Seattle Airport Launches Program That Lets You Pick Up Your Family And Friends At The Gate
By Rachel George
Picking up or dropping off loved ones from the airport can be a happy, emotional experience, especially for those you haven’t seen in a long time. Instead of patiently waiting near baggage claim, now you can meet them as soon as they step foot off the plane.
Seattle-Tacoma Aiport recently launched a visitors’ program allowing people without tickets to go past security checkpoints and meet their family, friends right at the gate.
“The fact that you can say goodbye to your loved one or child or meet them at the gate and surprise them is very exciting,” Airport Managing Director Lance Lyttle told MSN.
Each day 50 visitors will be granted access to domestic terminal gates and passenger-only areas at Sea-Tac Airport. Officials hope this program will invite nontravelers to eat and shop at the airport.
Not to overwhelm airport staff and security checkpoints, visitors will only be allowed Tuesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. Sea-Tac is the second airport to attempt this type of operation since it was suspended after the attacks on 9/11, after Pittsburgh International Airport.
Individuals have to sign-up online one day prior to the day of the visit. After that, they will receive a pre-approval email from TSA as long as they sign up before 1:30 p.m. Visitor passes will be distributed at the airport after going through TSA checkpoints, of course.
According to airport spokesman Perry Cooper, the airport is the busiest between 4:30-7:30 a.m. “We are doing the trial period right now so that we don’t interfere with the winter holidays because we already have a busy season,” he told the Seattle Times.
Apparently, the airport reached their limit for visitors this past Saturday, the second day of launching.
Trials end on Dec. 14, surveying visitors and determining the longevity of this program and its impact.