Sea-Tac Airport calls weekend wait times 'unacceptable;' more staff coming on to help

FOX 13 viewers reported waiting in line for sometimes up to four hours for TSA screenings at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport over the weekend, and both Sea-Tac and TSA employees called the wait times "unacceptable." 

Sea-Tac said three factors contributed to the long lines, which included a busy summer travel season post-pandemic, the pandemic changing typical post-Labor Day travel trends and construction shutting down two checkpoints. 

The Airport said TSA screened more passengers on Sept. 18 between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. than they have on any other morning since the pandemic.

To ease travel for the upcoming weekend, "the airport, airlines and TSA are adding more staff" to alleviate issues travelers saw on Sept. 17 and 18, according to airport officials.  

Sea-Tac recommends: 

  • Using the free virtual queuing service SEA Spot Saver. This allows travelers to reserve a 15-minute period to go to the front of the general screening line. This is available for sign-up 72 hours in advance of your flight. SEA Spot Saver is available daily from 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Checkpoints 2, 3, and 5 for all flights departing between 5 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • If you're able, book a flight midday out of Sea-Tac. "Airlines schedule nearly 80% of their departures from SEA in the morning hours. Lines go down considerably after 11:00 a.m.," airport officials said.
  • You can check security line wait times on the ‘FlySEA’ app, which is available on iOS and Google Play. 
  • Consider checking your luggage. Reducing the number of carry-on bags and personal items that need to be screened through the security checkpoint saves time for all travelers.
  • Know before you go. Know what can and cannot go in a carry-on bag from knives to oversize liquids. Prohibited items result in bag checks and checkpoint delays.