Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is allowing post-security access for limited amount of non-ticketed visitors per day with the return of the SEA Visitor Pass.
As of December 16, up to 100 non-ticketed visitors will be approved to go post-security between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. seven days a week. Guests can apply online for the SEA Visitor Pass the same day or up to seven days in advance, until the day’s maximum limit has been met.
Last year’s pilot program was greeted with an enthusiastic response with over 1,100 participants in less than six weeks with a limit of 50 people per day. After reviewing the program details with stakeholders including Airport Dining and Retail, Information Technology, Operations, and Security teams, a more customer friendly registration process was developed. Now, visitors can get TSA approval and receive a QR code that will allow entry through security checkpoint 3.
The SEA Visitor Pass program is intended for personal use and to enable approved visitors to spend time with friends and family or shop and dine at the airport or to watch planes. With airports looking at ways to increase revenue outside of traditional flight income, Seattle Tacoma’s program could become commonplace. But does it pose a threat to aviation security?
SEA Visitor Pass holders will be subject to the same security regulations as passengers boarding an aircraft. For example, they must adhere to TSA rules regarding prohibited items and liquids. They must also present the QR Code assigned to them by the program along with their TSA-approved ID at security checkpoint 3. The only concern then could be the additional demand on security checkpoint staff, but with the numbers of visitors limited to a maximum of 100 per day, this is unlikely to have a major impact. The Port of Seattle will also be closely monitoring the program and will withdraw the visitor pass should it cause any problems for security or normal airport operation.