TSA Wait Times & Tips
A NOTE ABOUT CHECKPOINT AND AIRPORT TRANSIT TIMES: These estimated checkpoint transition times are provided for convenience only and are not intended to be a substitute for proper preparation and timely arrival. We do not guarantee that this information will reflect your actual transit time through the checkpoint or any area of the airport, as these times are variable and may change quickly throughout the day. These transit times may include periods spent prior to the checkpoint queue, as well as time after the screening process. The busiest times usually occur between 5:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. Please check with your air carrier regarding recommended check-in times for your flight.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint hours are subject to change based on the TSA's discretion. However, the general hours of operation are 4:45 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Screening of Carry-on Bags
As TSA rolls out new carry-on screening procedures, you will be asked to remove personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone from your carry-on bag and place them into a bin with nothing placed on or under them for X-ray screening.
Common examples of these devices include laptops, tablets, e-readers and handheld game consoles.
We recommend keeping your bag organized to help ease the screening process as it takes time for TSA officers to make sure a jam-packed, cluttered, overstuffed bag is safe.
- Liquids and gels must be in containers of 3.4 ounces or less. Place your containers in a single, one-quart zip-top plastic bag
- Remove the plastic bag from your carry-on bag and put it in a screening bin
- Place metal objects, such as coins and keys, in your carry-on bag
- Put laptop computers and other electronic devices in a screening bin
- Remove shoes, jackets and belts and put them in screening bins
Screening of Checked Bags
TSA may inspect your checked baggage during the screening process. If your property is physically inspected, TSA will place a notice of baggage inspection inside your bag. This is to inform you that an officer conducted an inspection of your property.
If your property is lost or damaged during the screening process, you may file a claim with TSA. If your property is lost or damaged during transport to the plane or baggage claim, please contact your airline.
TSA prohibits explosive materials, flammable items, and other hazardous materials in your checked baggage. For more details, check the TSA website
Traveling with Pets
Small pets are allowed through the checkpoint. Please check with your airline for their policy. Please remove your pet from the carrying case and place the case through the X-ray machine. You should maintain control of your pet with a leash and remember to remove the leash when carrying your pet through the metal detector. Animal carriers will undergo a visual and/or physical inspection.
- All pets should be brought to the security checkpoint in a hand-held travel carrier. Remove the pet from the carrier just prior to the beginning of the screening process.
- Do not put the pet into the x-ray tunnel, which is used to screen a passenger's personal property and carry-on luggage. Place the empty travel carrier on the belt to be x-rayed.
- The pet should be carried during the screening process; alternately, a pet can walk thru the process if the owner has the pet on a leash.
- A TSA officer will give the pet owner’s hands an explosive trace detection swab to ensure there is no explosive residue on the hands.
- Once the screening process is completed, owners should return the pet to the travel carrier at the re-composure area, away from the security checkpoint for the safety of the pet as well as other passengers.
Other helpful travel tips to make your trip thru security as easy as possible include:
- Acclimate the pet to the process of traveling by familiarizing it with the travel carrier in the days leading up to the trip. This will help ensure it is more relaxed as it travels thru the security process and the airport.
- Avoid bringing pets to an area of the airport where a “working” K9 is operating with its handler. Areas where it is common to see a working K9 may include a security checkpoint or in the airport concourse.
- Know the temperament of your pet and ensure that you can maintain control of it in a busy and potentially crowded environment at the airport.
- Prior to arriving at the checkpoint, consider visiting one of SEA’s two designated “pet relief” areas located at the north and south ends of the airport. There is a pet relief area located post-security near the concourse B exit, across from Hudson News.
- Pet travel restrictions vary by airline, so please check with your air carrier before arriving at the airport.
Have Your Valid ID Ready
Adult passengers 18 and over must show valid identification at the airport checkpoint in order to travel.
- Driver's licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent)
- U.S. passport
- U.S. passport card
- DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
- U.S. Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents
- Permanent resident card
- Border crossing card
- DHS-designated enhanced driver's license
- Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
- HSPD-12 PIV card
- Foreign government-issued passport
- Canadian provincial driver's license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
- Transportation worker identification credential
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
- U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential
ID requirements at the checkpoint will change beginning Jan. 22, 2018.
Learn about REAL ID, read the FAQ or factsheet.
TSA does not require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion within the United States. Contact the airline for questions regarding specific ID requirements for travelers under 18.
Forgot Your ID?
In the event you arrive at the airport without valid identification, because it is lost or at home, you may still be allowed to fly. The TSA officer may ask you to complete an identity verification process which includes collecting information such as your name, current address, and other personal information to confirm your identity. If your identity is confirmed, you will be allowed to enter the screening checkpoint. You may be subject to additional screening, to include a patdown and screening of carry-on property.
You will not be allowed to enter the security checkpoint if your identity cannot be confirmed, you chose to not provide proper identification or you decline to cooperate with the identity verification process.
TSA recommends that you arrive at least two hours in advance of your flight time.
If your identity cannot be verified, you will not be allowed to enter the screening checkpoint.