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SEATAC is a bad airport--what happens if not on a partner airline?

SEATAC is a bad airport--what happens if not on a partner airline?

Old May 14, 18, 11:24 pm
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SEATAC is a bad airport--what happens if not on a partner airline?

I flew from Victoria BC to PDX yesterday w/a change of planes in SEA. 24 minute flight from YYJ to SEA. On time departure and landing. Spent at least the same amount of time taxiing to our "gate". Finally got to deplane and then went through customs/immigration in a reasonably efficient way. Then had to reclaim bags and hand off a piece of paper generated by the customs machine to some other officer. Dumped checked bag on conveyer and then stuck in a ridiculously long and very slow line to get to one of two security check points (which made little sense since I couldn't have accessed the customs area and never left airport confines but be that as it may). No TSA line. Full emptying of pockets, belts, shoes, laptop, etc. It took forever. Then had to get to C gates which took either 2 or 3 trains to get there (I cannot remember!). I had a 92 minute layover. By the time I got to my gate, I was one of the last to board. Enormously crummy experience. If I had flown on BA to SEA, I don't think I could have made my Alaska flight to PDX because I wouldn't have been able to stick it on the conveyer belt cuz no interline agreement. Is this true? Is there any kind of workaround? thanks.
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Old May 14, 18, 11:26 pm
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BA is a codeshare partner of AS.
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Old May 14, 18, 11:32 pm
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Originally Posted by Chugach View Post
BA is a codeshare partner of AS.
Understood, but BA will not check luggage through if I have purchased one ticket from BA and another from Alaska despite me needing both to get to PDX where BA doesn't fly...sigh.
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Old May 14, 18, 11:39 pm
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Originally Posted by bigbirdwithsilverwings View Post
Understood, but BA will not check luggage through if I have purchased one ticket from BA and another from Alaska despite me needing both to get to PDX where BA doesn't fly...sigh.
But they will sell you a single ticket with a BA flight to SEA and an AS flight to PDX so any bags would be checked through on that ticket...
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Old May 14, 18, 11:41 pm
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Originally Posted by bigbirdwithsilverwings View Post
Understood, but BA will not check luggage through if I have purchased one ticket from BA and another from Alaska despite me needing both to get to PDX where BA doesn't fly...sigh.
Um, due to said codesharing agreement, you can buy a PDX-LHR round trip on a single ticket from BA, so... why not just do that?
And yes, SEA can get crowded, especially at immigration, which is why the new international arrivals facility is under construction.
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Old May 15, 18, 6:39 am
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Yes, it's 3 trains from International Arrivals to the N gates. I can't think of any other airport in the world that makes you take 3 trains on a connection.
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Old May 15, 18, 6:59 am
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Originally Posted by bigbirdwithsilverwings View Post
I flew from Victoria BC to PDX ... Dumped checked bag on conveyer and then stuck in a ridiculously long and very slow line to get to one of two security check points (which made little sense since I couldn't have accessed the customs area and never left airport confines but be that as it may).
All international arrivals are subject to TSA screening for connections.
Originally Posted by bigbirdwithsilverwings View Post
Then had to get to C gates which took either 2 or 3 trains to get there (I cannot remember!).
Technically you only *had* to take one train, walking to the low-C gates from A is almost certainly quicker.
Originally Posted by bigbirdwithsilverwings View Post
I had a 92 minute layover. By the time I got to my gate, I was one of the last to board. Enormously crummy experience.
While I'm sorry you did not enjoy your experience, I would argue that few US airports really excel in this area.
Originally Posted by bigbirdwithsilverwings View Post
If I had flown on BA to SEA, I don't think I could have made my Alaska flight to PDX because I wouldn't have been able to stick it on the conveyer belt cuz no interline agreement. Is this true? Is there any kind of workaround? thanks.
There is an interline agreement in place as part of the BA/AS codeshare agreement; however, BA has recently instated a policy where they refuse to thru check bags on separate itineraries. This also applies to BA-BA connections. More often than not there are AS reps to recheck bags immediately following the customs check; if not, skip S security and proceed to departures to recheck your bag and clear security.
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Old May 15, 18, 7:10 am
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Originally Posted by Chugach View Post
BA is a codeshare partner of AS.
Originally Posted by bigbirdwithsilverwings View Post
Understood, but BA will not check luggage through if I have purchased one ticket from BA and another from Alaska despite me needing both to get to PDX where BA doesn't fly...sigh.
Originally Posted by croberts134 View Post
But they will sell you a single ticket with a BA flight to SEA and an AS flight to PDX so any bags would be checked through on that ticket...
I'm very confused OP is about travel from CANADA to SEA to PDX. There's no reason fro BA to be involved, although it might have been possible to purchase the ticket(s) from BA or with BA codeshares if for some reason the OP wanted to have the ticket(s) written this way.

