Port of Seattle

[UPDATE: I don’t check bags very often, which is why I failed to point out that if you have to do so, the tip below doesn’t work so well.]

The fuss over the distance from Link Station to terminal has died down, either because people have realized it isn’t a big deal, or because everyone has said their piece. As someone who’s flown out of the S gates a lot recently, however, I want to point out that there’s no reason to walk the length of the terminal if you’re not feeling energetic.

From the Link walkway you can pass right through the northernmost security checkpoint and enter the airport subway system. From there you can ride the North loop to reach the C or N gates. However, on the opposite side of the station a frequent train takes you to the south loop station, where you can access the B and S gates without much walking.

99 Replies to “Less Walking at Sea-Tac”

  1. I’m more convinced that the station was well sited. A five-minute walk to the nearest end of the terminal (plus aforementioned connections) is a small price to pay for SeaTac’s ability to build a master plan around an Int’l Blvd station. Though the plans have been nixed for now, there’s little doubt they’ll be coming back later in some form.

    1. “Five minute walk” balloons when you have small children to travel with. My biggest complaint is that the walk is unpleasant. Also – we got a bit lost, so signage could improve.

  2. This idea only works well if you do not need to drop off luggage at your airline. If you are unfortunately riding an airline that is at the south end of the airport and you need to check bags, you’re screwed and you’ll need to walk that entire length. Otherwise, great idea if you pack light.

    1. It’s kind of hard to take Link if you have more than one bag and carry on. I’m driving some friends to the airport Friday because they have two (large) bags each plus carry-ons. PS, don’t make fun of them for overpacking–they’re getting married and going on a 7 day cruise. I applaud them for getting it down to 6 bags.

      1. People never seem to look down on the train– there is ample room under the seats for bags. No need to stack bags on the seat, or pile them into the bike area. If you have two bags they will both fit neatly under the seats.

    2. I haven’t checked bags in a long time. I’m sure most people have also found a way around it.

      1. I typically don’t either, but for this 2 week trip back east, there was no way around checking 1 bag in. Anyway, because you haven’t checked bags in a long time doesn’t mean others don’t.

        Otherwise, Martin, good post for those who are traveling light. It never dawned on me to even do that. I just suggest you make a footnote on that this requires you to only have carry-on luggage.

      2. Either way, it’s a blessing in disguise. Now that I’m hearing about people parking at the far end of a strip mall parking lot, why not see this as an opportunity for airport travelers to stretch their legs?

      3. Going to visit family, you can ship for cheaper (most of the time) than you can check. That can be nice…

    3. Funny thing is that there’s curbside baggage check for cars. Why not railside baggage check for LINK?! At first this would be as simple as a multi-carrier curbside check at the northern point (since they have current infrastructure there), but there could be solutions right at the LINK station if planned carefully.

      1. This is a pretty good idea. It would be best engineered if it solved the problem for both directions of luggage movement – incoming and outgoing.

        The good news is that most luggage these days have wheels and are easier to lug than a duffel bag.

  3. I was there yesterday. That security checkpoint had the longest line. Your time is better spent walking down to the next one or the one after that, or even the last one. But the STS trains are pretty cool.

  4. The Northern TSA checkpoint is also the most congested with the longest wait times. The big secret is that if you want to get through security quickly, walk to one of the other 2 security checkpoints even if your destination is Alaska or United (Concourse C & D or N Satellite). The central and south checkpoints are far less crowded at most times.

  5. Always struck me as the most baseless and absurd of the complaints about Link. That walk is nothing, as certainly compares favorably to the walking distances at many other airport stations.

    1. I love the walk considering I’m going to be stuck on an airplane anywhere from an hour to 10 hours coming up…the exercize does me good.

      1. I have to stand up on long flights. i cant sit for that long. The walk would be improved if the walkway was more enclosed and temprature controlled though. also wayfinding signage as to which airline is where could be a little better as well.

      2. Agreed. On my flight to Taipei, I had to get up and walk from my seat to the rear of the plane and back again a few times, in the dark. And I couldn’t get any sleep, either.

      3. I guess I have an iron butt… I flew nonstop from SEA to ORD (~8 hours) and didn’t get up once between gates.

    2. The walking distance was never an issue in the first place. It is the media and the anti-Link voices who made it sound worse than it was.

