What to Do at SeaTac for 5 Hours?

Old Feb 11, 2023, 8:16 am
  #1  
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What to Do at SeaTac for 5 Hours?

I’m booked on SEA-DEN Monday at 1630, but, as it turns out, the friend I’m staying with in Olympia is leaving for Korea that same morning at 1130, so it makes sense for me to go with him to the airport. Will I be able to check in that early—I do have checked luggage—or will I need to roam the departures hall until I can? I looked to change to an earlier flight, but that would have doubled the fare, so I’ll just stick with the flight I’m on.

Any suggestions on what I might do in the intervening 5 hours? Fortunately, I’m travelling on the penultimate day of F-ticket access to AS lounges for such a short flight, so there is always those options: recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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Old Feb 11, 2023, 9:15 am
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You could check your bags then take the light rail downtown for a bit, walk Pike Place Market.

You could take an Uber to the museum of flight.

The north terminal lounge is nice but 5 hours is a stretch and the food options are still pretty limited for that kind of stay.
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Old Feb 11, 2023, 9:42 am
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AS starts accepting checked bags 4 hours ahead of flight time - there’s a thread from a week or so ago that suggests exceptions to this aren’t too common. Given that your friend would likely need to be at the airport by 930, waiting landside for 1230 bag check seems like a non-option.

Alternative 1 would be to use the baggage storage place in baggage claim; they’ll hold your bags for a charge, leaving you free to do something off-airport.

You could also try to switch to an earlier flight at check-in, if there’s availability. I believe the fee for non-status SDC is $50, likely a lot lower than the fare difference you’re seeing now.
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Old Feb 11, 2023, 10:04 am
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yah, I was going to suggest SDC but OP is apparently in paid F which may be a bit more challenging at T-18
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Old Feb 11, 2023, 11:22 am
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Originally Posted by jrl767
yah, I was going to suggest SDC but OP is apparently in paid F which may be a bit more challenging at T-18
Currently, there are 4 F seats remaining on the 11:40am flight.
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Old Feb 11, 2023, 12:36 pm
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Originally Posted by flytoeat
Currently, there are 4 F seats remaining on the 11:40am flight.
There are 11 pax on the waitlist. The cabin will be full long before the OP can check-in and exercise a SDC.

James
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Old Feb 11, 2023, 1:27 pm
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Sharp's Roast House is just down the street, close enough to be walkable from the terminal. Very good food, though probably not ideal for a vegetarian! LOL

https://www.sharpsroasthouse.com/
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Old Feb 11, 2023, 2:05 pm
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Hmm… thanks for all the suggestions above. It sounds like the airport is pretty barren landslide. I have already been in Seattle for a few days, so I probably wouldn’t want to go downtown. I’m surprised that a major airport like SEA, and moreover, home of AS, only allows check-in 4 hours ahead of time. I’m wondering whether it would be worth using left-luggage and go somewhere, or just hang landside until I can check in, then hang in the lounge.
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Old Feb 11, 2023, 2:26 pm
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This might sound weird, but I have soft spot for the 13 Coins Restaurant near the airport. For me, it was happenstance in coming to the place many years ago late at night, exhausted from a flight, but any time I have time to burn at SeaTac, I always wander down here.

It's nothing fancy or mind-blowning, but I enjoy it for what it is: a kind of eclectic looking diner: https://www.13coins.com/contact-us/seatac-13-coins/
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Old Feb 11, 2023, 2:28 pm
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To me, three hours landside at SEA would not be an option, and three-ish airside following that isn’t exactly my idea of fun. From memory there’s a Starbucks and deli/newsstand (with great cinnamon rolls) in baggage claim and a sit-down place (former wine bar…forget what it’s called now) behind the ticket counters.

Offsite, Museum of Flight is a good choice, if interested. A leisurely meal offsite would be another: the above-mentioned Sharp’s or nearby 13 Coins. Bag storage is in the baggage claim area: https://smartecarte.com/baggage-storage/seattle-seatac/

AS and SEA are not alone with the 4-hour rule. Ironically this generated some discussion in the forum quite recently.
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Old Feb 11, 2023, 2:58 pm
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Originally Posted by Flying for Fun
There are 11 pax on the waitlist. The cabin will be full long before the OP can check-in and exercise a SDC.

James
Doesn't that presume that all available seats will be allocated to upgrades? I haven't tracked this lately, but I remember last year Alaska held back F seats at times for gate upgrade processing. Is it universal they no longer do that?
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Old Feb 11, 2023, 3:23 pm
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Originally Posted by northinsouth
This might sound weird, but I have soft spot for the 13 Coins Restaurant near the airport. For me, it was happenstance in coming to the place many years ago late at night, exhausted from a flight, but any time I have time to burn at SeaTac, I always wander down here.

It's nothing fancy or mind-blowning, but I enjoy it for what it is: a kind of eclectic looking diner: https://www.13coins.com/contact-us/seatac-13-coins/
There was a recent UA thread where people were suggesting visiting a gas station during a layover so 13 Coins shouldn’t be weird at all. To the OP, it’s not for everyone, but to me it’s a mixture of nostalgia with a hint of dive bar that isn’t met anywhere else. And the swivel seats at the bar are fun. I’m with northinsouth that it’s my first choice for a medium length layover. Any longer I would probably go into Ranier Beach area to get some Ethiopian food (several other options available) but really up to you. After a long trip I can also just see sitting at the airport and reading a book or watching Netflix for a few hours.
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Old Feb 11, 2023, 3:29 pm
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Originally Posted by RatherGhastly
I’m surprised that a major airport like SEA, and moreover, home of AS, only allows check-in 4 hours ahead of time. .
It's actually not that surprising, very common for airlines to have rules like that for checked luggage at airports in the US.

https://community.southwest.com/t5/K...ge/ta-p/100144
https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/...e=arrivaltimes
https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly...t/process.html
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Old Feb 11, 2023, 5:47 pm
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Recent thread about the 4 hr bag check rule that others mentioned:

No Baggage Drop Until 4 Hours Before Departure?

second or third the 13 Coins suggestion. Discovered it a few years ago during a overnight stay at one of the airport hotels.
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Old Feb 11, 2023, 7:33 pm
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Originally Posted by northinsouth
This might sound weird, but I have soft spot for the 13 Coins Restaurant near the airport. For me, it was happenstance in coming to the place many years ago late at night, exhausted from a flight, but any time I have time to burn at SeaTac, I always wander down here.

It's nothing fancy or mind-blowning, but I enjoy it for what it is: a kind of eclectic looking diner: https://www.13coins.com/contact-us/seatac-13-coins/
I also spent a few middle-of-the-nights at 13C.
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