A Guide to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)

Estimated reading time: 14 minutes

Get the essential information about Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) through our comprehensive guide, covering everything you need to know.

Seattle skyline at sunset with pink and purple clouds
Seattle skyline at sunset. Image credit: Ben Dutton/Unsplash

The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), also known as Seattle Airport and Sea-Tac, serves the entire Seattle metropolitan and Tacoma areas of Washington, and is the largest airport in the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. With about 33 million passengers passing through each year, it is the 16th busiest airport in the United States. The is located about 19 kilometers from downtown and is connected by Sound Transit’s light rail system.

This comprehensive guide provides all the necessary information you need about Seattle Airport, including details about Seattle Airport terminals, parking options, hotels near the airport, and even suggestions on what to do at Seattle Airport. Additionally, having this Seattle Airport map to help you navigate the airport can be highly useful.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Terminal Overview

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) features one terminal with six gates. The terminal is divided into two sections: the south end houses A, B, and S gates, while the north end accommodates D, C, and N gates. For convenient and rapid transit between the two sides of the terminal, passengers can utilize the North and South train systems. These train systems efficiently connect travelers to their desired gates.

Concourse A 

  • Aer Lingus
  • Air Canada
  • Japan Airlines
  • JetBlue Airways
  • United Airlines

Concourse B 

  • Southwest Airlines
  • WestJet

Concourse D 

  • American Airlines

South Satellite 

  • Aeroméxico
  • Air France
  • Air Tahiti Nui
  • ANA (All Nippon Airways)
  • Asiana Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Condor
  • Emirates
  • EVA Air
  • Finnair
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Hainan Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Icelandair
  • Korean Air
  • Lufthansa
  • Qatar Airways
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Volaris

Seattle Airport Lounges

The airport lounge is a welcome respite from the chaos of the airport. A quiet sanctuary away from the bustle of the airport, where you can enjoy a meal, sip a cocktail, catch up on sleep, freshen up with a shower, or get some work done. If you haven’t experienced Sea-Tac Airport lounges, you’re in for a treat! 

Given the expansive layout of Seattle Airport, it is advisable to choose a lounge near your departure gate for convenience. However, the airport’s efficient train system allows you to effortlessly explore various lounge options throughout the terminal. While many lounges welcome walk-in visitors, there are also exclusive lounges reserved for frequent flyers with dedicated membership plans.

The Club Lounge

The Club has two locations in Concourse A and South Satellite, which are the main departure areas for international flights. The lounge’s interior design is thoughtfully curated to reflect the rich history and vibrant culture of Seattle. With color palettes inspired by the region’s breathtaking ocean to forest landscapes, guests can truly immerse themselves in the essence of the Pacific Northwest.

When hunger strikes, head to the dining area where you can explore The Club’s renowned menu offering an array of healthy and fresh options. Among the favorites are the ginger chicken rice bowl with stir-fried vegetables and the superfood sunrise oatmeal, packed with delightful seasonal flavors. For those seeking libations, the bar provides a delightful selection, including craft beer from Seattle’s very own Elysian Brewing Company and a curated collection of regional wines sourced from Washington State.

Moreover, The Club lounges offer a range of amenities and services familiar to frequent flyers. Enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi, stay hydrated at the hydration stations, utilize the dedicated working zones equipped with ample power supplies, and freshen up with the convenient shower facilities available.

Both lounges are accessible to departing or arriving passengers who have checked in (excluding arriving passengers at The Club CHS and Club Aspire Heathrow Terminal 3 & 5). It doesn’t matter which airline you are flying with or the class of your ticket, as both lounges welcome all passengers. Plus, the best part is, it only costs $50 to access these lounges. If you possess a lounge access membership card or are a member of Priority Pass, Lounge Key, or Lounge Club, you can enjoy access to all lounges. However, please note that access is subject to availability without a prior reservation.

United Club

The United Club lounge, situated in Concourse A adjacent to the A Gates, offers an impressive setting with its floor-to-ceiling windows, providing guests with breathtaking views of Mount Rainier and the Cascades. The lounge’s well-designed layout optimizes its spaciousness, incorporating half-walls and colored glass panels to create multiple sections that offer various seating options with a sense of privacy.