  6. I wonder what kind of ridership the N-S shuttle gets. I almost never see people on it. I guess after a big international flight comes in you might see a lot of people coming up from the S gates to transfer to a flight from the D, C, or N gates. I took it once, for fun.

    1. It’s great when you arrive into the north side (terminals C or N) and need to catch a bus at the south end. Also, the reverse of this post is true: you can arrive on Delta or an international flight into S, and take the N-S shuttle straight to the light rail.

      I did once wave goodbye to someone boarding at the S gates, then take all three trains to get to my flight in N — It took 15 minutes.

    2. Yep, on the United flight from Tokyo, they distributed little leaflets showing how to take the three trains to get from S gates to N gates. A lot of pax were connecting on to other flights from N gates.

  7. Everyone seems to forget when riding the bus to SeaTac, the bus stop is at the southern most end of the terminal. One still has to walk the full length of the terminal if departing from the North Concourse. I have taken the light rail a few times to the SeaTac…I love it.

    1. Only routes 560 and 574 stop on the airport drive. All others (and the 574) stop outside at Pacific Hwy & 176th.

  8. When SeaTac/Airport first opened, I took both my manual wheelchair (which I had since High School back in 2000) and my then-new power scooter to try out the connection.

    No complaints, even in my manual (Old Trusty)

    1. I took link to the airport for the first time 2 weeks ago. Was quite easy pushing my chair, even with the luggage I had on my lap.

  9. As someone else mentioned, the airport-subway shortcut only works if you don’t need to pick up bags when arriving in Seattle, and if you have no business whatsoever at the airline counter when departing Seattle.

    I always seem to wind up on the “A-Gate airlines.” If I’m packed moderately and have plenty of time, it still feels far but it’s doable. If I’m packed unusually heavily (for me, which would be moderately packed for many) and Metro made me late catching Link, it becomes interminable.

    It’s not Link’s most gigantic error or anything. But it is the kind of thing that they only had one chance to get right, and I’m not sure shy they didn’t. Would it not frankly have cost the same to put it on the roof of the garage, as close as possible to the mid-point of the airport?

    And to Jason, who said that the distance “compares favorably to the walking distances at many other airport stations,” I’d like to know where. SFO’s BART station is inside the airport, and there’s an (outside security) airport monorail directly on top of it. PDX hugs right up against one of the gateways, and STL stops on the roof, directly above security.

    Chicago Midway used to be a million miles from the El station, until they moved the entire airport closer to the subway!

    FYI, if returning from the A-Gate baggage claim to Link, it will save a ton of time to just cut diagonally across the parking garage, “official path” or not.

    1. Oooh… I forgot a good one!

      Philadelphia has 3 separate commuter rail stations right within the airport!

    2. Sound Transit tried to put the station directly on top of the airport drive, but the feebs wouldn’t let them. This is also the reason why the segment connecting the airport opened later than the rest.

      1. And increased security measures meant the satellite transit system got put behind the security wall, no longer open to people who don’t have their boarding pass or haven’t checked their luggage.

      2. Really? It used to be outside of security? Given it’s location, I never would have guessed.

        Thanks for the interesting tidbit, Oran!

      3. No, the STS was always inside security. Of course access was generally open to non-ticketed passengers prior to the surprise attack from our eternal friends the Saudis.

      4. Right, of course. Strange how an experience that used to be unremarkable — going through security as a non-passenger, just by showing an I.D. — is so far removed from present possibility that it had faded from my memory.

      5. A few months before 9/11/01 I actually went down the jetway and onto an airplane (with permission of course) to say goodbye to my cousins. Boy, times have changed.

      6. It’s interesting that in the European airports I’ve been in, security tends to be much closer to the gates. In Zurich, it was documentation check (passport + boarding pass), then take the internal train to the satellite concourse, then security. The analog in Seattle would be moving security to the entrance to N and S satellites.

      7. Could it possibly be true that they considered a light rail train or rider a security threat, but that private cars, trucks, vans and buses can drive right up to the terminal? Please tell me that it aint’ so

      8. They do, but accept there isn’t much they can do about it.

        Fun security side note: ever wonder why Link doesn’t have trash cans at Airport Station? (I sure did.) ST couldn’t install them at stations because the Feds were afraid of bombs being hidden in them. SeaTac Airport only has one poorly located trash can (which I pointed out to ST and they told me that little tidbit). So no trash cans and ignoring the fact people bringing large suitcases to the Station…

        It’s always amusing how shortsighted most security decisions are in this country.

