Travel Guide to Surviving the Seattle Airport

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The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is also commonly referred to as SeaTac. It is located just 14 miles from downtown Seattle and about 18 miles from downtown Tacoma. It is a fast-growing airport as Seattle is becoming a more popular tourist destination. In 2019, SeaTac Airport was the eighth-busiest airport in the United States. It is currently undergoing large expansion and renovation projects to increase its capacity. Demand is on the rise for the Seattle Airport, that is why we have created this survival guide to help you the next time you find yourself visiting the Emerald City.

Other Seattle Airports

The only other airport in the Seattle area is the Boeing Field Airport (BFI) or sometimes referred to as KCIA (King County International Airport). It has just two passenger airlines, but it is mostly used for cargo airlines. The passenger airlines are JSX, with services to Oakland and Portland, and Kenmore Air with flights to Orcas Island and Friday Harbor. If you are traveling to Seattle, you will most likely use the Seattle-Tacoma Airport.

Seattle-Tacoma Airport Transfer Options

Once you land in the Seattle Airport, you will need to decide how to get from the airport and into town. There are four main options to

  1. Airport Shuttle
    1. Airport shuttles are shared rides, typically seating up to 8 people. There are multiple airport shuttle companies around Seattle or your hotel might have an airport shuttle service. Check with your hotel before you arrive to see if they offer an airport shuttle. If not, you may be able to purchase a ticket on an airport shuttle to a central location in town.
  2. Private Car Service
    1. If you want more personalized and private service, then hiring a private car or limo is a good option. The benefit of a private car is that they will drop you directly at your destination with no stops in between. You set up a fee to pay in advance so you will know exactly what to expect.
  3. Public Transit
    1. The Link Light Rail is connected to the fourth floor of SeaTac’s parking garage. There are stops at multiple downtown Seattle locations, the stadium district, and in South Seattle neighborhoods. Services run from 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 6:00 a.m. to midnight on Sundays. Trains depart every 6 to 15 minutes.
  4. Taxi/Ride Share
    1. Taxi stands are stationed on the third floor of SeaTac’s parking garage. Both Flat Rate taxis and Metered taxis are available. Flat Rate taxis offer a flat rate price based on the destination zip code. The Metered taxis are traditional style with a drop price and charge per mile and/or time. Rideshare apps such as Uber, Lyft, and Wingz are also good options. Most cars will pick-up on the third floor of the parking garage. Premium Uber rides will meet at the baggage claim level.

Seattle Airport to Popular Destinations

Space Needle – This observation tower is an icon of the Seattle skyline. You can enjoy the views from the top and eat at the rotating restaurant at the top. The Space Needle is 15 miles from the Seattle Airport.

Pike Place Market – This public market overlooks the bay and is Seattle’s most popular tourist destination. Stop for a delicious bite to eat or shop in the local boutiques. The Pike Place Market is 14 miles from the Sea-Tac Airport.

Chihuly Garden and Glass – This exhibit showcases the beautiful glass structures of Dale Chihuly. You’ll be enchanted by the glasswork. The Chihuly Garden and Glass is 15 miles from the SeaTac Airport.

Museum of Pop Culture – MoPOP is dedicated to contemporary popular culture. It will be one of the most fun museums you have ever visited. The Museum of Pop Culture is 15 miles from the Seattle-Tacoma Airport.

SeaTac Airport Parking

Are you wondering what the best way is to park at the Sea-Tac Airport? The official parking rates are very expensive for long term parking. As of January 2020, the cost of parking at the airport is $149 for one week. In contrast, it only costs $65 per week at an off-site parking lot. These private parking providers are located close to the airport and provide excellent services for your money. They offer free airport shuttle transfers, luggage assistance, and 24/7 security. Check out the deals on SeaTac Parking before you drive to the airport. You can browse the available options online and select the best choice for you.

Best Hotels near Seattle Airport

Many airports have their hotel, but the Seattle SeaTac Airport does not have a hotel. As the Seattle Airport is located 14 miles south of downtown Seattle, you might want to stay closer to the airport if you have an early flight out. Located just 0.3 miles away, there is a Hilton Hotel Seattle Airport and a Radisson Hotel Gateway SeaTac. Both hotels have a free 24-hour shuttle to the Seattle Airport. Check out TripAdvisor for rates and reviews.

Currency Exchange at Seattle Airport

Whether you are traveling to or from the Seattle Airport, you might need to exchange your currency. The International Currency Exchange at the Sea-Tac Airport stocks over 60 different currencies, so they will most likely have what you need. For peace of mind, you can pre-order your currency online for a quick exchange. There are currency exchanges located at S Gates, Baggage Claim, and before Security.

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