Seattle-Tacoma International Airport becomes the latest 4-Star Airport in the USA
27 January 2022 – Skytrax, London, UK
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has been certified with the coveted 4-Star Airport Rating by international air transport rating agency Skytrax. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is only the second large hub U.S. airport (serving 40 million or more passengers) to be recognized at the 4-Star Rating level.
The latest audit at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was conducted in December 2021 and evaluated all front line customer facing areas of the airport, including in-depth analysis of the soon to be launched international arrivals facility. This new facility will transform the guest experience for deplaning, baggage reclaim, customs and immigration, and transfer flights.
This achievement follows the second anniversary of unveiling the new SEA airport brand and a suite of improvements that make the airport experience less stressful and more predictable. Today, travelers seeking help can find brightly colored green signs and customer experience uniforms, new digital tools like the flySEA App, SEA Spot Saver and Order SEA, and beautifully modernized spaces such as the N Concourse and International Arrivals Facility, opening in 2022.
“It is a testament to our incredible team, from frontline staff to airport leadership, that the airport earned this rating while also leading our FlyHealthy@SEA response to COVID-19,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner and Aviation Committee Chair Sam Cho. “Passengers are now seeing the benefits of our passionate service culture that’s inspired by the original nature of the Pacific Northwest.”
SEA is two years into a monumental decade as the airport ushers in a new era of customer-centered travel with better services, facilities, and amenities, and the audit recognises many of the first stage upgrades that have been introduced.
“The last couple of years were certainly monumental for SEA, though not initially in the way we imagined when launching our new brand and promise to customers,” said SEA Managing Director Lance Lyttle. “I am so proud of our team for the humility and agility displayed throughout the pandemic while continuing to deliver on exceptional advancements and major investments in customer service, terminal appearance, and traveler experience. Every day, we elevate.”
“Seattle-Tacoma International Airport implemented a broad range of terminal improvement projects to benefit the customer experience, which includes the complete renovation of the N Concourse and soon the opening of the new International Arrivals Facility,” said Skytrax CEO Edward Plaisted. “We are delighted to confirm the 4-Star Airport Rating to recognize these substantial changes as well as more nuanced upgrades to airport accessibility facilities such as the sensory room, a new interfaith prayer room, and SEA Spot Saver.”
The new arrivals area provides more than 450,000 square feet of additional terminal space which more than doubles the existing processing capacity, and as part of the revitalised arrivals experience, customers will travel along a 780-feet long aerial walkway which gives scenic views of Mount Rainer and across the airport complex.
In a first for a major US airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport will offer a bags first customs experience, where passengers will collect luggage from the reclaim belts before proceeding through CBP processing. The new systems have allowed the airport to reduce the minimum connecting time for international transfer flights from 90-minutes to 75-minutes.
Numerous positive changes at SEA led to the 4-Star Rating being awarded. Key factors include wayfinding and customer information improvements, seating and furniture upgrades, seat power rollout, and substantive upgrades to the dining experience. Further highlights include:
Completing the modernization of the N Concourse with modern amenities, seismic upgrades, sustainable features, and improved building function. This bigger, brighter, and bolder space betters your experience with more dining and retail options, a diverse art collection that reflects the culture, spirit, and history of the region, nature inspired design, and a brand-new performance stage.
Launching SEA Spot Saver, a first-of-its-kind reservation program for TSA screening for passengers flying out of Seattle! Experience expedited screening without a membership to skip the security line. Schedule your appointment up to 72 hours before your flight or when you arrive to the airport at the ticketing level of the terminal.
Introducing the globally accredited and award-winning FlyHealthy@SEA program to protect the health of passengers and employees and restore confidence in air travel.
Debuted the Sensory Room, a quiet area designed to reduce the stress of travel for those with neurological or developmental disabilities, to be a calming environment for those who may feel overwhelmed and overstimulated by the multitude of sights and sounds of the airport. SEA’s customer service team launched a social story and resource guide for neurodivergent passengers in partnership with ARC of King County and Washington Autism Alliance and Advocacy to prepare for travel during COVID-19.
Unveiled the Interfaith Prayer and Meditation Room that welcomes all faiths and beliefs as an inclusive and peaceful place for meditation, worship, and reflection.
Began welcoming non-ticketed passengers to enter the secure side of the airport with SEA Visitor Pass to send off and meet loved ones or eat, shop, and explore.
Opened an updated and better located Lost and Found on the Baggage Claim level across from Carousel 13 that easier to find so you can find your missing items. The new location is double the size with more space for sorting lost items and space for a faster customer service.
Expanded the size of the airport’s customer care team to help respond to customers questions on social media, text messages, and emails. SEA also won the 2021 World Airport Award for Best Airport Staff in North America.
In 2022, SEA will open the International Arrivals Facility, a major project to make the international arrivals experience more predictable, more efficient, and more reflective of our region for internationally arriving passengers to Seattle.
The Covid-19 pandemic has driven a renewed focus on factors of cleanliness and hygiene which was noted to be greatly improved during the recent assessment. There has been a notable enhancement for the presentation of terminal restrooms, and this has been partly steered by the introduction of new and renovated bathrooms in some terminal areas.
THE 4-STAR AIRPORT RATING
The 4-Star rating is a seal of quality approval that recognises airports which are providing a good overall Quality performance. A four-star rating normally differentiates between good and excellent classifications, and in some areas where an airport might be meeting five-star levels, the rating may be applied as 4-Star if consistency is not being achieved.
ABOUT SEATTLE-TACOMA INTERNATIONAL
Operated by the Port of Seattle, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) serves the people of the Pacific Northwest with essential services, access to hundreds of domestic and global destinations, and economic activity that supports tens of thousands of jobs and produced $20 billion in economic activity. At SEA, we promise to create, through a passionate service culture, an elevated travel experience that’s inspired by the original nature of the Pacific Northwest. We created the globally accredited and award-winning FlyHealthy@SEA program to protect the health of passengers and employees and restore confidence in air travel. For more information about our U.S. Top 10 airport, visit www.flysea.org
Skytrax, the International air transport rating organisation, was established in 1989 and is based in London, United Kingdom. The World Airport Rating programme is a leading international Rating system operating since 1999, which classifies airports across the globe by the quality of product and staff service.