      9. There’s a long precedent for this. In Britain they took out the trashcans in transport stations due to IRA bombs. In 1998 I asked my friend what to do if I had stuff to throw away. He said to leave it in a corner.

    3. Wait, SFO’s BART station is way down past the int’l terminal. You get on a people-mover at the domestic terminals, and, depending on which one it is, make several stops before getting to the BART station for a transfer.

      The NYC airports (JFK and Newark) are even worse in this regard. I mean, it’s great that you can actually get to the train stations pretty efficiently now, compared to the past, but you’re still getting on a train at the terminal and then transferring to another train at the somewhat far-flung station at the end of the line of train #1. And at the point of transfer, you’re figuring out ticketing.

      Oh god, and then there’s the Gallic nightmare of getting to the grim shed of an airport train station to get from CDG into Paris. Now that’s some walking.

      Count me as part of the faction that thinks we don’t really have it so bad at SeaTac.

      1. I know that both SFO BART and SFO AirTrain (the in-airport people-mover) are pretty new; perhaps the latter expanded between the last time you were there and the last time I was.

        But there really is an AirTrain station right on top of the BART station. I swear!

        It’ll get you anywhere in the domestic terminals quickly and painlessly (in 2-4 stops). Both halves of the international terminal are within walking distance of BART, so there’s no need to take the AirTrain unless you have a ton of luggage.

        Newark and JFK leave a lot to be desired, but I think that their AirTrains do a pretty good job of extracting lemonade from lemons. Both take you directly from the terminal to high-frequency commuter rail lines from the 19th century (significantly predating the airports; not an excuse that Link has). Thanks to JFK AirTrain, I’ve been able to make it from Manhattan through security in less than 35 minutes.

        Charles de Gaulle in a pain in the derrière. There’s really no arguing that. But aren’t they working on a be-all-and-end-all inter-terminal subway as we speak?

      2. BART is also a deceptive example: the expansion to the airport terminated the main line in a wye but also built a bypass track. This means that trains don’t serve both the airport and the intermodal railroad station because of the time penalty. This replaced free bus shuttle service from the Caltrain station at Millbrae with a $6, one transfer BART trip. This will eventually cripple high-speed rail connections to the airport too.

        The justification at the time was to get BART into the airport. California being California, this overrode any concerns about system flexibility. But seven years later, it’s pretty clear to me that they would have been better extending the airtrain to a common rail/subway station. Everyone except international terminal passengers needs to use airtrain anyway, the train station is only a few minutes further.

      3. Caltrain runs once an hour (half-hour during peak time, two hours on Sunday). BART runs every fifteen minutes or less. They should put BART all around the bay and put Caltrain out of its misery.

    4. d.p.: “inside” does not translate to “closer.” Stop with the city envy. If you think the Orange Line is closer to Midway than Link is to Sea-Tac I would like your dealer’s beeper digits. Especially if you think the airport moved to find the train.

      1. Jason, you must not spend much time in Chicago.

        Midway’s terminal used to be a bus station-esque slab of concrete on the airport’s north perimeter. It was more than 3/4 of a mile to the subway station, using a wind-protected by unheated and unpleasant elevated walkway.

        In 2001, the entirety of commercial airport operations moved to a brand new facility straddling Cicero Ave on the east perimeter, and the former facility was destroyed. The airport is now less than 1000 feet from the subway, which has not moved at all.

        For comparison, SeaTac Link is 1000 feet from the nearest point in the terminal, and 1/2 mile from the most southerly check-in desks (if you walk the way the Port of Seattle tells you to). It’s much, much further than Midway is now. I still Sound Transit and the Port should have been able to arrive at a better solution.

        As for the “city envy” thing: The main flaw of “The Seattle Way” is its compulsion to reinvent the wheel. Every problem is addressed as if it were brand new to the world, even when there are hundreds and hundreds of sterling examples elsewhere of what to do and what not to do. All opinions are treated as valid/rational/productive — even those that run so contrary to the cumulative global knowledge on the subject that giving voice to them is, in fact, irrational and counterproductive. When Seattle starts actually looking elsewhere for some city-building inspiration (rather than at its own intractable parochialism), maybe there won’t be such cause for “city envy.”

