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Port of Seattle 'very confident' in TSA staffing at Sea-Tac Airport

Wait times at security checkpoints were mostly where officials said they wanted them to be Monday as Thanksgiving travel continues.

SEATAC, Wash. — Sea-Tac International Airport had all checkpoints open for most of the day on Monday, due largely to extra agents the Transportation Security Administration sends to busy airports. 

“Our goal is to always be 20 minutes or under,” said airport spokesman Perry Cooper regarding the time spent waiting in line for security.  

For about an hour Monday morning, wait times flirted with the 30-minute mark, but with extra staff those extended wait times were minimal, according to Perry.

“We’re very confident in TSA and their staffing," he said. "We’ve had no problems ... with people going through the gates.”  

There were concerns over TSA staffing as the deadline for federal workers to meet the Biden Administration's COVID-19 vaccine mandate approached. But TSA officials said Monday about 93% of their employees nationwide met the federal mandate deadline or exemption requirements and promised the vaccine mandate will not impact holiday travel.

Cooper expects the busy Thanksgiving week to reach as high as 90% of 2019 levels. That year was a record year, with Sea-Tac handling 51.8 million passengers, making the airport the eight busiest in the country.  

Sea-Tac officials estimate 1.5 million travelers will pass through the airport between Thursday, Nov. 18 to Monday, Nov. 29. The busiest travel day expected to be the Sunday after Thanksgiving, with 50,355 departures estimated out of Sea-Tac that day, according to airport officials. 

To save time, Sea-Tac also offers a service called Spot Saver, which lets travelers reserve their security screening in advance, between the hours of 5 a.m. and 1 p.m. 

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