They do it at Pittsburgh International Airport. Now Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has a program to allow non-travelers past the security checkpoint to say goodbye to loved ones at the gate, have a meal or shop.
The new SEA Visitor Pass is a pilot program will run through December 14. But it if works out, non-ticketed airport visitors will be allowed to enter the post-security side of the terminal year-round.
Here’s how the program works:
- Entrance to the post-security side of the terminal is allowed from Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m and will be limited to 50 visitors each day.
- Applications will be taken Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Non-ticketed visitors will need to apply online before 1:30 p.m. the day before they want to enter.
- TSA will review your application and notify you by midnight the day before if you are approved for entry.
- Approved visitors will go through the standard security checkpoints, so all security requirements for any traveler will be in place for visitors as well.
- Meeting travelers at their gate will be restricted to domestic arrivals.
“It’s been 17 years since anyone without a ticket has been able to enjoy areas of the airport beyond security,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Ryan Calkins, “Yet some of the airport’s best features are there. Great restaurants, local musicians performing in the concourses, and some of the best views of the planes coming and going against the backdrop of Mt. Rainier and the Olympics.”
SEA is my home base airport and I can confirm that there are plenty of great reasons to want to hang out at this airport even if you’re not flying. In addition to the art collection that includes work by Robert Rauschenberg, Louise Nevelson and others, SEA has a robust live music program and some great shops and restaurants. There’s also the newly-launched series of holiday celebrations planned throughout the year, including events to honor Native Heritage Month (November) and of course the upcoming December Season of Light.