With more than 3.7 million residents in the Seattle metropolitan area, SeaTac has grown to become the 15th busiest airport in the country, with nearly 35 million passengers having walked through its doors last year.
With this in mind, whether you’re a permanent Seattle resident or just visiting; going to or from the airport, there are several transportation methods you can choose from. However, while each method has its benefits, they each come with their own unique drawbacks as well.
So, let’s take a look at the four most popular methods of traveling to and from Sea-Tac, as well as some of the pros and cons associated with each of them.
Seattle Airport Ground Transportation Options
With more than 600 licensed taxis operating within the City of Seattle, they are far and away the most popular option for traveling to and from Sea-Tac, and make up well over 50% of the for-hire vehicle market. However, according to a 2013 study conducted by the City of Seattle, taxis have the lowest customer satisfaction ratings from a variety of perspectives, including response times, ease of payment, cleanliness, vehicle condition, and overall quality of service.
In fact, the report noted, “Taxi services performed poorly in comparison to immediate alternatives with over 85% of responses indicating Limo services to be very good, compared to 10% feeling taxi services fell into this.” On the other hand, limo providers consistently ranked in the #1 and 2 spots for all these matrices.
With the recent opening of SeaTac’s rental car facility, you’ll no longer be able to simply walk out of the terminal and pick up your car. Instead, you’ll have to wait outside for a shuttle bus while trying to avoid as much of the diesel fumes as possible. After you’re picked up at the terminal and dropped off at the appropriate rental car company, you’ll have to stand around and wait for someone to help you. After what may seem like an eternity, you’ll finally be able to climb into your rental car and hit the road.
While it may seem nice to drive all by yourself, keep in mind that the entire Seattle region is relatively congested (not just the downtown area), and that free parking is scarce. This means that on top of your steep rental car fees, you’ll either end up circling the block numerous times while trying to locate an available parking spot, or spend even more money for paid parking.
According to a 2011 report published by the Seattle Department of Transportation, while the city’s population increased by more than 70,000 individuals since 2011, overall traffic fell by more than 30,000 vehicles. This is definitely positive news, as it signifies that Seattleites are increasingly choosing alternate forms of transportation.
However, despite this decrease, Seattle roadway traffic is notoriously bad. A lot of this is because the region’s topography, which is sandwiched between several bodies of water and mountains. In fact, according to this study, Seattle has the 8th worst traffic in the United States—even worse than Boston and Washington D.C. And when it comes down to it, who wants to spend their time behind the wheel in stop-and-go gridlock?
For just $2.75, the Seattle Link light rail can move you from downtown all the way to Sea-Tac. Although this is the least expensive option, keep the following in mind:
The light rail can be extraordinarily crowded during much of the day; not just rush hour. This means that if you’re traveling with more than 1 or 2 small bags or with small children, you may want to choose alternate travel times. Also, partly because of it’s inexpensive nature and relatively lax fare enforcement, it’s often the case that homeless individuals will hop on the train for a few rides, which may make some visitors uncomfortable.
When You Need to Get To or From SeaTac, Use Airport Limo Service Instead?
We understand that want to receive a high level of value for your hard-earned money, but in an ideal world, you don’t want to be forced to sacrifice your comfort or the ability to travel in a peaceful, individualized environment on the way to SeaTac.
But here’s the good news: When you choose Starline Town Car & Limousine as your SeaTac ground transportation provider, you really can have it both ways. While choosing Starline can’t help you avoid traffic altogether, our industry-leading logistics can help you arrive as fast as possible. In addition, you can sit back, read a book, or just relax while your professional driver handles all the legwork.
Before We Go: One More SeaTac Airport Tip
If there’s one piece of advice we could give to every individual traveling to SeaTac, it would be this: arrive early.
In general, it’s recommended that you arrive at the airport at least two hours prior to your scheduled boarding time. This is because SeaTac has a fairly widespread reputation for molasses-slow security checkpoints, often manned by only one TSA agent who is responsible for handling hundreds of travelers.
When you make your reservation, be sure to factor in this additional time. If you’d prefer to give us a call to help walk you through the process, feel free to contact us directly at (206) 261-1191. Breathe easy, and we’ll handle the rest!
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