      2. And by the way, I hardly think the every other city has nailed down the perfect transit model. Sometimes, other places should lead us as much by negative counter-example as by positive example.

        Let’s continue with the Chicago comparisons. At a time of severe urban flight that left vast areas of the city underutilized, The El yanked out a large number of stops, especially on what is now the Green Line (especially Near South and Near West). These areas are now horribly underserved by rapid transit — intermediate bus service just doesn’t cut it — and all involved parties (residents, businesses, developers, the city itself) are clamoring to get infill stations put back in.

        Then I come to Seattle Transit Blog and find people opining that it is paramount for Link to think of itself as a “regional system” and save precious seconds with gigantic stop spacing (exponentially increasing the need for “local transfers” that consume far more time than the stop spacing saves). They have learned nothing from Chicago’s error!

        Sometimes certain opinions are just wrong!

      3. But for what it’s worth, I do agree with you about infill stations, especially on the Red Line between Chinatown and 95th.

      4. d. p.: You are right, I don’t know Chicago. I was only born there and only lived there for (wait for it…) 30 years. More power to you if think Midway moved, but all they’ve done (vis-a-vis transit) since the Orange Line opened is improve the quality of the walkway.

        Going back this Wednesday and happy to snap some pics for you. I’ll even measure.

        We agree on most everything. Let’s not fight. I’ll even tell you my name. Oh, wait…

      5. I don’t know what to tell you, Jason. Maybe coincidence has flown you through O’Hare for the last nine years.

        The first time I stepped of a plane at Midway post-relocation, I honestly thought I’d gotten on the wrong plane!

        Midway’s runways occupy exactly one perfect square mile. The old terminal was on the northern edge of the square, roughly in the middle. The new terminal is on the eastern edge of the square, in its northern half.

        The new terminal is more than 1/2 mile from the old terminal. Which makes it, not coincidentally, more than 1/2 mile closer to
        the subway stop.

        Nothing remains of the old terminal. Not one brick. The only evidence of its existence is a short secure-access stretch of S. Laramie Ave, which follows the route of the former passenger drop-off roadway. (See the northwest corner of this cropped Google map: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=chicago,+il&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=46.946584,67.763672&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Chicago,+Cook,+Illinois&ll=41.788529,-87.745957&spn=0.010863,0.016544&t=h&z=16 )

      6. You’re joking, right?

        Yes, Midway has changed, for a multitude of reasons.

        Please provide maps depicting how Midway Airport reoriented itself between 2001 and 2010 to accommodate transit, and _any evidence that such reorientation was made to facilitate the Orange Line_.

      7. Dude, seriously, have you been to Midway in the last 10 years? What he says is the truth. The terminal is now literally across the road now from the airport and adjacent to the Orange Line. The pathway from the Orange Line is through the new parking garage ala Link however it is heated and somewhat climate controlled. It IS much closer than having to traipse the nearly half mile to the old terminal. The only thing that remains from the old terminal are some of the concourses. You walk from the new terminal across a skybridge over Cicero into the security checkpoint and flight operations hall. This portion stands over where the old terminal used to be. They’ve built new concourses and waiting areas. It was a billion dollar make over for this airport (budgeted @ $400million) and the airport was operating near its design capacity. Any new growth for Chicago will have to be at O’Hare or bring up capability at an alternative airport such as Gary Indiana or build the proposed Peatone airport.

        Here is a pictorial on the walk from Orange Line to airport:


      8. Charles, thanks for backing me up!! Except that, unfortunately, you are incorrect about the new terminal standing atop the old terminal, or about any of the old concourses still existing.

        Charles and Jason, please click on that Google Map link above. I cropped it precisely so that the El stop will be on the very right edge and so the upper-left image will cut of precisely where the old terminal was.

        See where the map says “S Laramie Ave” and “Southwest Airlines CU” and shows a brand-new hangar. That was the old short-term parking that was right next to the terminal at the old airport; the odd-shaped loop road encasing the hangar was the old drop-off roadway.

        The old terminal was a “T”-shape, stretching east and west from that loop road (gates west, baggage claim east), with the “T” sticking due south in the location of that solid triangle of tarmac.

        That was the old airport. It was far from the new one, and 100% non-contiguous. And gone!!