While the food options in the United Club are limited to packed snacks, soups, and salads, a hearty breakfast spread awaits, featuring bagels, sausage, eggs, yogurt, fruits, and pastries. The lounge also boasts a fully staffed bar, serving complimentary well drinks, house wines, and beer, with premium drinks available for purchase. In addition, both leisure and business travelers can take advantage of complimentary Wi-Fi, conference facilities, and a selection of newspapers.

Please be aware that access policies may vary depending on the airline and ticket class. To obtain comprehensive information regarding lounge access, we recommend referring to the United Club official website for further details.

The American Express Centurion Lounge

The new lounge is situated on the mezzanine level within the Central Terminal, and from the moment guests step inside, they are greeted with a distinctively different experience. The lounge embraces unexpected touches, combining premium healthy snacks and comfortable seating with the convenience of high-speed Wi-Fi and conveniently located outlets near every seat.

Enjoy a thoughtfully curated menu crafted by Chef Kristi Brown, a James Beard Award semifinalist and the talented owner and chef of the esteemed Seattle-based restaurant, Communion. Chef Brown’s expertise shines through her signature “Seattle Soul” cuisine, which showcases the vibrant flavors of the region using fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

For those seeking a perfectly crafted libation, the lounge offers a selection of cocktails developed by one of the nation’s top mixologists, Jim Meehan. Guests can also explore an impressive array of wines meticulously handpicked by renowned wine authority, Anthony Giglio.

Please note that the lounge currently does not offer memberships. Access is exclusively available to Platinum Card Members, Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card Members, Centurion Members, and eligible guests. For further details and specific eligibility requirements, we recommend visiting their official website.

Alaska Airlines Lounge

Seattle-Tacoma Airport serves as the primary hub for Alaska Airlines, and the airline offers three distinct lounges at the airport, each providing a unique experience for weary travelers.

The flagship lounge of Alaska Airlines is situated in the North Satellite area. Adorned with Pacific Northwest accents and aviation-themed design elements, this spacious room offers large windows that showcase stunning views of the Olympic Mountains and downtown Seattle. From cozy wrap-around fireplace couches to lounge chairs placed along the windows, guests can choose from a variety of seating styles to suit their preferences.

Located near gate C16, the Alaska Airlines Concourse C lounge features a beautifully remodeled setting. The mezzanine level of this lounge offers captivating views of the tarmac and the surrounding mountains, creating a visually appealing atmosphere for visitors.

The Concourse D lounge spans across two levels. The first level provides a tranquil space for relaxation and work, while the mezzanine level presents additional dining options, complimentary Starbucks coffee, a diverse range of seating arrangements, and a dedicated group dining area.

All of the Alaska Airlines lounges at SEA feature self-serving dining areas. When it comes to breakfast, we highly recommend visiting these lounges as they offer an exceptional dining experience. Guests can enjoy a selection of oatmeal bars, fresh fruits, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, and an assortment of delicious baked goods. The bars within the lounges provide a full range of beer, wine, and spirits. While the majority of beverages are complimentary, it’s advisable to check with the bartender as the selections may vary from day to day. Furthermore, the baristas are trained by Starbucks, ensuring that every beverage served maintains a high standard of quality.

Alaska Airlines provides a range of options for accessing its lounges, making it convenient for travelers. You can opt for reasonably priced paid memberships or purchase day passes, which are available for elites. At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), the Alaska Lounge welcomes Alaska Airlines full-fare First Class passengers, Alaska Lounge members, American Airlines Admiral Club members, First Class passengers, Business Class passengers, oneworld Emerald members, and oneworld Sapphire members. For more comprehensive details on lounge access, we recommend visiting Alaska Airlines’ official website.

USO Center

The USO Sea-Tac Airport Center serves more than 150,000 traveling service members and their families annually, establishing it as one of the busiest USO airport centers in the nation. Conveniently located on the mezzanine level above the Southwest Airlines ticketing counter, it offers a wide range of amenities and services.

