Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

While you were sleeping big things were moving at SEA airport

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is building a new International Arrivals Facility (the IAF) which has a 708-foot-long aerial walkway as one of its features.

When in place, the walkway will look like this and be the longest structure over an active airport taxiway.

Pretty impressive, right?

But as impressive is what it takes to make the project happen.

For example, overnight on Thursday, the center span of that elevated pedestrian walkway was – very carefully – moved down the closed center runway to its new home.

Here are some of the tweets SEA shared as the process unfolded.

More to come…

Travel Tidbits from airports and airlines

New amenities at CVG Airport

Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) will get new nonstop service to Memphis, TN on Allegiant, starting May 22.

CVG also boasts some new shops and amenities, including a Be Relax spa (at B16), The Scoreboard sports memorabilia shop (B10) and the Gaslight Market for travel necessities.

Walk this way at SEA

If all goes according to plan, on Thursday night workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) will hoist this 900-foot long aerial walkway into place 85 feet above an existing taxi lane to connect the South Terminal with the new International Arrivals Facility.

When completed, this will be the longest aerial walkway over an active taxiway in the United States.

Heading to the Super Bowl in Miami?

To meet passenger demand and help fans get to the big game, some airlines are putting larger aircraft into service on key routes and adding extra flights.

United Airlines will offer  29 additional nonstop flights to Miami from its seven U.S. hubs including Los Angeles, plus seven special point-to-point flights between Kansas City and Miami.

American Airlines announced extra flights to Miami (MIA) from Kansas City (MCI), San Francisco (SFO) and San Jose (SJC). American will also add larger aircraft — Boeing 777-200s — to Miami from its hubs in New York (JFK), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Los Angeles (LAX) and Chicago (ORD).

Between January 30 and February 3, JetBlue will add more than a dozen flights between San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL).

From January 30 to February 4, JetBlue is adding ten flights between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Fort Lauderdale (FLL).

On Friday, January 31 Southwest Airlines has five nonstop flights scheduled instead of the regular two from Kansas City (MCI) to Fort Lauderdale (FLL). The airline will add a bonus nonstop flight between San Jose, CA (SJC) and Fort Lauderdale (FLL) as well.

On Monday, February 3, Southwest will send five flights from FLL back to MCI and the bonus nonstop flight to San Jose from FLL.

Spirit Airlines and Delta Air Lines are adding extra flights to and from Miami as well.

And the Heinz Ketchup brand is offering to pay all but 57 cents of the $200 airline change fee for 300 Tennessee Titans and Green Bay Packers fans who bought tickets to Miami before their teams lost out.

My ‘staycation’ at SEA Airport

It’s not crazy to hang out at the airport if you’re not flying.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is my home base airport and I’m happy to spend extra time there before, and sometimes after, a flight.

SEA recently joined the list of airports offering visitor passes to non-flying visitors. And so I signed up to find out what it is like to spend a day at the airport just hanging out with no flight to catch.

Signing up was easy: SEA’s Visitor Pass page walks applicants through the process. And once I got my email notice of approval, I had no trouble using my pass, with my ID, to get through the airport checkpoint.

First on my agenda was taking a quick tour of some of my favorite works of art at SEA airport.

There’s art throughout the airport – even in some bathrooms. And SEA’s art collection includes work by noted local, regional and national artists including Trimpin, Frank Stella, Louise Nevelson and Robert Rauschenberg.

On travel days, there’s not much time to stop and appreciate the art. But the visitor pass gave me time to look around.

Detail from Trimpin”s “On Matter, Monkeys and the King” kinetic artwork

Detail from Robert Rauschenberg’s “Star Quarters”

After the art tour, I did some shopping. I didn’t have to worry about squeezing my purchases into my carry-on and that made it easier – maybe too easy – to make purchases.

Then it was time for lunch

Lots of fresh dining options are opening at SEA airport and it was nice to be able to look around and try someplace new.