      9. P.S. It’s also worth noting that the outdoor-through-the-parking-lot section of the new path to the El — which as Charles notes is heated as well as protected — is at least a hundred feet shorter than Link’s outdoor section (not counting the far, far further indoor section of the SeaTac walk).

      10. From http://www.chicago-l.org

        “In Fall 2002, the Chicago Department of Aviation (DOA) solving a long-standing problem at Midway station, caused when the new airport terminal and parking garage were built on the east side of Cicero and the original elevated walkway that connected the station and the airport was bisected. As originally built, the CTA® station was connected to the airport terminal on the west side of Cicero Avenue by a long, enclosed, elevated 1,200-foot skywalk. However, when the new airport terminal and parking garage were built on the east side of Cicero, the elevated walkway was cut off. As a result, only a short stretch of the walkway remained and it fed directly into the parking garage, which in turn fed into the new terminal. This was not, in and of itself, a problem except that no provision was made in the parking garage for a protected walkway for passengers walking between the airport and the transit station. As a result, these luggage-toting travelers were subjected to a confusing, poorly-marked walkway and had to mingle dangerously with traffic in the garage. In Fall 2002, the city DOA built an enclosed walkway between the terminal and where the old walkway connects to the garage. Although travelers still have to cross traffic lanes in 2-3 places (depending on which path you take), the rest of the trip is now made in well-marked walkways enclosed with clear, corrugated plexiglas partitions. Metal bumpers protect the partitions from the outside in case an auto hits the wall by accident. This provides a much more hospitable, friendly connection between the airport and the transit station, making the trip both safer and more inviting.”

      11. And d.p. you’re not right about the old terminal being off of Laramie. It’s always been on Cicero, the old terminal was to the south and west of the new terminal, near 59th. It was actually in between the new concourses and remained open during construction. Cicero was relocated to the east to be between the new concourses and the terminal and parking garage.

      12. d.p., I have to admit that it has been a few years since I’ve used Midway. I used it during its transition from old to new so there was in fact a time when the new terminal was open and some of the old concourses still existed . The last time I used midway, that was the case. See this graphic I found that illustrates what it looked like.


        Where I have been living it is a bit of a challenge to get to either airport by public transportation especially if carrying large bags. To get to/from ORD is a 2 bus + Blue Line connection that takes about 1.5 to 2 hours versus a 25-30 minute taxi ride. So I have to weigh $2.00 fare versus $30 taxi ride. To get to MDW I could take an express bus downtown (40-60 minutes) and then connect to Orange line or walk 5 blocks and catch Redline downtown (50 minutes) to connect to Orange Line (45-50 minutes). A taxi from MDW would be $40-50. When it’s cold and snowy, the taxi often wins out. I justify not parking at the airport for a number of days.

      13. Charles, Jason, and Zed,

        In the late 1990s I used Midway so many times I lost count. Arrived in every possible manner (drop-off, parking, taxi, and El). I never used it during the transition, and have been there exactly once since the new terminal opened (the aforementioned time when I stepped off the plane and was unsure where I was).

        The 1990s layout of the exits off of Cicero into the drop-off loop or the various surface parking options, the locations of the checkout counters, the skycaps, the baggage claim, and the security areas, and the eastbound walk to the beginning of the pedestrian bridge/walkway to the El are so burned into my memory that I find it hard to believe I could have been entirely wrong about their orientation!

        Charles’s mid-construction diagram link implies that, in fact, they built the new garage and main building east of Cicero, the bridge over Cicero, and new concourses A and C, before attaching them to the old concourses (F, G, H), then started destroying the old check-in areas, roadways, and parking (this is the point when the diagram was made), before finally replacing all of the old concourses with the current largest one.

        If that’s correct, it implies that my directional orientation (the way the roadways and the airport frontage faced) was correct, but that my memory had it way further west than it was.

        Can anyone find a pre-2000 diagram (with the older roadways, parking, and check-in desk building still intact) to confirm?

      14. Gosh… I was definitely right about the terminal/concourse orientations, definitely wrong in my memory of the location!!

        Got an image that goes far back enough to show the original roadways and non-dismantled roadside portions of the airport?

        BTW, if I’m (re-)imagining it correctly based on Zed’s last image, the old security checkpoint (where the two remaining old concourses in the image meet) was indeed nearly twice as far from the El as the current security checkpoint (near the bridge over Cicero).

