Remember the good ol’ days when you could wave goodbye at the airport gate as someone boarded a plane? Or you could welcome them with a hug at the gate of a domestic flight? Or grab a bite to eat with a traveler on a layover?

Now that opportunity is back as the Port of Seattle debuts the SEA Visitor Pass pilot program allowing the public to enter the post-security side of the terminal even if you’re not traveling at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Beginning today, you can sign up for the SEA Visitor Pass pilot program and take advantage of the events, amenities, restaurants, and boutiques at the airport — without having to a book a ticket on a flight.

“It’s been 17 years since anyone without a ticket has been able to enjoy areas of the airport beyond security. And 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,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Ryan Calkins. “Airport staff continues to work to enhance the customer experience, not only for airport fans, but also for families to connect. For now this is a pilot program, but we’re excited to see if this is something the public is interested in.”

The pilot program will run through December 14 and the Port will study the feasibility of continuing the program permanently.

Here’s how it works:

  • You must apply online before 1:30 p.m. the day before you want to visit the airport.
  • Visitors must be approved by TSA and will be notified of their approval status by midnight the day before their arrival.
  • Enrollment is available Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Entrance to the post-security side of the terminal is allowed from Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • The program is limited to 50 visitors per day.
  • Approved visitors will go through the standard security checkpoints, so all security requirements for any traveler will be in place for visitors as well. Check with TSA for security requirements and plan ahead for peak traveler periods.
  • Meeting travelers at their gate applies only to domestic arrivals.

For more information, visit the SEA Visitor Pass Program page online or check out the Frequently Asked Questions.

What can you do once inside security?

  • Spend more time at the gate or a restaurant with family or friends
  • Bring your family to watch the arrivals and departures of different types of planes
  • Surprise your arriving service member at their gate (domestic gates only)
  • Participate in Celebrations at Sea-Tac events
  • Have an amazing meal at one of the airport restaurants
  • Find the perfect gift for your arriving passenger at the many boutiques
  • Attend a live music performance
  • Try an art walk
  • Or use your imagination for a unique experience of your own!

Scott Schaefer

Founder/Publisher/Editor. Three-time National Emmy Award winning Writer (“Bill Nye the Science Guy”), Director, Producer, Journalist and more...