If you're flying to or from SeaTac airport this Xmas, a few words of warning

Here's some info from personal (i.e. last night) experience:

You should be aware that things are slightly nuts at SeaTac right now…

I left the office at 11pm last night. Got to the SeaTac off-ramp around 11:15. Spent the next 45 minutes in traffic waiting to get to the actual arrivals/departure/parking area.

People aren’t using the cell phone waiting area when there’s high congestion, which is making things much worse.

If you’re picking someone up, consider using the Hourly Parking at the airport itself to do so. Most people aren’t using it because the road is under construction, and it’s so badly labeled that people are missing it each time they go past. So if you want to use it:

Get left as early as you can once you’re through the off-ramps. It may help to find someone trying to get right and swap with them.

You will see a “Parking Next Left” sign. IT IS NOT LYING. Turn left the MOMENT you see an actual road that goes left, even if about 15 feet down there you see a “Road Closed” sign. You will be driving to the left of this sign; it’s badly placed and doesn’t apply to your actual destination. There is one fakeout before you get to that road, where it looks like there should be a road going left; if you can’t drive down it, it’s not the one I’m talking about.

(I and several others did at least 2 loops before we figured this out. The people who are doing the construction work should be shot for not properly putting up signs).

If you hit the Rental Car Returns, you’ve gone too far.

Use your credit card in the ticket machines. Don’t expect to get a ticket back; you won’t get one. Just use the same card again when you exit the airport, and it’ll print a receipt for you.

If someone’s arriving at the A-gates, the security exit that you think should let you out will probably be closed (it’s by Gate A2), and this can be very confusing for tired travelers. By Gate A6, there is a security exit which is open – just walk toward A6 from gates A1-A5 and pull an immediate U-turn and it should let you out onto the main concourse. There’s also another way out if you just walk to the B/C/D gates.

In short... if you’re flying, allow about AN HOUR possibly more of driving time to get into the damn airport. Allow AN HOUR in addition to your normal driving time to pick people up. And if you’re picking people up, use the incredibly awesomely sign-posted hourly parking.

About the author

Simon Cooke is an occasional video game developer, ex-freelance journalist, screenwriter, film-maker, musician, and software engineer in Seattle, WA.

The views posted on this blog are his and his alone, and have no relation to anything he's working on, his employer, or anything else and are not an official statement of any kind by them (and barely even one by him most of the time).

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