      15. Tim’s link seems to work sporadically. It’s a bare-bones “Microsoft Research Maps” page, so it is the beneficiary of Microsoft’s legendary reliability.

        But when it works… wow! My memories just come rushing back!

        There’s the L-shaped drive (check-in desks west, baggage claim south), facing the short-term lot just as I remember them. And the two main concourses completing the “t.”

        And there’s the elevated walkway stretching far, far, far to the El. (Although apparently garage construction had already begun by the time of the 1999 image, and the roadways were already being reconfigured around construction. The walkway used to parallel the roadway to its Cicero outflow; here, the roadway turns underneath the walkway to follow part of the old Cicero south to the new Cicero. See the 1978 topographic map, which is as things still were in 1998.)

        So strange that the spacial arrangement was just as I remembered, yet I was completely off on its placement and the exact location of those roadways I used so many times!

        But I was definitely right about it being much closer to the El — security checkpoint about 300 feet closer, with the nearest gates 500 feet closer and the furthest gates equidistant — largely due to new jetways being directly within the old Cicero Ave. (See the 2002 image; that dark asphalt box between the old and new concourses seems to represent the former airport perimiter/Cicero corridor.)

  10. People seem to forget that we have this excellent Airport “Satellite Transit System” in place and have so for over 40 years. While this may not be a commuter train per se, many businessman use this transit system, as well as most tourists to get to and from the concourses. Just shows you that Seattle CAN get transportation right and they got it right before most other airports.

    1. I believe Sea-Tac’s subway was the first in the country at any airport…I could be wrong.

  11. Oooh… I forgot a good one!

    Philadelphia has 3 separate commuter rail stations right within the airport!

    1. And it is a pity that airport isn’t directly served by Amtrak or some other truly intercity service. For example, the Keystones could originate/terminate there.

  12. Sorry, the Link still sucks for getting to and from the airport. I’ll leave it to others to list other ways, but the cold walk through a [expletive] creepy parking garage and the lack of reliability of the schedule are the top two for me.

    35 minutes my ass, I miss the 194.

      1. I agree with Testy. I am glad I now live in the Kent Valley and do not have to deal with that commute.

      2. I don’t miss the 194 at all. Stopped by 9pm. Only every 30 minutes Sat & Sun & evenings & during peaks in peak directly. Sometimes 15 minutes late. Sometimes early.

        However, I did like that the 174 ran all night with no connection needed. None of this shutting down at 11pm Sundays and midnight other nights, having to head to Pac Hwy, connect in Tukwila… Not that the 174 was any treat.

    1. Cold? Cold! hahahhahahah! Although 40 degrees and damp in Seattle is like 20F in Chicago I suppose.

      But I agree, they could put up a protective barrier along that route.

  13. Nobody’s forcing anyone to walk through the parking garage-even if their language barely belongs in a barn. However, Sea-Tac Airport signage and PA announcements at the south end of the terminal should direct LINK passengers along the baggage concourse, where there are restrooms, telephones, a magazine stand, and two espresso places. Maybe the garage walk is a little shorter- but I think after or before a long flight, passengers deserve a better introduction to both LINK and Seattle.

    Mark Dublin

    1. I think people are referring to the part where you walk along the edge of the parking garage for a few hundred yards before you can go into the terminal, not the part where you have the option of walking in the terminal.

  14. I took one large bag and my messenger bag carry-on for my 12 day trip to Thailand. My parents gave me a ride both ways. I could’ve managed on the 255 and Link but this trip was special. On a business trip last year I took the Link connector bus and Link from Tukwila.

    Don’t get me started about taking regular public transit from Bangkok’s airport to my home in the northern suburbs. A 3-hour trip involving dragging my luggage up and down pedestrian overpasses in the tropical heat, buses with very high floors that take off as soon as you step on board, and awful traffic. It sucks. Well, when their Airport Link opens later this year it’ll be a 15-minute non-stop train journey from the terminal to downtown instead of an hour-long slog on the bus, not including a 10-minute ride on the shuttle to get from the terminal to the transit center.

    Folks may be interested in my video of the walk from the Airport station platform to the main terminal check-in, this time with real travelers pulling luggage (not the opening day). You also get a cab view ride from Tukwila Intl Blvd to SeaTac/Airport.

