Browsing Tag: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Alaska's new flagship lounge is huge, comfortable, and offers great views of the runways at SEA

Alaska’s new flagship lounge is huge, comfortable, and offers great views of the runways at SEA

Alaska Airlines has upped their game by opening a huge new flagship lounge at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on July 12. We got to tour the new lounge during a media preview the day before it officially opened.

Plenty of room to sip that coffee

Plenty of room to sip that coffee

The new lounge is part of a $658.3 million update that the airport is currently building at the North Satellite facility; with the completion of this phase, the work is approximately 1/3 complete, according to Sea-Tac Airport Managing Director Lance Lyttle. Construction got underway back in February, 2017.

The project adds eight gates, 255,000 square feet of space, and several new restaurants and shops to the airport.

Cathay Pacific's inaugural departure from Sea-Tac Airport

Cathay Pacific’s inaugural departure from Sea-Tac Airport

Cathay Pacific’s new non-stop service from Seattle to Hong Kong launched on April 1 with four flights per week; the service will go daily starting July 1.

The new offering is the only current flight between the two Pacific Rim cities; that should make it a popular option for travelers.

Cathay Pacific went all-out with a launch party at the gate

Cathay Pacific went all-out with a launch party at the gate

Cathay Pacific is using its excellent Airbus A350-900 on the route, which is now the airline’s eighth to the United States and follows existing services to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York (JFK), New York (Newark), San Francisco, and Washington DC.

All aboard TF-ICU - next stop, ORD.
Boarding TF-ICU, aka Dyrhólaey at Iceland’s Keflavik International Airport, next stop, Chicago’s O’Hare International

The backstory

Loyal readers will recall our 2017 review of Saga Premium (which, at the the time, was called Saga Class) on Icelandair’s venerable 757-200s.

Since then, Icelandair has added several Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets to their fleet (they ordered a total of 16 of the MAX in both the -8 and -9 variants), using them on routes to U.S. destinations on the east coast and upper midwest, along with several European routes.

I flew SEA-KEF on a 757, then returned via Chicago on a 737 MAX 8, as Seattle is, unfortunately, beyond the working range of the MAX 8.

So, two years on, what was it like to fly Saga? Candidly, I was a fan of the last trip, so the memory still felt fairly fresh. My outbound flight was on TF-FIR, aka Vatnajökull, aka 80 years of Aviation, aka the glacier livery.

This AvGeek was stoked at the opportunity to fly on Vatnajökull, even though it was parked at a corner gate between two diagonal jetways at SEA, making photos pretty much impossible that day. IMHO, it’s the one of prettiest planes in the sky today, tied for that honor with Icelandair’s Hekla Aurora livery on TF-FIU.

TF-FIR landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in 2017. I wasn't able to get out on the ramp to get pre-flight photos for this trip, so we'll have to make do with an existing image

TF-FIR landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in 2017. I wasn’t able to get out on the ramp to get pre-flight photos for this trip, so we’ll have to make do with an existing image

The outbound flight from SEA to KEF was as good as the last time – I was in seat 1A for this flight, which is in a bulkhead row. The seats themselves are the same as we reviewed in 2017. They feel even more dated now, especially when compared to contemporary options even on some domestic US carriers, but they’re still very comfortable and offer a generous amount of recline.

A Delta 737 prepares to land as one of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s snow-removal teams waits to cross the active runway

The Seattle area has seen unusually heavy snowfall over the past week – 20.2 official inches of snow over six days. The heavy precipitation has closed local roads and freeways, caused widespread power outages, and generally raised havoc in an area that doesn’t normally receive noteworthy levels of snow. This is the most snowfall seen in Seattle for the month of February since 1916, and we are just half way through the month. 

A de-icing truck unfurls its very long boom in preparation for cleaning the center runway at Sea-Tac Airport.
A de-icing truck unfurls its very long boom in preparation for cleaning the center runway at Sea-Tac Airport

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s (SEA) ever-increasing flight volumes leave little room for weather delays. To contrast with the City of Seattle, which keeps just 35 snow plows on hand for the entire city, Sea-Tac Airport has more than 45 pieces of major snow-removal equipment, including:

  • Nine plow and broom combination units – state-of-the-art trucks with a 24-foot plow that’s as long as a semitruck
  • Two friction testers to measure stopping distance for the runways
  • Three sander/plows
  • Seven high-speed plows
  • Four de-icing trucks for roadways (three 75’ wide booms, one 45’ boom)
  • Additional sand, plow, and chemical trucks dedicated for landside maintenance
  • Pickup trucks with sanders and plows
  • Five snow blowers
  • 10 high-speed brooms
  • Walk-behind snow blowers
  • Lots of snow shovels and brooms and team members ready to work

This week I was able to ride along with airport operations and see what it takes to keep operations at the airport moving.