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Northwest Traveler

Travel news, consumer advice and trip reports for the Northwest and beyond.

November 19, 2014 at 11:02 AM

How to cope with Thanksgiving crowds at Sea-Tac (and get a parking deal)

Be ready for lines at Sea-Tac Airport during Thanksgiving travel. (Ken Lambert, Seattle Times file photo.

Be ready for lines at Sea-Tac Airport during Thanksgiving travel. (Ken Lambert, Seattle Times file photo.)

Flying out of Sea-Tac Airport for Thanksgiving? You’ll join more than 600,000 passengers who will be going through the airport during the Thanksgiving holiday week, says the Port of Seattle which runs the airport.

Here’s how to cope with the crowds and get a parking deal at Sea-Tac.

The busiest days at Sea-Tac will be Wednesday, Nov. 26 (100,900 passengers expected);  Sunday, Nov. 30 (106,800); and Monday, Dec. 1 (102,300).

While busy, it’s not as bad as an average summer day when the airport handles more than 110,000 passengers. But it can feel jammed because many Thanksgiving travelers are occasional fliers who aren’t familiar with TSA security checkpoint procedures and they slow down the process.

Check the TSA’s regulations on what you can, and can’t,  take in carry-on baggage and what’s required at checkpoints. See if you qualify for TSA’s PreCheck, a faster security lane.

As always, if you’re picking up or dropping a traveler at the airport at busy periods, “think opposite.” The busiest times at the Sea-Tac drives are mornings for departures and evenings for arrivals, so go to the opposite one at those hours. Pick up passengers at the departure drive, drop them off on the arrivals drive.

You also can use the free cellphone waiting lot to avoid circling the airport drives when collecting an arriving passenger. Or park in the airport garage ($3 per hour or $ 4 for the convenient Terminal Direct floor) when picking up travelers.

If you’re going out of town and want to park at the Sea-Tac Airport garage, there’s discounted  holiday parking of $18 a day (minimum two-day stay) or $95 a week now through Dec. 7. Normal rates are $28 daily, $130 a week. The coupon, obtained from the airport’s website, makes the airport garage more competitive with off-airport parking lots. Get the coupon online through Sea-Tac.

 

Comments | More in Sea-Tac Airport | Topics: holiday travel, Sea-Tac parking coupon

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