials are expecting more than 150,000 people to travel through the Sea-Tac International Airport on Friday and projects a drop-off the Friday before the holiday, with 137,000 passengers. On May 26, 134,000 people are expected to come through the airport.

While numbers will surge, travelers are asked to arrive early and be patient.

People who plan to drive to the airport and park there are being warned that parking will be a continuous challenge as it was just days ago that the Port of Seattle Announced that parking was at capacity.

Officials said more people are using private cars than choosing to use ride share or public transit, and pandemic-related closures reduced the number of parking stalls in the area. However, officials said public transit is the best option to avoid traffic.

Shuttle bus driver shortages have also affected the availability of off-site parking options for those who work at the airport.

Port officials said the busiest days for travel will be Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays and Mondays; the busiest times for the Transportation Security Administration checkpoints at the airport are 5 a.m. to 10 a.m., 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Some advice for travelers:

  • Get here early! Depending on your needs, you may need more time. Make sure you’re at the airport at least two hours before your boarding time for a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight.
  • Masks are no longer required at the airport, however, the CDC recommends wearing a mask during travel. Check your destination’s COVID-19 requirements for entry, and if needed, XpresCheck has testing available on the baggage claim level.
  • The SEA Airport parking garage continues to be busy. Think of alternate modes of travel to get to the airport or arrive an extra 45 minutes earlier to find a place to park.
  • Use SEA Spot Saver to reserve your spot in the TSA line and avoid congested security lines at the airport.
  • Download (or update!) the flySEA App for live checkpoint wait times. As a bonus, it also is a one-stop resource for traveler alerts, parking spot tracker, maps and more info.
  • Use Order SEA, our mobile ordering service, including gate delivery for food from all over the airport or pick-up so you can grab and go to your gate.