Seattle-Tacoma International Airport hosted a “reveal reception” March 3 in preparation for opening its new $986 million International Arrivals Facility, which has been under construction for nearly four years.
The project’s most visible addition to the airport is a 780-foot-long pedestrian bridge over the taxiway that separates Concourses S and A. It’s the longest bridge of its type in the world, and its 85 feet of clearance allows for even the tallest of contemporary aircraft to safely pass beneath, even the behemoth 777x and its 64-foot, 7-inch tail. An airport spokesman said that the design even includes a calculated safety factor in the event a plane’s front landing gear were to collapse while beneath the bridge, which would raise the tail height even further.
The skybridge is wide, with expansive views and a moving walkway. It’s essentially a cable-stayed bridge, and the cables were left visible. It’s this reporter’s guess that there will be much dawdling on the way to customs and immigration on sunny days, when Mount Rainier will be clearly visible from the bridge
Ryan Calkins, president of the Port of Seattle Commission, lauded the facility’s grand views and much-improved service areas as Seattle’s “front porch to the world.” Washington State Governor Jay Inslee talked about how the Seattle area had hosted refugees from Vietnam in the 1970s and from Afghanistan in the 2000s, and the new facility should open in time to greet refugees from the current war in Ukraine.
An American Airlines 777-300ER (N720AN) bound for SYD on the inaugural flight pushes back from Gate 41 at LAX.
Less than a week after covering American Airlines’ launch of their new Los Angeles-Sydney service, I found myself onboard Flight 73 on a last-minute holiday down under. The route featured American’s flagship Boeing 777-300ER, with my personal-favorite business class seat. In spite of holding status on both American and Alaska, which would entitle me to at least a little bit more leg and elbow room in coach, I willingly (!) chose to sit in a regular economy seat for a 15-hour flight… and managed to survive. A feat made even more impressive (or harrowing, depending on your point-of-view) by the fact that I was accompanied by my wife.
Now, I’d like to claim credit for taking one for the AirlineReporter team and be able to gloat for making the trip, but I’m not as magnanimous as my colleague JL, who flew a Spirit Airlines Bare Fare “for science.” There were very strategic, practical, and self-serving reasons for booking seats behind the curtain instead of in front of it.
I’m splitting my experience into two parts: first, about why I chose economy (this time), followed up with my actual flight review of American’s economy service to Sydney.
Global Entry. Image: Josh Denmark / US Customs & Boarder Patrol.
Lines. Queues. Waiting. Standing around. Wasting time. These are the things any frequent traveler goes out of their way to avoid. No passenger wants to see a 45 minute line full of clueless people in front of them, separating them from the safety of the airline lounge. On return from a trip abroad, the line for customs and immigration can be even worse, lasting for hours.
Global Entry and TSA Pre Check, two separate but cooperating programs, have set out to eliminate long lines for frequent flyers. These programs, however, are not available to everyone. There are multiple ways to join each program, so lets take a look at who is eligible for what, and how they can apply.