A guide to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)

Estimated reading time: 14 minutes

Seattle, also known as the Emerald City, is a real gem in  the Pacific Northwest. Aside from Starbucks, the city is home to many Fortune 500 companies, including Microsoft, Amazon, Nordstrom, Boeing, and Nintendo. The dynamic job market, the beautiful scenery, and the laid-back lifestyle turn Seattle into one of the fastest-growing metropolises in the U.S. As a result, airline competition is on the rise.

Downtown Seattle. 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. Seattle Airport is located about 19 kilometers from downtown and is connected by Sound Transit’s light rail system. Despite the name, Alaska Airlines and its subsidiary Horizon Air have their biggest hub there, while Delta Air Lines uses the airport as an international gateway.

Providing travelers with an environment that reflects Seattle’s diversity is one of Seattle Airport’s top priorities. You can find all the information you need about the airport in this guide. Having this Seattle Airport map to help you get around can be useful.

Airlines at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Seattle Airport has different flights to various destinations throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. There are 31 airlines operating at the airport, serving 91 domestic and 28 international destinations.

SEA has 103 gates spread across four concourses and two satellite buildings named as the North and South Satellites. The SEA Underground connects the satellite terminal buildings to the rest of the concourses in the main terminal. The South Satellite Terminal handles all non-precleared international arrivals, regardless of their departure terminal.

Concourse A 

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

Concourse B 

  • Southwest Airlines
  • West Jet

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! 

Seattle Airport is relatively spread out, so it might be best to pick a lounge near your departure gate. However, the train system inside the airport whisks you conveniently from place to place, enabling you to explore more options. Many lounges accept walk-in customers, but there are also some exclusive lounges for frequent flyers with 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 interior of the lounge is designed in a way to reflect the rich history and culture of Seattle. Incorporating ocean to forest-inspired color palettes, guests are provided with a true sense of place in the Pacific Northwest.

Once you’re feeling peckish, head to the dining area where you can order from The Club’s well-known menu featuring a variety of healthy and fresh options. The ginger chicken rice bowl with stir-fried vegetables and the superfood sunrise oatmeal, which is full of seasonal flavors, are two of our favorites. Then treat yourself at the bar which has a variety of drinks options, such as craft beer from Seattle’s Elysian Brewing Company, as well as select regional wines from Washington State. 

Additionally, The Club lounges offer amenities and services familiar to frequent flyers, including free Wi-Fi, hydration stations, working zones with ample power supplies, and shower facilities.

United Airlines United Club

The United Club lounge is located in Concourse A adjacent to the A Gates. With floor-to-ceiling windows, the lounge provides a spectacular view of Mount Rainier and the Cascades. Besides being spacious, the United Club makes the most of its space with a well-designed layout.

With the use of half-walls and colored glass panels, the space is divided into many sections. Thus, the lounge can offer a variety of seating options with relative privacy.

Food options are limited to packed snacks, soups, and salads, but you can expect a hearty breakfast that includes bagels, sausage, eggs, yogurt, fruits, and pastries. The lounge has a full-staffed bar, which offers complimentary well drinks, house wines, and beer. You can also purchase premium drinks for a fee. Vacationers and business travelers on the go can also take advantage of free Wi-Fi, conference facilities, and a variety of newspapers.

Alaska Airlines Lounge

Seattle-Tacoma Airport serves as Alaska Airlines’ main hub. The airline has three lounges at the airport, each offering weary travelers a unique experience.

Alaska Airlines’ flagship lounge is located at North Satellite. Featuring Pacific Northwest accents and aviation-themed design elements, the room boasts large windows overlooking the Olympic Mountains, and downtown Seattle. From cozy wrap-around fireplace couches to lounge chairs along the windows, there are plenty of seating styles here.

The Concourse D lounge has two levels. The first level provides a quiet space for relaxing and working. However, on the mezzanine level you can find more food options, complimentary Starbucks coffee, a variety of seating, and a group dining area.