Guests at the Sea-Tac USO Center have access to a full canteen, providing a variety of hot and cold food options as well as beverages. The lounge itself offers several features, including luggage storage, a bunk room for rest, and a spacious La-Z-Boy recliner chair accompanied by four large TVs. For those looking to stay productive, there is an Internet bar equipped with free Wi-Fi, computers, and printers. Families traveling with children can take advantage of a separate family room where children can play without disturbing other guests. Additionally, the lounge includes a movie theater for entertainment purposes.

British Airways Terraces Lounge

Being the first rooftop lounge at Seattle-Tacoma Airport, the British Airways Terraces Lounge offers stunning panoramic views and an abundance of natural daylight. Recognizable by its renowned blue armchairs and hardwood bar floors, this lounge is conveniently located in the South Satellite near Gate S10, catering specifically to British Airways flyers.

While the food selection is limited to packed snacks and mini sandwiches, guests can savor expertly crafted cocktails prepared by the bartender, with all beverages offered on a complimentary basis.

The standout feature of the lounge is its lavish showers, equipped with multiple massaging jets. Each shower suite includes a toilet, ample space for changing, luxuriously soft towels, and high-quality Elemis bath products. Additionally, the lounge provides a designated area for bag storage, as well as an abundance of newspapers and magazines for reading pleasure. For those requiring a workspace, there is a small business center with self-service PCs and private work cubicles.

Access to the British Airways Terraces Lounge is available to customers who meet certain criteria, including those flying on a scheduled British Airways flight in First or Business class (Club World or Club Europe), as well as Silver or Gold Members of the British Airways Executive Club on a scheduled flight operated by British Airways or one of its oneworld partners. For further details, we recommend visiting the British Airways website for comprehensive information on lounge access.

Shopping at the Seattle Airport

Who doesn’t love the thrill of finding a great deal and the excitement of purchasing something new? Whether you’re pressed for time or have the luxury to browse, Seattle Airport offers a range of shopping options to cater to your needs. In addition to the typical airport bookstores and duty-free shops, there are over 35 standalone stores that offer a diverse selection of travel essentials, fashionable items, unique local goods, and memorable gifts.

Central Terminal

When exploring the Central Terminal of Seattle Airport, you can immerse yourself in a delightful shopping experience. One must-visit destination is Fireworks, a charming store showcasing handmade jewelry, accessories, and unique items crafted by local and national artisans. For those with a penchant for designer brands, Coach offers a stylish collection that caters to discerning fashion enthusiasts. Beauty enthusiasts can explore the offerings of the high-end MAC Makeup Boutique, while Subpop presents a unique fusion of a Pacific Northwest-centric gift shop and records. Additionally, the Made in Washington store is perfect for savoring the flavors of the Pacific Northwest, with locally smoked salmon and a selection of artisan gifts.

A Gates

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the duty-free shopping options at Seattle Airport, located in concourse A. It’s a great chance to browse and purchase exclusive perfumes, cigars, alcoholic beverages, gourmet food items, delectable sweets, and memorable souvenirs. Make sure you arrive with ample time to fully enjoy these duty-free shopping opportunities.

C Gates

For those seeking a truly distinctive Seattle shopping experience, we recommend exploring Chalo Seattle, a store that showcases a curated selection of local and global artisan goods. Show Pony is another must-visit shop, offering a stylish collection of fashion-forward clothing and accessories. And if you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss Seattle Chocolate, where you can indulge in delicious and locally-made chocolates.

D Gates

While the shopping experience may be limited at the D Gates of Seattle Airport, there is one standout destination worth visiting. Planewear is a store dedicated to aviation and travel-related products and apparel. Here, travelers can find a unique selection of items that cater to their passion for flying and exploration.

Seattle Airport Restaurants and Dining Options

Seattle Airport offers a diverse range of dining options that are sure to satisfy even the most discerning palates. If you’re tired of tasteless in-flight food, the airport provides a welcome relief with its culinary offerings.

Central Terminal

Seattle is synonymous with seafood, and the Seattle Airport serves as a great hub for it. Foodies swear by Koi Shi Sushi Bento poke bowls and Alaska pollock fish and chips. Lucky Louie Fish Shack’s old school shrimp melt as well as their little waffle fish are heaven sent.