Learning a new skill at the airport

SEA recently installed a Hands-Only CPR training kiosk in the Central Terminal. And so I used the final part of my visit to get trained in a skill that might someday help me save a life.

Randy Krause, the Fire Chief for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, was nice enough to come by and supervise my session. But the kiosk is designed as a do-it-yourself experience.

The machine gives instructions; users practice on a dummy torso, and the machine lets you know how you did.

I need some practice, and I need to be stronger. So next time I go to the airport I won’t be shy about trying it again.

Bottom line: applying for a SEA Visitor Pass and voluntarily spending much of a day hanging around the airport was a totally fun – and educational – way to spend a rainy day.

And SEA isn’t the only airport to offer this program. Pittsburgh International Airport, Tampa International Airport, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and Detroit Metropolitan Airport now do it too.

Detroit Metro Airport gate pass program permanent

Courtesy Detroit Metro Airport

Gate pass programs expanding

The pilot DTW Destination Pass program at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) which allows non-ticketed passengers past the security checkpoint began in October and was supposed to end this week.

But so many non-ticketed visitors are interested in visiting DTW airport to shop, dine, check out airplanes and spend more time with friends and family starting or ending their travels that airport officials have decided to keep the program going indefinitely.

“We understand that our facility is more than just an airport—it is a place where memories are made,” said WCAA CEO Chad Newton, “One participant of the program shared with us that she was able to bring her 3-year-old nephew to the airport to greet his parents and see airplanes for the first time.”

The DTW Destination Pass program is limited to 75 visitor passes per day. Passes can be used from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Check the DTW website for details about applying for a pass.

Where else can you get an airport gate pass?

DTW is just the latest airport to welcome non-ticketed passengers past the security checkpoint.

Art at SEA airport

In December, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) brought back and made permanent the SEA Visitor Pass program, which gives non-ticketed guests access to the secure side of the airport.

Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) started the trend by introducing the myPITPass program in August 2017. That program operates Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tampa International Airport (TPA) began offering its All Access pass in April, 2019, welcoming guests on Saturdays.

Photo La Gourmetreise, Courtesy New Orleans & Company

And Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) began welcoming non-ticketed guests into the new terminal on December 4.

The MSY Guest Pass is offered seven days a week, with a limit of 50 visitors Monday through Friday and 100 visitors on Saturdays and Sundays.

The North Pole or the airport? Continued.

Reindeers coming back to SEA airport

Reindeers and gate access

Airports around the country continue to go all out to entertain passengers this holiday season.

Reindeers will return to the light rail station at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) on December 18 and 19.

And the SEA Visitor Pass program piloted last year will now be a permanent airport amenity. The program allows non-ticketed guests the opportunity to enter the secure side of the airport to enjoy shopping, dining, and other amenities.

The gate pass program also means non-ticketed flyers have extra time to spend with friends and family before their flight and to be there at the gate when a flight lands.

More details will be rolled out on Monday,  December 16, when the program officially resumes.

We’re happy to see that gate pass programs are now officially a trend at airports.

Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT), Tampa International Airport (TPA) and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) have gate pass programs at well.

Santa Paws, Teddy Bears and more

Elsewhere, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has some treats in store for holiday week travelers.

LAX has booked nine musical acts and groups, including the popular TSA Choir, to perform at various terminals and the LAX-it pick-up lot throughout December.

On Friday, Dec. 20, LAX employees will host an arts and crafts activity for kids at the Tom Bradley International Terminal Children’s Playground from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Special guests will include “Santa PAWS” from the LAX Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUP) Program therapy dogs.

And on December 25, Los Angeles Airport Police officers, spouses and family members will be in various locations at LAX handing out teddy bears, candy canes and tree ornaments to children.

Holiday decoration or what?

And here’s a holiday ‘decoration’ we spotted early Friday morning this week at the Geneva Airport in Switzerland.

Not sure if this character just had a really bad night or what…