How to beat the lines as Sea-Tac prepares for record-breaking season

SEATTLE — Less than two weeks until Christmas and the Sea-Tac Airport is now in one of its busiest times of the year.

AAA is estimating that this will be a record-breaking year for air travel. It expects 7.5 million people to take to the skies, shattering the record set back in 2019 of 7.3 million. Friday Sea-Tac saw its second busiest day of the holiday travel season.

“This is the longest probably I’ve ever been in a TSA pre-check line,” Halle Jensen said. “But we got here with enough time, so we knew we weren’t going to miss the flight.” The Pre-Check line was about as long as the general boarding lines. However, wait times across the board were roughly twenty minutes.

“Today we’re seeing about 168,000 passengers go through so it’s the second busiest travel day of the holiday period here through New Years,” Perry Cooper, a spokesman for the airport, said. “The morning period is our busiest time so TSA’s been getting all their staff up to the highest level they can get to too.”

If you don’t have Pre-Check, you can use Spot-Saver or Clear to beat the long lines.

“It’s faster and we travel a lot, and it makes a big difference,” Dina Garcia said. “I was like I’m so glad we have that Clear because it’s going to be way faster.” Regardless of what line you’re in, you still need to get to the airport at least two hours before your flight.

“Rather be here a little bit early and get through early versus being late and then you show up and hanging out in a longer line than you expected and still waiting to get to your plane,” Cooper said.

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