Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
History of the Airport
In 1942, Boeing Field and McChord Air Force Base were very busy due to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the need arose for a civilian airport. Airport planners in Seattle heard a couple of private pilots had already constructed a small airstrip from their personally owned 900 acres located near Bow Lake, between Seattle and Tacoma. City planners from Seattle and Tacoma buddied up and purchased this airstrip. Construction on the civilian airport began. Today, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport spreads across 2,000 acres.
Speaking of size, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport ranks number four in the United States for its cargo transports and more than 30 million passengers flow through it annually, making it the sixteenth busiest airport in the United States. Also, besides a number of nearby overnight accommodations and its centralized location, Sea-Tac airport ranked seventh in the nation for on time departures during November 2012.
People get to and from the airport by light rail, buses, and shuttles from local hotels, and driving themselves. Travelers doing their own driving without GPS devices should understand some Pacific Northwest lingo when asking for directions to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. For starters, locals referred to the airport as Sea-Tac.Secondly, the road it is on has a couple of different names: old Highway 99, Pacific Highway, International Boulevard, and SR 99. If a local doesn’t know the road by one name, simply try another. This road runs west of I-5, paralleling it at times. Besides I-5, this is the only road that runs straight north and south, connecting Seattle and Tacoma. However, along I-5 and all the different names listed above, there are plenty of signs pointing travelers to the Sea-Tac Airport.
Once there, meeters and greeters help travelers negotiate the airport. Special access facilities are everywhere. Sea-Tac offers a convenient parking garage that offers Terminal Direct and General Parking. Method of payment is cash, debit, or credit cards. There is also a Cell Phone Waiting parking lot that offers an opportunity for speedy pick-up and/or delivery of passengers. Parking there is free for 30 minutes.
Sea-Tac recommends travelers arrive two hours ahead of departure. This enables time to park, check in, and go through security. International travelers need to allow more time due to added security. Travelers without luggage can save time by bypassing the ticket counter and heading straight to security. If one security checkpoint seems slow, simply move on to another. There are also quick check-in kiosks on the fourth floor of the parking garage.
Every terminal at Sea-Tac is accessible from the parking garage. The central terminal includes four wings. The North and South Satellite terminals connect to the central terminal via underground trains. Those scheduled to depart at either satellite terminal should allow an extra fifteen minutes. Over 300 seats throughout the airport have electronics plug-ins installed. Free WiFi is also provided throughout the airport. For the well-being of the travelers, there is a children’s area between Concourse A and the Central Terminal and a Quiet Zone at Gate B-4.
The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport establishes its proactive involvement to better the environment by noise and waste reduction. In 2012, Seattle recognized Sea-Tac as one of the top workplaces for waste prevention. To minimize noise in the surrounding community, Sea-Tac provided residences, schools, and churches with Sound Insulation packages. There are recycling bins throughout the airport for travelers to use, and all of Sea-Tac’s ground support vehicles run off electricity instead of fuel, which began in 2013.
Fliers can earn miles at Sea-Tac by registering with the airports Thanks Again loyalty program.
Airlines Serving SeaTac Airport
Serving as a gateway into Washington State’s largest city, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is home to more than 20 airlines. This airport is a major hub for Alaska Airlines, which is based in the suburbs of Seattle. Alaska Airlines specializes in regional service and that’s why it mostly offers flights to certain parts of the United States. Major West Coast cities such as Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City are naturally listed on the schedule of this regional carrier. Big cities in southern states such as Texas and Phoenix also make the list of Alaska Airlines service.
As the company’s name implies, Alaska Airlines offers direct flights to Anchorage, the largest city in the state of Alaska. This busy local airline also links Seattle with more than a dozen regional airports mainly in the north and pacific regions of the country. Since Seattle is located close to the Canadian border, it makes sense that Alaska Airlines also operates flights to major cities like Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver. Alaska Airlines uses the C, D, and North Satellite Concourses at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Another major domestic airline that specializes in regional service at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is Southwest Airlines. This Texas based carrier offers low fare flights to various parts of the country. The Southwest Airlines non-stop service reaches as far as major Midwestern cities like Chicago and Milwaukee and the large East Coast city of Baltimore. The rest of the destinations offered by this busy low cost airline are to cities on the West Coast and southern region. Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Reno, Sacramento, and Salt Lake City are accessible to passengers in Seattle thanks to Southwest Airlines service that’s available at Concourse B.
Delta Air Lines is one of the airlines at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to offer long haul international trips. This huge American company takes passengers to Amsterdam, Beijing, Osaka, Shanghai, and Tokyo. Additionally, Delta offers direct service to East Coast cities such as Atlanta and New York, and Midwestern cities including Detroit and Minneapolis. Delta Air Lines uses Concourse A, Concourse B and the South Satellite building.
Passengers can reach major Asian destinations via transpacific flights by major international airlines from Asia. All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, Korean Air, Hainan Airlines, and EVA Air offer direct flights from Seattle. Other international companies serving Seattle-Tacoma International Airport include Air Canada, British Airways, Emirates, and Germany’s Condor and Lufthansa. The international airlines use the South Satellite Concourse at Seattle’s main airport.