Airfares are pretty cheap these days for sure, but then you have to factor in the cost of actually getting to the airport on top of that which can quickly add up if you don’t have the luxury of having a friend or family member willing to drive you there and pick you up. Let’s face it, most people (myself included) don’t like being asked for airport rides, since it’s about a 20 mile drive from Seattle and can take 25-45 minutes or longer depending on traffic, plus your ride also has to make the return trip back home… so bearing that in mind, here are some other options for transportation to and from Seatac airport, detailing the ease of use and the total round trip price:
1) Take an airport shuttle: You can travel to and from Seatac airport in an airport shuttle, such as Shuttle Express. The shuttle service will pick you up and drop you off at either your home or at certain pickup/drop off locations in the Seattle area and the price depends on which area you live in. You can either ride in a shared shuttle, with a group of strangers, or you can book a private shuttle which is a better deal if you are traveling with a large group of people. Coming out of my own northend Greenwood neighborhood, Shuttle Express charges $64 for one person for a round trip ride to the airport and back home, but the price goes down if you travel with a friend or two: the fare is $80.00 for a two person round trip, $96.00 for three people, and $128 for four people round trip.
2) Take a cab or town car: Taxi cabs are always a convenient option for getting to and from the airport, however you do have to schedule a cab to get you to the airport at least 24 hours in advance. The average taxi airport service in Seattle to Seatac airport is $32.00 if you’re within the downtown area, but the price goes up if you live outside of downtown, as most of us do. The price I was quoted from Yellow Cab for a ride to Seatac from my home in Greenwood was $52.00. You can actually get a town car ride for just a bit more — I was quoted $55.00 for a town car ride, and yes, a town car is a bit nicer than a regular taxi cab. Total round trip price: $104-110, plus tips. The taxi cab is the best deal for two or three people traveling together, but bear in mind taxi cabs do have limits on how much luggage they will carry.
3) Drive your own car and park it: You can always drive your own car to the airport and park it in the Seatac parking garage. It’s rather spendy, though, as the Seatac parking fee is $20.00 a day. If you’re going to be gone for, say five days, it’s rather expensive at $100.00. However, there are a few non-airport parking lots located within a few miles of Seatac that charge an average of $10.00 a day to park your car while you’re away on travel, and they also offer free shuttle rides to and from the airport from the parking lot. These parking lots boast that they are “safe and secure”, however, having never used one I cannot vouch for that. The best deal I’ve found is with Ajax Parking, located about three miles from the Seatac airport terminal. Ajax Parking has an online coupon good for $7.80 a day parking (plus a one-time Seatac fee of $3.00), and they also offer a free shuttle service to and from the airport terminal. The average price for parking your car in one of these parking lots for five days while you’re on your trip: $52.00 plus the price of gas to and from the airport, so the total is roughly $57.00.
4) Take a Metro bus: This is the option I chose for my last trip to the airport and back home. Seattle actually has a pretty good metro bus system that will take you right to the Seatac airport terminal, although if you live outside of the downtown area you will most likely have to take two buses with a transfer to get there. You can catch a metro bus to downtown Seattle from most neighborhoods in Seattle, and from downtown a number 174 or 194 bus will take you the rest of the way to Seatac. On my last trip I caught a number 5 bus from the Greenwood neighborhood (in north Seattle) at 11:50 AM which took me downtown, where I got off, walked one block to the Westlake Mall bus center, and transferred to the number 194 which took me the rest of the way to the Seatac terminal. There was about a ten minute wait for the 194, but I arrived at the airport at 1:00 PM. Total time: one hour and ten minutes — not bad. The bus ride back home from the airport took about the same amount of time. A Seattle metro bus ride costs $1.75 each way, so total cost for a round trip to the airport: $3.50. Not bad at all. If you’re traveling with a lot of baggage this might not be an option for you, but if you travel simply like I do with maybe one or two bags, a metro bus ride works out pretty well and I would definitely use this transportation mode again next time I need to get to Seatac airport.
5) Take the Light Rail train: Sound Transit’s Link Light Rail now goes to Seatac Airport! The trains run from Seattle’s Downtown area, (which means you will still need to take a bus down town) and run every fifteen minutes from 5 AM until 1 AM. The price of a ticket is $2 – $2.50, depending on the time of day. I haven’t tried out this light rail link yet, but am planning on using it on my next trip to Sea Tac airport.