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Sea-Tac Airport adds to resumé, begins allowing visitors past security

(AP)

Sea-Tac Airport is unveiling a program that will allow visitors without boarding passes past security to the gates.

Hearkening back to the pre-9/11 days where you could welcome friends and family home at their gates, Sea-Tac Airport is rolling out its pilot visitor pass program.

Starting Thursday, you can enroll for a “SEA Visitor Pass,” that allows you access to “events, amenities, restaurant, and boutiques” at the airport sans a booked flight.

“It’s been 17 years since anyone without a ticket has been able to enjoy areas of the airport beyond security,” Port of Seattle Commissioner Ryan Calkins said in a news release. “And yet some of the airport’s best features are there. Great restaurants, local musicians performing in the concourses, and some of the best views of the planes coming and going against the backdrop of Mt. Rainier and the Olympics.”

To qualify, you must apply online before 1:30 p.m. the day prior to their visit to the airport. You will then be subject to approval by the TSA, and will receive a notification on your status by midnight of the same day.

While it gathers data and gets off the ground, the program will be limited to just 50 visitors per day. Approved visitors will go through the normal TSA security procedures, and meeting anyone at their gate as a visitor will only apply to domestic flights.

Sea-Tac in the top percentage of airports in the country?

Sea-Tac’s implementation of a visitor program is yet another feather in the cap of an airport that Orbitz recently ranked second best in the nation, considering factors like shopping, dining, Wi-Fi speed, flights leaving on time, the average price of member lounges, and more.

Sea-Tac received top marks for its 103 megabits per second WiFi speed, logging the best number of any airport. Its percentage of flights leaving on time is sixth — at 82 percent — just two points behind Atlanta’s first-place ranking. Sea-Tac also boasts the smallest ratio of canceled flights at 0.61 percent.

RELATED: How to beat congestion at the Sea-Tac Airport cell phone lot

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