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Sea-Tac soothes travelers at security checkpoints with live music

This Friday is one of the busiest travel days of the year for Sea-Tac, with 162,000 people are passing through the airport. Those numbers alone can rise any traveler's blood pressure. So airport operations decided to try something new.

SEA-TAC -- The time spent getting through the airport can start any traveler off on the wrong foot.

“People are really frazzled and they're trying to get through the lines, trying to get to their planes,” said Tami Kuiken, Sea-Tac’s program manager.

With a record number of passengers through the checkpoints Friday at 66,000, Sea-Tac pulled out every tool in its belt to keep the lines moving. Private contractors, volunteers and bomb sniffing dogs help expedite the process.

On the busiest days of the week throughout the summer, the airport is deploying a new type of crowd control. Something to soothe the savage beast.

Guitarist Michaud Savage is one of a few musicians who will be performing at security checkpoint 3. He knows he's performing for a hard-to-please audience.

“I don't know if you caught on to this but airplanes are fairly uncomfortable,” he said jokingly.

Soon, as if he's plucking at travelers' heartstrings, the mood changes in the long line of travelers walking by him.

“It's rather calming. I was saying I hope it continues for a while,” said one woman traveler.

His classic guitar coaxes people in almost a universal language.

“Take a deep breath, kind of relax, you're going to get through your line,” said Kuiken.

The brief time he spends with this audience, Savage knows he helps set the tone for thousands as they begin their journey.

“You only have a few minutes with someone even if they're listening intently,” he said. “That's an interesting place to be because you have an invisible hand in guiding people.”

Maybe the line seems shorter, the bag lighter, or perhaps you just notice them less.

“It's definitely a distraction of the good kind,” said another traveler.

Sea-Tac has hired musicians for the airport before, but this is the first time it is having them perform for the lines at the security checkpoints.

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