Heavy volumes expected at Sea-Tac for Memorial Day weekend travelers

SEATAC, Wash. — Memorial Day weekend is off to an early start at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Airport officials say Thursday and Friday will be the busiest days there, and that travel is back up to pre-pandemic levels, like what they were seeing in 2019.

“There’s definitely a lot more cars than I’m usually used to,” said Rigo Ambriz.

“Usually, I would get here about an hour and a half before my flight, but because of the craziness, we actually came three hours ahead,” said Adriana Suarez.

Airport officials said Thursday that they are expecting about 161,000 passengers, and on Friday, that number is expected to climb by at least 10,000.

“It’s a lot of people. I’m from a really small place, so this is a little bit overwhelming,” said Tiffany Webb.

The rule of thumb is to arrive two hours before your boarding time if you’re flying domestically, and three hours if you have an international flight.

“If your flight time is anywhere from that 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. - 10 a.m. time frame, that’s probably going to be our busiest time,” said Port of Seattle Aviation Communication and Marketing Program Manager, Chris Guizlo.

Now, there’s a way to cut down the wait at TSA. SEA Spot Saver is a free service and it gets you to the front of TSA within 15 minutes.

One reservation can accommodate up to ten travelers. You can make a reservation online five days ahead or even a few hours before your flight.

For travelers who have TSA PreCheck, just this week, the agency announced a change to accommodate the busy travel season.

“Individuals who are 13 to 17, if they are traveling with their parent or guardian and that parent or guardian has PreCheck on their boarding pass, and the teenager has PreCheck on their boarding pass, they can all go through the pre-check line together,” said Guizlo.

If you are parking your car, give yourself extra time to find a spot.

“Give yourself an extra probably 30 to 45 minutes. It’s busy in there finding a parking space. Check the edges of the garage,” said Guizlo.