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Get to SeaTac 90 minutes early! Two hours better! Really!

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Madison, Wisconsin
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6 posts
260 reviews
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Get to SeaTac 90 minutes early! Two hours better! Really!

I recently flew East out of SeaTac in the afternoon, which is supposed a slower time. Well, it was slow going through the security lines, which include the new "show your junk" scanners. Add in time for the usual check-in headaches plus a potential shuttle train ride out to the S terminal, and your pre-flight trip to the rest room may evaporate!

I arrived about 95 minutes before take-off and I arrived at my gate just as my boarding zone was being called. Sure, I had another 15 minutes before the door closed but as is I just barely got my small (legit) carry-on bag into the tight overhead.

I imagine that one needs a full 2 hours during the morning rush. Whew!

Washington
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for Seattle, Family Travel
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6,077 posts
19 reviews
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1. Re: Get to SeaTac 90 minutes early! Two hours better! Really!

You are right. In my experience, SEATAC is one of the slowest, and least predictable airports for times at check-in and security. They have made some small improvements in security, but it is still pokey. I have flown several times in the last six weeks and every time I get "scanned". My husband has not been scanned once. Go figure!

Absolutely, even when not checking baggage, if I am on an early morning or first flight of the day, I allow 2 hours. Other times I arrive at least 90 minutes prior.

Port Angeles, WA
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for Olympic National Park
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17 reviews
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2. Re: Get to SeaTac 90 minutes early! Two hours better! Really!

Yep. That's been my experience, too.

western WA
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8,997 posts
14 reviews
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3. Re: Get to SeaTac 90 minutes early! Two hours better! Really!

No matter what time of day or night, I always seem to wait in line behind a lot of people catching a big international flight. Needing to catch the train to the N or S gates takes 15 minutes, since you have to go down the Escalator to the Center of the Earth and then back up on the other side.

Upstate NY
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34 posts
1 review
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4. Re: Get to SeaTac 90 minutes early! Two hours better! Really!

Thanks for the warning! We have an 11:30 PM flight and I by that time of day I know I'll be tired. Getting nervous about missing our flight will not help my mood at all. We'll be there at least 2 hours early!

Vancouver...
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7,750 posts
23 reviews
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5. Re: Get to SeaTac 90 minutes early! Two hours better! Really!

Well, duh. Two(some times three) hours is what the airlines have been telling us for a while, now. Chuck...

Upstate NY
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34 posts
1 review
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6. Re: Get to SeaTac 90 minutes early! Two hours better! Really!

Maybe 2 hours at SeaTac, but, not all airports. The small - medium size ones I fly out of in NY need only 1 1/2 hrs at quiet times. I need 2 hrs early in the morning when people at catching the 6 - 7 AM flights.

Vancouver...
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7,750 posts
23 reviews
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7. Re: Get to SeaTac 90 minutes early! Two hours better! Really!

The best thing to do is to go to your airline's website and follow their instructions. If you do that, you won't have to worry about your "mood". Chuck...

seattle
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for Seattle
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18,894 posts
108 reviews
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8. Re: Get to SeaTac 90 minutes early! Two hours better! Really!

I promise you that at 11:30 pm you won't need two hrs. What people don't always know is that at Seatac you can go thru any security line and then go to any gate. Some 'gates' such as the one for the N Satellite often get very crowded but if you go to your left you'll find two more lines. Pick whichever one is shorter.

Seattle, Wa
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4,349 posts
38 reviews
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9. Re: Get to SeaTac 90 minutes early! Two hours better! Really!

I fly once a month out of Seatac and never arrive more than an hour in advance. I've never even come close to missing a flight. I have never waited more than 20 minutes in a security line, and that was the longest security lines I've ever seen.

But, I also know that every security screening area gives you access to every terminal. People tend to gravitate toward the one that is closest to the north and south terminal trains--I think a lot of visitors think they HAVE to go through that one if they want the N or S terminal. If the one nearest security area to me is long, I just keep walking until I find one that's more reasonable.

mississippi river...
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111 posts
5 reviews
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10. Re: Get to SeaTac 90 minutes early! Two hours better! Really!

christy. thanks for the gate trick. i will remember it in may when i go too seattle for my cruise.