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Report: How long to check in at SeaTac for a 1pm international flight on a Wednesday

Given the recent publicity about long lines at SeaTac, I will share my experience. There is a SeaTac live wait time app you can download on this site: https://www.portseattle.org/sea-tac/security-screening-checkpoints

However, for us, today, we encountered the following:

We had Sky Priority so we got to use a shorter line to check in for the Delta flight. (There was, as usual for us with Delta for the flight to Paris, no way to check in online, despite many tries).

We also had TSA pre check.

Even with those two time savers, it took us just over an hour to check in and clear security…the longest it has taken us in years.

Posted by
318 posts

Good to know! I hope you have a great trip, Valerie.

If one does not have TSA pre-check, you can sign up for Spot Saver and "book" a time in line. The one time I used it, I was through security more quickly than the pre-check line. https://www.portseattle.org/SEAspotsaver

Related story- last summer a man on our flight to Frankfurt had a tense conversation with his spouse who missed our same flight due to the security line. He made it through due to having CLEAR and the flight left without her. I don't imagine that was a fun start to a trip...

Posted by
2250 posts

Thanks! The Spot Saver is a great resource. I mulled over trying it out but thought we'd be ok since we have precheck.

Posted by
1382 posts

Meg that sounds um, awful.

Valerie, thanks for the update. I'm sorry that you had problems with online check in STILL. If I recall correctly, Pam from the forum just flew Delta overseas and had no issues with her online check in. Perhaps she will share more when she returns. I agree that even with savers (we have TSA Pre too) SeaTac isn't a "given easy" airport at any time.

Posted by
22152 posts

It is rare if not nearly impossible to check-in on line for an international flight simply because the front desk wants to see your passport.

Posted by
1382 posts

Many would agree with you Frank, but both Pam and I have been able to for not one, but two flights each. 🤷‍♀️

Posted by
142 posts

Frank, in May, we had to download our passports on United’s website. No problem getting our boarding pass online 24 hours ahead of time. When we boarded in SFO, we stood in front of a camera that compared our face with our downloaded passport.

Posted by
791 posts

I flew on Tuesday out of SEA. I have Global and used checkpoint 1. Only one line was in operation so it took a bit longer. Still not bad though. The wait to get into the lounge was only about 30 minutes this time vs 90 minutes the other week.

I fly again next week. Hopefully it won’t be too bad. As others here have said , SEA is not an easy one to get through

Posted by
400 posts

Spot saver worked great on a trip last week. We bypassed probably 100 people in the security line. If you have pre-check you may not need it but on this trip spot saver line was less than precheck

Posted by
791 posts

I flew out of SEA again yesterday and once again the regular lines were quite long. The Pre line was very quick. Also, the lounge had a 20-30 minute wait, and that was after you waited in line to get checked in.

Posted by
10663 posts

I’m here! Yes, AMann is correct! I was able to check in online with Delta this last flight the end of Sept. I was able to download boarding passes for all 3 flights to Milan. I did have my passport downloaded in Delta FlyReady and had to show it at the first boarding gate in Spokane.

Valerie I have no idea how Aimee and I can do this! I was Economy Comfort not Delta One this time too.