Alaska Airlines Concourse C lounge is near gate C16. The mezzanine level of this beautifully remodeled lounge offers mesmerizing views of the tarmac and the mountains.

All the Alaska Airlines lounges at the SEA have self-serving dining areas. If you ask us, hands down, we’d say breakfast here is the best. Oatmeal bars, fruits, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, and a variety of baked goods are available. There is a full selection of beer, wine, and spirits at the bars. The majority of beverages are complimentary but check with the bartender as selections may change from day to day. All the baristas are trained by Starbucks, so you can expect a high-quality beverage every time.

USO Lounge

USO Sea-Tac Airport Center serves over 150,000 traveling service members and their families each year, making it one of the busiest USO airport centers in the country. It is conveniently located on the mezzanine level above the Southwest Airlines ticketing counter.

A full canteen is available to guests at the Sea-Tac USO Center, including hot and cold food and beverages. The lounge features a luggage storage, bunk room, and a large La-Z-Boy recliner chair with 4 big TVs. Those who want to get some work done can take advantage of the Internet bar with free Wi-Fi, computers and printers. Children can play freely in a separate family room without disturbing other guests. The lounge also has a movie theater. 

British Airways Terraces Lounge 

As the first rooftop lounge in Seattle-Tacoma airport, the British Airways Terraces Lounge offers sweeping views and ample daylight. British Airways flyers will immediately recognize the lounge on South Satellite near Gate S10 with its famous blue armchairs and hardwood bar floors.

Although the food selection is limited to packed snacks and mini sandwiches, the bartender crafts enjoyable cocktails, and all drinks are complimentary. 

The elaborate showers with multiple massaging jets are the highlight of the lounge. Each suite includes a toilet, plenty of space for changing, super soft towels, and Elemis bath products. In addition, the lounge provides a bag storage area as well as plenty of newspapers and magazines. There is a small business center that offers self-service PCs and work cubicles.

Hotels around Seattle-Tacoma 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 the closest full-service hotel to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and offers a complimentary shuttle service 24 hours a day. This upscale hotel is designed to ensure an easy and stress-free travel experience for both business travelers and families.

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.

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 from your exploration, a delicious menu with fresh seafood and tasty American fare is awaiting you at the hotel’s farm-to-table restaurant. During your stay, you can keep in shape at the hotel’s full-service fitness center. At the end of your day, relax in the comfort of your room with luxurious bedding and complimentary Wi-Fi.

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’s air-conditioned rooms with contemporary décor are ideal places to relax and unwind. The hotel serves savory breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, along with tasty wines and cool drinks. In addition to complimentary airport shuttle service, the hotel has a spa and fitness center. Have some extra time? Hop on the Seattle Link Light Rail, which is just steps away from the hotel, and find yourself in downtown Seattle.

Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center

The Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center is conveniently located just minutes from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The hotel provides a warm and modern ambiance in a chic environment. The sky bridge opposite the hotel allows you to walk directly to the airport terminal. Additionally, some of the major downtown attractions like Pike Place Market, The Space Needle, and Lumen Field are easily accessible using Link Light Rail.

While staying at the hotel, you can keep your fitness regime up by taking advantage of the hotel’s leisure facilities. The hotel offers an outdoor pool, a whirlpool, and a fitness center that is fully equipped to help you stay in shape. Other amenities include complimentary airport shuttles, business centers, and high-speed internet in every room. 

SureStay Hotel by Best Western SeaTac Airport North

Located opposite the Light Link Rail, the SureStay Hotel by Best Western SeaTac Airport North provides easy access to downtown Seattle along with top attractions.

From an indoor heated pool to a 24-hour fitness center, this place has everything you need. In addition to a bar and cocktail lounge, the hotel features a beauty shop, so you won’t have to travel far to get a drink or spa treatment.

Dining options at Seattle Airport 

If you are one of those who hate tasteless and bland in-flight food, you will find relief at Seattle Airport, where you can fuel up and give the airline food a miss. 

