New parking guidance system debuts in first phase at SEA Airport Garage as busy Presidents Day weekend trips approach

A new automated parking guidance system designed to indicate open spaces is being rolled out at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) parking garage ahead of the busy Presidents Day holiday weekend. The first two floors of the eight-story garage are now open and equipped with LED lighting and smart camera sensors to show available parking slots and help customers find accessible parking slots. The wayfinding system will cut the time it takes to find stalls in half and lay the foundation for future tech-driven customer service integrations.

After a slower than expected travel time in January due to the Omicron variant, the Presidents Day holiday is expected to see a greater number of travelers and traffic on the airport journeys. SEA Airport suggests finding alternative ways to get to the airport to avoid the worst traffic jams and the longest queues. In addition, travelers can find stress-free ways to avoid waiting times during the holiday travel process.

Find the parking space and your car faster

If you wish to drive, SEA Airport is opening the first phase of one of the country’s largest Automated Parking Guidance System (APGS) installations with over 12,000 booths! The parking assistant APGS is now installed on the first and second floor. Smart sensors and red or green lights above lanes help you find open stalls quickly. Blue lights indicate available accessible stands. The new system also features improved directional signage for parkers to navigate the rows more efficiently. Additionally, each sensor features camera-based License Plate Recognition (LPR) technology to locate your vehicle, improve parking enforcement, and improve vehicle surveillance and security in the garage with motion-activated video surveillance (you can say, “We’re watching you, Catalyst thieves?’).

Installation of the system will continue this year and will cover all floors by early 2023. With the full installation, the system offers additional benefits for customers who book parking spaces in advance by offering guaranteed stall allocation and options for variable pricing during off-peak periods – all customer experience improvements.

The project will also nearly double the number of electric vehicle charging stations, with the possibility of increasing charging capacity for further expansion.

Safety first, avoid parking on the curb

Vehicles are encouraged to use the newly designed cell phone parking lot and avoid dangerous parking on the shoulder of the airport entrances. Violators are reported as the Port of Seattle Police Department works with the Washington State Patrol for priority patrols during the holiday season.

According to the numbers

During the holiday travel season, the busiest days are before Presidents Day weekend. The Thursday and Friday before the holidays see the busiest traffic with 129,000 and 124,000 travelers per day respectively. Wednesday 16 February will see 105,000 travelers while Saturday is also expected to see 109,000 travelers busy. This is roughly 80% of pre-pandemic passenger traffic in 2019, when passenger traffic reached up to 165,000 per day and was almost 70% higher than 2020’s 87,000 per day. Note that the busiest times at SEA are in the summer months from June to August.

What is the best advice for travelers?

  • It’s busy since you were last here – get there early! Two hours before a domestic flight, three hours before an international flight.
  • Masks are still mandatory at the airport – and make sure you check your travel destination’s COVID-19 requirements for entry. Visit XpresCheck if your destination requires testing. They are available at the baggage claim level.
  • Think of alternative travel options to get to the airport.
  • Use SEA Spot Saver to reserve your spot in the TSA queue and avoid crowded airport security lines.
  • Download (or update!) the flySEA app for alerts, maps, information and more.
  • Use Order SEA, our mobile ordering service including gate delivery for food from anywhere in the airport.

Alternative ways to get to SEA Airport

The SEA Airport car park is full.

  • Avoid the hassle of driving with Sound Transit’s Link Light Rail. Public transport is by far the best option if you want to avoid traffic jams.
  • Take a ride on taxis or app-based ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft or other land transportation.
  • Rent your own ride. All car rental companies operate in an external car rental center where special shuttle buses carry passengers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year free of charge.
  • pedal power! Yes, you can even bike to the airport with bike racks and two ways to get to the airport by bike.
  • If you still want to park, we recommend at least 30 minutes to find a stand. The off-site parking lots are also likely to be busy. Parking reservations are recommended.
  • When you pick up or drop off your loved ones
    • Check out the new and improved Mobile Lot! The new access ramp is a game change with better flow when boarding and disembarking, you can pick up your passengers more easily. Use it instead of dangerous and illegal hard shoulder parking!
    • travel hack! Use the departure road for night pickup and the arrival road for morning passenger drop-off.

Give me the Traveler Basics

  1. the CDC Guide for Travelers changes depending on your COVID-19 vaccination status. Check with your airline for the state or country you plan to travel to.
  2. Be ready for security checks. SEA and TSA want to help you get through security checkpoints as quickly as possible. Travelers must remove electronic devices larger than a mobile phone from carry-on baggage. Also, remove food and liquids from your carry-on baggage, be prepared to hold up your boarding pass for verification, and wear your mask. You can also view the latest identification and documentation requirements.
  3. Need more travel hacks? Our customer service team has the best advice for navigating SEA like a frequent flyer.
  4. SEA is adding new services to make travel more accessible and improve the travel experience beyond the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Check out our SEA Social Story, designed for travelers with sensory sensitivities like autism, but also great general tips for kids. Learn more about accessibility at SEA. The interactive map in the flySEA app provides accessible directions.
  5. Check with the city of SeaTac to see if there are any road construction projects which may hinder your access to the airport.


Perry Cooper | SEA Airport Media Officer
(206) 787-4923 | [email protected]

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