Most Canadian transborder flights do preclearance, so there shouldn't be USA customs etc. upon arrival, nor even TSA security (was the OP referring to PreCheck when he/she asserts that there was no TSA line on arrival?) AFAIK. Are departures from the Victoria BC to the USA an exception?

Originally Posted by jinglish View Post
Um, due to said codesharing agreement, you can buy a PDX-LHR round trip on a single ticket from BA, so... why not just do that?
And yes, SEA can get crowded, especially at immigration, which is why the new international arrivals facility is under construction.
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Old May 15, 18, 7:47 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Most Canadian transborder flights do preclearance, so there shouldn't be USA customs etc. upon arrival, nor even TSA security ...
Many of the high-volume Canadian airports do have U.S. pre-clearance but Victoria, BC (YYJ) does not.
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Old May 15, 18, 9:05 am
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Originally Posted by bigbirdwithsilverwings View Post
Then had to reclaim bags and hand off a piece of paper generated by the customs machine to some other officer. Dumped checked bag on conveyer and then stuck in a ridiculously long and very slow line to get to one of two security check points (which made little sense since I couldn't have accessed the customs area and never left airport confines but be that as it may).
(bolding added)

you did have access to your bags and could have taken items banned from the sterile area from your bags. E.g. it is perfectly legal to check a bag containing a large knife. Taking it out while you have the bag and putting it in your carry-on would not be.... desirable.
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Old May 15, 18, 9:13 am
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"There is an interline agreement in place as part of the BA/AS codeshare agreement; however, BA has recently instated a policy where they refuse to thru check bags on separate itineraries. This also applies to BA-BA connections. More often than not there are AS reps to recheck bags immediately following the customs check; if not, skip S security and proceed to departures to recheck your bag and clear security."

I did not see any AS reps but perhaps they were there. Thanks for this info. I do not have the option of buying one ticket as I am traveling on a 2 for 1 BA companion certificate on the transatlantic flights which only apply to BA metal. Based on my experience on Sunday, I'm thinking I may have to build in 2.5-3 hours for the connecting flight from SEA-PDX which seems unreasonably long. Is that appropriate. Thanks!
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Old May 15, 18, 9:15 am
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I'm really confused. OP, you flew on BA from London to Portland with a connection in Victoria and Seattle?
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Old May 15, 18, 9:16 am
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Originally Posted by bigbirdwithsilverwings View Post
If I had flown on BA to SEA, I don't think I could have made my Alaska flight to PDX because I wouldn't have been able to stick it on the conveyer belt cuz no interline agreement. Is this true? Is there any kind of workaround? .
Yes. There are flights every hour or more often from SEA to PDX. Book one that leaves you a greater safety window. You have a lot of choices. When I came back from LHR on BA earlier this year and connected to QX (not PDX), I had a choice of a 90 min connection and a near five hour connection. I chose the latter and hung out in the Amex lounge, enjoyed a hot shower, and had a decent lunch somewhere instead of the ridiculous BA Premium Economy Premium Economy “meal”. Not ideal, of course, but hardly unique to SeaTac. And I much prefer it over the LHR experience.
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Old May 15, 18, 9:21 am
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BA and AS have had an interline agreement since the 1970's so I don't understand the whole issue about ticketing or bags. It goes without saying that if one chooses to purchase separate tickets, BA will not check across them. But, that is true even across separate tickets.

The US requires all onwards passengers clearing CBP in the US to be processed through a security checkpoint. There are items, firearms and liquids exceeding 3 oz. being two of them, which may be transported in checked, but not carry-on baggage. OP having had access to his bag, needed to be rescreened.

He also chose a short connection. While there is nothing wrong with it, he chose it.
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Old May 15, 18, 9:30 am
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Originally Posted by bigbirdwithsilverwings View Post
Based on my experience on Sunday, I'm thinking I may have to build in 2.5-3 hours for the connecting flight from SEA-PDX which seems unreasonably long. Is that appropriate.
If you're on separate tickets, absolutely. I've played the separate-tickets game before, and that's the absolute minimum gap I'd ever allow between the two, and that's when I don't have to worry about immigration and waiting for checked bags. What if your inbound flight is delayed?
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