SeaTac Airport unveils program to help cut TSA security lines

Jun 29, 2022, 5:21 PM | Updated: Jul 1, 2022, 12:11 pm

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is ranked 8th among U.S. airports for passenger activity...

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is ranked 8th among U.S. airports for passenger activity and 21st for air cargo and is home to 31 airlines serving domestic and international destinations. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

(Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

Travelers using Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) can avoid long lines when going through TSA security by using its new program, the SEA Spot Saver.

“Even in the middle of the pandemic, our Airport Director Lance Lyttle has been really emphasizing trying to find ways to use tech more throughout the airport,” said Perry Cooper, spokesperson for Sea-Tac Airport. “We had two contractors that piloted this during the summer last year, finally came up with one that is now doing it full time. And it’s a great way to reserve your spot basically in what we call a virtual queue in the general TSA checkpoint line.”

The reservation program for TSA screening was created to expedite the process without a membership while remaining contact-free. Reservations and walk-in appointments are available for departing and general screening passengers daily from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. at TSA checkpoints 2, 3, and 5 for all airline passengers, as of this reporting.

All Over The Map: SeaTac, WA, meet Seatack, VA

“So you can sign up ahead of time, 72 hours before your flight online, through the website, or even through our app,” Cooper said. “You’re basically putting in your destination, your flight, your number, how many people are in your party, and then you save that spot, and it will give you a 15-minute slot that you can show up for into the general TSA line, instead of waiting for whatever it may be, a 35 minute or even longer wait. It’s like it’s waiting in line for you.”

To save even more time, Cooper recommended using either a ride-share service or the light rail system, as parking is continuing to become increasingly congested as traveling ramps up this summer.

Sea-Tac Airport still has plenty of other projects on its horizon.

“We actually have, in the next five years, almost $4 billion worth of capital projects that are going to be underway,’ Cooper said. “You probably noticed recently, we’ve just opened the international arrivals facility which is a $900 million project. Last year, we opened the renovated and expanded north satellite, or north concourse as we call it, so these are really huge improvements for us that have just been tremendous customer experience improvements.”

Cooper stated the airport saw 90% of its recorded 2019 traffic this year, which is a big improvement over the last two years, making the SEA Spot Saver that much more valuable.

“Juneteenth kind of kicked off the summer season with all the schools getting out. That’s when we get a big rush in the summer, as you can imagine,” Cooper said. “Summer is our busiest time of the year here in Seattle, versus some other places around the country. It’s from June through August, both in and out. We’ll see upwards to 160-to-260,000 people going through the airport on any specific day. If you think about that, that’s about the size of the city of Bellevue going through your place every day.”

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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