Security lines at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Sunday morning stretched into the parking garage, double-backing several times.
According to tweets from travelers, the wait was about 2.5 hours.
The official @flySEA account said wait times were at “challenging levels,” with “increased volumes.”
A reply said there was only one TSA worker for general boarding.
One traveler said they missed their flight after arriving to the airport 2.5 hours early.
According to a TSA spokesperson, all security lines were merged into a single queue, and once travelers reached the terminal, they were redirected to individual checkpoints.
The spokesperson said 24 of 29 screening lanes were open, and the two that are closed were due to equipment malfunction. The other three are part of the international arrivals.
Airport officials said lines stretched into the parking garage from about 8:15 a.m. to noon, driven by the highest volume of passengers the airport has seen since the pandemic.
The TSA spokesperson noted it is cruise ship season, and travelers arriving from cruise ships are arriving at the same time.
Matt Hagwood was one of many people in line. He says he even got to the airport two and a half hours early and wasn’t expecting such a long wait.
“It is just … unfathomable the amount of people that they were filing through there,” Hagwood said.
“So, it wouldn’t surprise me if people were waiting over four hours just to get to the checkpoint,” Hagwood said.
He says he waited more than three hours in line, which caused him to miss his flight, as well as lose money from the trip that never happened.
“They had to have known that everyone was going to be there because of all the flights that were scheduled. Everyone around me missed their flight,” Hagwood said.
Airport officials say the longest wait time they recorded during a hectic day was 90 minutes long.
KIRO 7 spoke with several others who were in the line and missed their flights. A man says people were offered money and other plans if they were to switch flights.
Hagwood hopes to never wait in line like that again.
“No one was given any warning that two hours wasn’t sufficient,” Hagwood said.
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