Seattle Airport Transportation: Comparisons of All Ground Transportation Options

Interstate 5 and Seattle downtown skyline

Written by Dobrina Zhekova | December 14, 2022

Jump to:   Bus  |  Light Link Rail  |  Shuttle  |  Ride Share Apps Taxi  |  Car Rental  |  Airport Car Service

As one of the country's top ten busiest airports connecting the Pacific Northwest to the rest of the US and the world, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is a bustling transportation hub serving over 35 million passengers each year.

And while there is a wide variety of transfer options that connect Sea-Tac, as it is often abbreviated, with Seattle and neighboring Bellevue, choosing the right one can be a little overwhelming.

And while there is a wide variety of transfer options that connect Sea-Tac, as it is often abbreviated, with Seattle and neighboring Bellevue, choosing the right one can be a little overwhelming.

Twelve miles separate the airport from the city, but that can take you anywhere from quick 20 minutes to up to an hour, depending on the means of transportation.

From public transit to share rides, cabs, shuttles, and limousine service, consider this your all-in-one guide on everything you need to know to plan your reliable transfer from and to Seattle Airport.

Woman sitting at the airport talking on the phone, corporate travel
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Sound Transit and King County Metro operate several bus routes that can take you to a variety of locations in Seattle and Bellevue (you can check out detailed bus maps here) for an affordable price—tickets cost $3.25 for Sound Transit's express bus and $2.75 for a one-way trip on the King County Metro bus.

And while this is the most wallet-friendly option, you will have to compromise on travel time.

Depending on your final destination, the trip to downtown Seattle will take at least 45 minutes.

And then, you have to take additional time for walking to get to your hotel or meeting/conference spot, with luggage in tow.

Also, note that only King County metro's Route 124 operates overnight between 1 am and 5 am.

Light Link Rail

Seattle's Light Link Rail is, by far, the most popular and convenient public transit option for getting from SeaTac airport to the city.

A covered walkway that goes on for about 0.3 miles via the airport's garage leads to the stop.

Additionally, there are signs at baggage claim that will point you in the stop's direction.

Trains depart every eight to ten minutes, and adult fares range between $2.25-$3.25 (seniors over 65 pay $1).

Transit time from the airport to downtown Seattle is about 35-40 minutes.

However, if you are headed to Bellevue, Light Link Rail will not be an option until 2024, when the East Link rail line is expected to be completed.


Shuttles are another convenient option for those seeking a more budget-friendly way to commute to Seattle.

Shuttles make fewer stops than buses and will drop you off at your hotel—but only if it's centrally located in Seattle or Bellevue.

So expect to get to your destination much faster. However, you will be traveling in a van with other passengers, and some companies require you to make a reservation at least 72 hours before your trip.

Rates usually start at $50 per person for a one-way trip and can go slightly up depending on the destination.

Another downside is that if you're traveling with much luggage, you will have to inform the company in advance.

Ride Share Apps

Ride-share apps such as Lyft, Uber, and Wingz are available 24/7 and are a reliable Seattle airport transfer option.

There is a designated pickup area on the third floor of the parking garage, and attendants are on-site to assist you with finding your ride.

Unfortunately, rates may fluctuate depending on traffic, time of the day, type of service, and demand, so you may end up spending twice the amount of similar service providers.

In general, expect to pay at least $65–$85 for a transfer to downtown Seattle or Bellevue, plus a booking fee if you reserve your ride in advance.

Two equally important factors often overlooked are the driver and the vehicle—you have no control over either.

Speeding, unprofessional behavior, or an old and untidy car are always options and may contribute to a less-than-pleasant experience.


If you'd like to skip the rate-guessing game, head to the third floor of the airport's parking garage and get in a cab.

If you're going downtown Seattle, choose a flat-rate taxi, which will take you to your destination for $40. For Bellevue's hotel district, the flat rate is $47.

Get in a metered cab if your final destination is out of the way and you prefer to be dropped off at the exact destination. The flat pickup rate is $2.60, plus $2.70 for every mile and an additional surcharge for gas.

The driver will charge you $.50 for every waiting minute and another $.50 for an additional passenger.

Metered taxis have a three-digit vehicle number and are painted in a single color, while flat-rate taxis have a four-digit number and are painted in two colors.

Car Rental

Renting a car may be a good idea if you are staying in Seattle for a few days and will be moving around a lot.

All car rental providers are located a short ride away from the airport, but a complimentary shuttle service will take you there.

Pickup spots are located on the lower drive of the baggage claim level—one is on the north side, and the second one—is on the south side.

Shuttles are available 24 hours to passengers. Currently, 12 car rental companies are available to choose from, each offering a fleet of vehicles at different price points.

However, you should also add on top of your car rental agreement the cost of insurance, gas, and parking, which in downtown Seattle can be hard to find or expensive (or, frankly, both).

Airport Car Service

The most reliable, comfortable, and fastest way to travel from and to Seatac Airport is to book a limo service or a private car service from a company with a long-standing reputation and experience, such as Starline Town Car.

Our expert and courteous drivers are knowledgeable in all things Seattle, Redmond, and Bellevue and will get you safely and on time from point A to point B by avoiding high-traffic areas and making your ride as enjoyable as possible.

Starline offers affordable airport transfer services that include the finest fleet of vehicles so that you can arrive at your destination in style.

Our car will pick you up and drop you off at the airline's departure terminal, so you don't have to waste time walking or switching modes of transportation there.

You can choose between a Lincoln MKT and a Chrysler 300 sedan that can comfortably accommodate between two to four travelers with a luggage capacity of three suitcases.

If you're traveling in a group or with family or are a business executive, opt for a luxury SUV such as a Yukon Denali or an Escalade.

Stretch limousines are also available to greet you at the airport. They are an excellent option for special occasions and celebrations.

And lastly, our luxury vans and buses can seat up to 30 passengers in case you are in town for a conference with many of your co-workers.

A Chauffeur opening the door to the vehicle for passenger
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For your next Sea-Tac trip, see our airport transfer rates below:

City Sedan SUV
Seattle to Sea-Tac $65–75 $100–115
Bellevue to Sea-Tac $65–75 $100–115
Redmond to Sea-Tac $75–100 $110–130
Kirkland to Sea-Tac $70-90 $105–125
Bothell to Sea-Tac $90–120 $125–170
New Castle to Sea-Tac $65–75 $100–115
Issaquah to Sea-Tac $75–95 $115–135
Des Moines to Sea-Tac $65–75 $100-115

The best thing about renting a private car or limo service is that rates are only slightly higher than taxis or shared-ride options, but the benefits are many.

Take the stress out of getting around Bellevue and Seattle by booking our car service to accompany you everywhere you go. And if you are in town with a group to celebrate a wedding or another special occasion, reach out for a quote on our limousine service, concert and dining car service, or a party bus.