Want to spend the day at the airport even though you are not flying? You now can at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Effective immediately, Sea-Tac will allow 100 non-travelers per day through security checkpoints. The new SEA Visitor Pass program will require advance registration here for TSA approval. Approval comes within minutes and can be requested same-day.
Once approval is granted, a QR-code is generated. Simply print that and present it with your government-issued ID at the security checkpoint in Terminal 3. “Visiting hours” are from 8:00AM to 10:00PM, though you will not be allowed to enter the checkpoint after 9:00PM with a visitor pass.
SeaTac Mayor Erin Sitterley nostalgically recalled accompanying her husband, an Alaska pilot, to the gate.
“There’s a whole generation of people…who have missed out on the connections that are made at our airport.”
Lance Lyttle, the airport’s Managing Director, said:
“I remember a time when we could go…to the gate to say goodbye to our friends and loved ones. I remember the time when we could go…meet our friends and loved ones at the gate. After 9/11, all of that changed.”
The move, he said, returns Sea-Tac to “some degree of normalcy”. Lyttle added:
“Some people really just love to watch airplanes take off and land.”
Yes, yes, yes!
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Seattle joins three other major airports in the United States that will no longer require a valid boarding pass to visit the secure side of the airport. The other three include:
- Detroit (DTW)
- Pittsburgh (PIT)
- Tampa (TPA)
I am thrilled to see Sea-Tac and other airports “re-open” to the general public. You could complain that airline passengers are subsidizing these visits since there are no charges for passes but non-travelers must pass through security. But I see it differently. A return to normalcy after nearly 20 years is indeed a great opportunity to introduce a new generation to the joy of accompanying loved ones to the gate.
Would you visit the airport if you were not flying?