The swanky, new, state-of-the-art, International Arrivals Facility (IAF) officially began welcoming and processing all international arrivals at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) on Tuesday.
We stopped by to take some snaps, witness the official first-day operations, and collect some of fans SEA was giving out bearing the names and skylines of international cities served.
What’s the big deal about SEA’s new arrivals facility?
Well, the old one was dark, cramped, out-of-date, and overall just a sad way to say “Welcome to Seattle and the United States.”
The new one has a stunning 85-foot-high aerial walkway and a giant (450,000-square-foot) grand hall for baggage claim and customs processing.
We’d watched as the facility was built. But now that it’s fully operational, we’re glad that StuckatTheAirport.com’s headquarters is in Seattle so we get to use it.
Here are some more snaps from our visit on the cut-over day.
The aerial walkway is the star of the show. Passengers get great views out to the mountains and off to the city. Plus, there’s the treat of seeing planes go by below from the longest structure over an active taxiway.
Accessing the walkway is a thrill too on a ride up one of the longest sets of escalators in the country. Too long? There’s an elevator option as well.
Passengers may travel along the aerial walkway by foot or hitch a ride on the moving sidewalk. With such great views, we recommend a slow amble.
And then there’s the bag claim and arrivals hall. Which is now a million times more welcoming than what greeted passengers before.