    1. But will it really be later this year? It’s already years behind schedule, right? I went to Bangkok in Feburary 2009 and they said it would be open the month after we were there…

      1. They’re currently running free local trains during rush hour with ridership at 4-5,000 trips a day. Revenue service begins 23 August with flight check-ins at the downtown terminal beginning later in October.

  15. Huh. I almost always fly out of N Terminal and I always (speed)walked the whole way to/from the bus connections before LINK. I wonder if the signage is bad, or if I was always just in such a hurry to catch either a bus or a flight that I never took the time to look for any other trains down there.

  16. Regarding the posted map, wasn’t the station at the tip of B or C concourse closed?

  17. Was any serious consideration given to connecting all three airport connector trains on one continuous running loop (N loop to S loop via the shuttle train tracks)? A couple of stub connectors would make it a one seat ride to anywhere in the airport.

  18. A far bigger issue with Link is that it stops running too early – 11pm on Sundays and midnight the rest of the week is too early for an airport that has flight arrivals well after midnight 7 days a week. And the alternatives using buses are unattractive. The signage says that the Link station is closed so you can’t use the passageway to get to Pacific Highway (or Int’l Blvd). You have to switch at Tukwila.

    And while ST has made some improvements for early mornings Mon-Fri, on Sundays the first trains dont’ arrive until 7am, 2 hours too late for 6am flights, and there is no alternative bus at all, unless you want to take a 3am night owl.

    Link should operate departures until at least 1am 7 days a week, even if the headways are only 30 minutes. And Link should operate earlier 7 days a week.

  19. My last visitors mentioned that the signage is confusing; they had trouble finding the station on arrival. They’re not stupid or unobservant, so this might be a problem. You want it to work well for people new to the city, as well as for residents who can learn how to use it.

    1. Agreed,

      I recently flew into SeaTac with a co-worker from London, and though I knew where to head, I kept looking for signage on the way and didn’t see andthing that explicitly said Link, or had the light rail icon, until I was at the base of the escallator at the far north end of the baggage floor.

      My co-worker asked how I was able to find where I was going, as he was completely baffled by the lack of signage.

  20. A couple observations:

    1) I am seeing more people with luggage on Route 41 now than before Link was operating.

    2) If the garage is full and I have to park on the very eastern edge of the garage, how much farther is the walk to Link?

    1. Park off site at one of the valet lots and only walk a few feet from your car to the shuttle and then a few feet from the ground transportation loop to your ticketing counter. Rates start at $8 a day…

  21. I saw something a while ago that mentioned the possibility of a new STS line outside of security from the terminal to the Link Station to the Rental Car Facility. It was just a dotted line on a map that was published several years ago, but does anyone know anything about this?

    1. the original plan was to extend the STS line to NEAT (North End Airport Terminal), which was supposed to be another airport terminal near where the post office handling facility is now. 9/11 events and the resulting decline in air travel put that project into the dust bin. As I know now, the port and rental car companies will be using shuttle buses for now between the terminal and the consolidated rental car facility.

  22. I want the franchise for the golf cart shuttle.

    I keep hearing a variety of reasons the terminal ended up where it did. I have been told it was das Homeland Security’s idea, the Ports’ Idea, and LINK’s idea. TSA because a link can hold a LOT of 3 oz shampoo bottles. The Port because it would be expensive to bring it into the Terminal for the PORT (pillers, where to put posts, etc) and LINK because a straight line will allow less dwell time and faster routing when the line expands south someday…

    As someone who has worked around hospitality and tourism for years, it could have been done better. The Port already forces the half of the cruise passengers to run a minor marathon from North Terminal major hub favs like United and Alaska to take their 4 cruise bags and hobble along to Door 00. Thankfully 40 percent of us are trained in CPR… Any adventuresome tourist taking Link from Seattle TO the airport and flying American or Delta now gets to double that distance.

    Great for the young and fit club. But horrible for a large percentage of those who visit our city.

    1. I suspect that the Port wanted to protect its parking garage revenue, and that the taxi, Shuttle Express and Grayline did not want Link too close.

  23. I was recently at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport. A really high concrete bridge is being built over the center of the terminal. I asked around and found out that, yes, it is their new light rail. An elevator will drop passengers down from the high airport station to the front of the check-in area.

    1. No, the Phoenix light rail line goes near the airport but not to or through the airport. They are building a people mover to connect the light rail to the airport terminals, so it requires a transfer. It is a very expensive system.

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