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.

Aside from the above, we suggest you head to Africa Lounge for mouthwatering African food, Vietnam Kitchen & Bar for tasty Vietnamese classics, Hachi-ko for Japanese food, La Pisa Cafe for Italian crowd-pleasers, LouLou Market and Bar for French-inspired Pacific Northwestern cuisine, and Poke to the Max if you’re craving true tastes of Hawaii.

Burger lovers should try the Rel’Lish Burger Lounge, which offers a slightly more upscale ambiance. Looking for healthier options? Neighborhood has you covered with green salads and sandwiches. There are plenty of grab-n-go croissants and quiches at Floret. And, of course, around every corner sits a Starbucks, McDonald’s or a Seattle’s Best coffee joint.

Beecher’s Handmade Cheese is one of those iconic names which has a branch in Concourse C, serving grilled sandwiches, healthy salads, Caffe Vita espressos and Beecher’s “World’s Best” Mac & Cheese. 

If you have a long layover at the Seattle Airport, you can find plenty of places to quench your thirst. There is a pretty impressive selection of local beers on tap at Africa Lounge. Also, there is a wide selection of beer and wine at Bigfoot Food and Spirits. For local wines and fanciful macarons head to Lady Yum. At Salty’s, you can enjoy a craft beer while listening to a live performance. A comprehensive wine list is available at Le Grand Comptoir, which they pair with delightful cheese and charcuterie plates, salads, and tartines. Dungeness Bay Seafood House, Skillet, and Mi Casa Cantina all offer full bar services.

Shops at the Seattle Airport

Who doesn’t enjoy the instant thrill of finding a good deal and the excitement of buying something new? Whether you’re in a hurry or have time to browse Seattle Airport’s shopping options, you’re sure to find something that suits your needs. The recent upgrade to Seattle Airport Central Terminal has made shopping a pleasure. In addition to the typical airport bookshops and duty-free stores, SEA has more than 35 standalone shops that offer flyers a wide selection of travel essentials, fashion items, hard-to-find local goods and gifts.

If you are looking for handmade jewelry, gifts, accessories, and other unique items made by local and national artisans then visiting Fireworks is a must. It is a great place to lose yourself!

Featuring a huge collection of travel clothing and accessories, Ex Officio is the go-to place for outdoor enthusiasts 

Designer brands aficionados will surely enjoy Coach, Tumi, and Swarovski collections. There is also a high-end MAC makeup boutique, a Planewear store, dedicated to aviation and travel related products and apparel, and a Sub Pop which is a mixture of Pacific Northwest-centric gift shop and the classic Sub Pop Mega Mart. 

Pacific Northwest smoked salmon along with locally made artisan gifts are available at the airport’s Made in Washington store. For a unique Seattle shopping experience, we recommend Chalo Seattle, Seattle Made, Show Pony, and Seattle Chocolate.

Make sure you arrive in time to explore the duty-free shopping opportunities at SEA airport. A great place to purchase exclusive perfumes, cigars, alcohol, food items, sweets, and souvenirs.

Things to do around Seattle Airport

If you are only passing through and don’t have time to explore the city but still want to get its vibe, then a walk around the airport might provide you with some insights into the city’s art, culture, and history.

The Seattle Museum runs an exhibition at the airport that includes over a hundred art installations, sculptures, paintings, photography, and even sound. Among the collection’s highlights are works by Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, Louise Nevelson, Dick Weiss, Robert Maki, and many more.

You won’t hear the usual boring airport muzak at the SEA. Instead, you can take in some real music. There are live performances scheduled across all the concourses seven days a week. 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! However, Seattle Airport is dotted with massage chairs, perfect for a quick dose of relaxation. If you’re looking for something more relaxing, Massage Bar, located in the North Satellite, provides seated massages, using compression, petrissage, deep tissue techniques, and heat therapy treatments. Your body and mind will thank you!

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.