Here’s how to skip the wait as SEA Airport experiences ‘busiest day ever’

SEA-TAC, Wash. — It’s the day before Thanksgiving and across the country, thousands of people are jumping in a car, train, or even a plane to get to their final destination.

At the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, officials projected Wednesday to be the busiest day of the week with an estimated 175,000 people making their way through the airport.

The second busiest day is Sunday, November 26th (171,000), with the third busiest day expected on Saturday, November 25th (167,000).

The airport hasn’t received the official number of people who made their way through SeaTac Wednesday but expects to know by early Thursday morning.

According to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport spokesperson, Perry Cooper, if the number initially projected is off, it may only be off, “by only one or two percent.”

In total, a little over a million will come through the airport between now and Monday. Officials with Sea-Tac airport recommend travelers arrive at their terminal two hours before their flight if they’re flying domestically and three hours if they’re flying internationally.

One family we spoke to showed up three hours early for their flight to Texas.

“It looks pretty calm right now but since it’s the start of Thanksgiving it’s going to be pretty crazy,” said 11-year-old Hriday Gupta who’s traveling with his family.

In the rush of people flying in and out of Seattle, another traveler coming from Washington D.C said getting to Seattle has been busy and said when it comes to traveling during the holidays.

“Wake up early. I don’t care if you have clear, wake up on time because you’re going to need the extra time to get here. There’s a lot of traffic in Seattle here specifically,” said Essence Winston.

With plenty of passengers to keep the airport full, ongoing construction in ticketing areas and baggage claim could also exacerbate travel delays so here are some of the best tips when traveling:

  • SEA Spot Saver: “If you don’t have pre-check or any of our other trusted traveling programs like clear TSA spot saver is a virtual reservation for a 15-minute period in checkpoint, it’s free, and you can do it 5 days in advance and jump the line for general screening passengers,” said Perry Cooper
  • Avoid the ticketing counters: Many airlines like Alaska encourage passengers to check in and get their boarding pass online.
  • Be EARLY: Cooper told KIRO 7 that all passengers flying domestically should be in the terminal two hours early, and if you’re flying internationally to make it three hours early.
  • Plan ahead with pick-ups: If you’re picking up passengers this week don’t add to the congestion in arrivals by parking at the curb. Head to the cell phone lot or park for 90 minutes free in general parking (all levels except the fourth floor) between 8 p.m. and midnight. This free 90-minute parking is an extension to a pilot program introduced this past weekend.
  • Parking: Know where to park and budget time to park and enter the terminal. There’s long-term and short-term parking on site and many park-and-ride shuttle options. Choose which option is best for you and explore the options available by clicking here.