The K9 team at Seattle-Tacoma prepare for the holiday season. Port of Seattle photo

Seattle-Tacoma Shares Travel Tips as TSA Expects 42 Million Passengers This Holiday Season

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) expects another high volume period for the upcoming holiday season. Between Dec. 19 and Jan. 5, TSA estimates 42 million passengers will travel through security screening checkpoints nationwide, an increase of 3.9 percent from 2018.

“I can’t express enough how proud I am of the TSA workforce,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “Year after year, season after season, they rise to the occasion to get each and every traveler securely to their holiday destination, even with increasing volume.”

In addition to nationwide guidance on traveling smart this holiday, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) has issued its own advice to help travelers and TSA alike.

Over two weeks of the busiest time of the holiday season, more than two million travelers will be making their way through SEA where they can take advantage of daily holiday entertainment, a gift-wrapping station, and even live reindeer.

From Thursday, December 19 through Thursday, January 2, an estimated 2.1 million passengers will travel through the airport with the busiest days seeing more than 160,000 travelers per day.

The busiest travel days will be Friday, Dec. 20 (projected 163,750 passengers), Thursday, Dec. 19 (157,500), and three days at 152,500 passengers (Sunday, Dec. 22, Monday, Dec. 23, and Thursday, Dec. 26). The slowest days will still be busy – they are Tuesday, Dec. 13 (115,000), Tuesday, Dec. 24 and New Year’s Day (125,000), and Christmas Day (127,500). SEA is up 3.8 percent so far in passenger traffic and is expected to set a record with an excess of 50 million passengers for the year.

For a more efficient experience, download (or update) the Sea-Tac App. See checkpoint waits in real-time, locate restaurants and shops to explore, water bottle refill stations, and use the interactive map to navigate the airport.

Arrive two hours early for domestic flights and three hours for international travel.

Use Sound Transit Link light rail to travel all the way to the airport and the free “Train to Plane” shuttle cart service that chauffeurs you from the station to the airport terminal.

SEA and TSA want to help you move through security checkpoints as quickly as possible. Travelers are required to remove electronics larger than a cell phone from carry-on luggage. Keeping food or liquids in your carry-on luggage might prompt additional screenings.

SEA has also recently relaunched its Traveler Tips webpage with its best advice to navigate the airport like a frequent flier.

Read more at the Port of Seattle

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Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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