Sea-Tac Airport sold out of parking reservations. Here’s what to do

New lights on the ceiling of the parking garage at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport show where there are open spots to park, shot on the sixth floor of the garage Friday, July 1, 2022. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)

Are you flying out of town for Thanksgiving?

Have you booked your flight, a hotel on the other end, maybe even a rental car too?

Feeling proud, maybe even a little smug, about how prepared you are?

Did you remember to book a parking spot at the airport? Oh boy.

Add it to the list of things — crowds, lines, fees, relatives — that can make holiday travel seem insufferable.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport offers reservations for its 12,100 parking spots. But if you haven't acted, you're out of luck.

"Pre-booked parking is sold out for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays," Sea-Tac's website says.

Wednesday is Sea-Tac's single busiest day of the year, with an estimated 155,000 passengers expected to pass through the airport. Airport officials say passenger numbers have nearly recovered from pre-pandemic levels, with holiday traffic estimated at 95% of 2019's volume.

There's a possibility you could luck out with a "drive-up" parking spot (the more depressing variation of the restaurant "walk-in"), but it's not guaranteed, Sea-Tac says.

"We recommend booking a minimum of 14 days in advance to ensure availability," reads the airport website. Booking parking, two weeks in advance: What a world!

Also, if you're wise enough to book ahead or lucky enough to snag a coveted "drive-up" spot, it's not cheap. You'll be paying $34 to $42 a day.

It also will take a while.

"Plan up to 45 minutes to find a spot on the busiest days," Sea-Tac says. Oy vey.

There is, of course, the light rail, which will take you all the way from Northgate (or one of 17 other stations) to the airport for no more than $3.50. There are taxis and and Ubers and Lyfts and shuttles. There are off-site, third-party parking lots. King County bus routes 156, 161 and RapidRide A will get you to the airport, as will Sound Transit routes 560 and 574.

There are even some bike lockers, as well as beleaguered-looking bike racks in the parking garage, should you plan on cycling to the airport. Pack light.


(1) comment


An option for those who live in or near Yakima or Ellensburg is to take the Airport Shuttle bus. You can board it at the Yakima Air Terminal and it will take you to SeaTac airport.

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