A Gates

Aside from the above, we suggest you head to Africa Lounge for mouthwatering African food. There is a pretty impressive selection of local beers on tap here as well. La Pisa Cafe offers Italian crowd-pleasers, and Floret provides plenty of grab-n-go croissants and quiches. For local wines and fanciful macarons, head to Lady Yum. And at Salty’s, you can enjoy a craft beer while listening to a live performance.

B Gates

For travelers located around the B Gates, LouLou Market and Bar is a great option offering French-inspired Pacific Northwestern cuisine. Burger lovers should not miss the opportunity to try the Rel’Lish Burger Lounge, which provides a slightly more upscale ambiance.

C Gates

Beecher’s Handmade Cheese is an iconic name with a branch in Concourse C, serving grilled sandwiches, healthy salads, Caffe Vita espressos, and Beecher’s “World’s Best” Mac & Cheese. Aside from that Le Grand Comptoir offers a comprehensive wine list paired with delightful cheese and charcuterie plates, salads, and tartines.

D Gates

Those craving true tastes of Hawaii, Poke to the Max is the place to be. For a fresh and flavorful dining experience, visit Camden Food Co, a casual cafe offering made-to-order sandwiches, snacks, and a salad bar to cater to all preferences. Beer enthusiasts should head to Ballard Brew Hall, a full-service bar and restaurant featuring a diverse selection of eight tap handles showcasing the finest regional and international brews.

Hotels Near Seattle Airport

While there are no hotels inside the Seattle airport itself, you can find several — including some of the major chains — surrounding the airport.

Radisson Hotel Seattle Airport

The Radisson Hotel Seattle Airport is conveniently located just across the street from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, making it the closest full-service hotel to the airport. This upscale hotel is designed to provide a seamless and stress-free travel experience for both business travelers and families alike.

You can expect a unique dining experience at the hotel’s on-site restaurant. No matter what your taste buds desire, from a hearty breakfast to an early afternoon snack to a delicious meal in the evening, you will find something on the menu. Additionally, the lounge bar is the perfect place to relax in the evening. To ensure a comfortable stay, you will have free access to the hotel’s fitness center, heated indoor pool, and whirlpool.

When it comes to dining, the hotel offers a unique and satisfying experience at its on-site restaurant. No matter your culinary preferences, you’ll find something to delight your taste buds on the menu, whether it’s a hearty breakfast, a midday snack, or a delicious evening meal. In the evening, the lounge bar provides a perfect setting to unwind and relax.

To ensure your stay is comfortable and enjoyable, the hotel offers complimentary access to a fitness center, where you can stay active and maintain your exercise routine. If you’re in the mood for relaxation, take advantage of the heated indoor pool and whirlpool, allowing you to unwind and rejuvenate after a long day of travel.

With a complimentary shuttle service available 24 hours a day, you can easily reach the main terminal in just 2 minutes.

Seattle Airport Marriott

After landing at the Seattle Airport, hop on the complimentary shuttle service to Seattle Airport Marriott which is less than a mile away. Thanks to the hotel’s convenient location, local sites including Westfield Southcenter, the Museum of Flight, and Angle Lake Park in SeaTac are yours to explore.

When you return to the hotel after your adventures, treat yourself to a culinary delight at the on-site farm-to-table restaurant, where a delicious menu featuring fresh seafood and tasty American fare awaits you. During your stay, you can stay active and maintain your fitness routine at the hotel’s full-service fitness center.

After a fulfilling day, unwind and relax in the comfort of your room, complete with luxurious bedding for a restful night’s sleep. Stay connected with complimentary Wi-Fi throughout your stay, ensuring you can easily stay in touch or catch up on work if needed.

Crowne Plaza Seattle Airport

With a central location across the sky bridge from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Crowne Plaza Seattle Airport offers a relaxing atmosphere.

The hotel features air-conditioned rooms with contemporary décor, providing an ideal place to unwind and recharge. Guests can enjoy delicious breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, accompanied by a selection of tasty wines and refreshing drinks. Complimentary airport shuttle service is available, and for those seeking relaxation and wellness, the hotel offers a spa and fitness center. If you have some extra time, you can easily explore downtown Seattle by hopping on the nearby Seattle Link Light Rail.

Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center

The Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center is conveniently situated just minutes away from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, ensuring easy access for travelers. The hotel boasts a welcoming and modern ambiance in a stylish setting. With a sky bridge located opposite the hotel, guests can conveniently walk directly to the airport terminal. Moreover, the hotel’s prime location provides easy access to popular downtown attractions like Pike Place Market, The Space Needle, and Lumen Field thanks to the nearby Link Light Rail.

During your stay at the hotel, you can maintain your fitness routine by making use of the leisure facilities available. Take a refreshing dip in the outdoor pool, unwind in the whirlpool, or utilize the fully equipped fitness center to stay in shape. Additional amenities offered include complimentary airport shuttles, convenient business centers, and high-speed internet access in every room.

SureStay Hotel by Best Western SeaTac Airport North

SureStay Hotel by Best Western SeaTac Airport North is conveniently situated opposite the Light Link Rail, offering seamless access to downtown Seattle and its popular attractions. This hotel is equipped with a range of amenities to ensure a comfortable stay, including an indoor heated pool for relaxation and a 24-hour fitness center for guests to maintain their fitness routines. In addition to these features, the hotel also boasts a bar and cocktail lounge, providing a convenient option for enjoying a drink. For added convenience, there is a beauty shop on-site, allowing guests to indulge in spa treatments without having to venture far from the hotel.

Things to Do Around Seattle Airport

If you’re short on time to explore the city but still want to experience its vibe, take a walk around Seattle Airport to discover its art, culture, and history.

The airport hosts an exhibition by the Seattle Museum, showcasing over a hundred art installations, sculptures, paintings, photography, and even sound, including notable works by artists like Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, and Louise Nevelson.

Forget the typical airport muzak; at SEA, you can enjoy live performances by independent and up-and-coming musicians throughout the week across all concourses. Make sure you check the schedule to see when and where the bands are performing. No, you won’t be greeted with death metal before your early morning flight but expect to hear euphonious melodies by independent and up-and-coming musicians.

Air travel can be doubly frustrating and tiring if your flight gets delayed, you have a long layover or worse, both! Take a moment to relax and unwind with massage chairs scattered throughout the airport or visit the Massage Bar in the North Satellite for a seated massage using various techniques and heat therapy treatments. Your body and mind will thank you.

Seattle Airport Parking Options

With over 12,100 spaces available for both short- and long-term parking, Seattle Airport parking provides a diverse selection of affordable parking choices to cater to the needs of business and leisure travelers. Take advantage of the Pre-Booked Parking service, allowing you to reserve your parking in advance and enjoy discounted rates on daily and weekly parking options.

How to get to Seattle Airport

The best way to get to and from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is by booking a reliable Blacklane car service in Seattle. Guests can take the hassle out of negotiating local taxi fees with Blacklane’s trusted airport transfer. And with an unrivaled chauffeur service using handpicked professionals, guests can travel in style with complete peace of mind.

FAQ about Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

How many airports are there in Seattle?

There are 3 airports in Seattle: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, also known as Sea-Tac Airport, Seattle Lake Union SPB (Seaplane Base), and Seattle Boeing Field.

How far is Seattle airport from the cruise port?

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is situated approximately 15 miles south of the cruise port, in downtown Seattle, in downtown Seattle. Depending on the traffic the ride could take 30-45 minutes by car.

How much does a taxi cost from Seattle airport to downtown?

The average cost of a taxi ride from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to downtown Seattle is approximately $40 to $50. However, please note that the fare can vary depending on factors such as traffic conditions, the time of day, and the exact location within downtown.

Where to sleep in Seattle Airport?

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport does not have designated sleeping areas for overnight stays. However, if you need to rest or sleep during a layover, there are several options available. Some passengers choose to sleep in the lounge areas, which provide seating and may have quieter spots. If you prefer a more comfortable option, we listed several nearby hotels located within close proximity to the airport that offer accommodations for overnight stays.

Is Seattle Airport big?

Seattle Airport is the largest airport in the Pacific Northwest region and ranks as the eighth largest airport in North America.