Seattle-Tacoma ( SEA ) International Airport, called "Sea-Tac" for short, is about a 30-minute drive south from downtown Seattle. It can be reached via LINK rail, car, Shuttle Express, taxi, or bus.

Primary Airport Connection

Visitors can take the Central Link Light Rail between Sea-Tac and downtown Seattle. From the airport, follow the signs to Link Light Rail by way of the 4th floor of the parking garage (and not Public Transit). The fare is $3.00 and the schedule can be found here. If your hotel is in the downtown Seattle core you can get to many using the train. Buy a ticket before getting on the train from the machines. 

You can also take Sound Transit’s Route 560 serving, Bellevue, West Seattle and Sea-Tac.  Bus service works best for those traveling with limited luggage. This route is less frequent and does not connect to downtown Seattle. 

Warnings to those renting a carSeattle traffic can be heavy. Rush hour starts in the pre-dawn hours, and might not let up until mid morning.  Evening rush hour can begin as early as mid-afternoon and diminish around 7:00 PM. If there are at least two people in your car, there are high-occupancy-vehicle lanes called HOV - look for a diamond in the marked lane in the far left lane.

All rental car agencies have been moved to a central car rental garage.  You can access the shuttle that serve all car rental firms by walking out of baggage claim and walking to the far right or left for the closest bus stop. 

The coke bottle-shaped city funnels traffic through the heart of the city, on a freeway, expressway and city streets.  With  reversible express lanes north of downtown Seattle on I-5 and east of Seattle on I-90 and left-lane off ramps and on ramps, visitors unfamiliar with Seattle traffic can easily be confused.

If you're not flying in then taking the train from Vancouver or Portland may make more sense.  The Cascades and Coast Starlight routes roughly parallel I-5, and the Empire Builder comes in from the east. Using Amtrak, get off the train at the Seattle station, cross the road to the International District tunnel station, and take light rail to the Seatac airport. 

Light Rail 

The Link Light Rail service opened in July 2009. The fare varies on distance, but it is $2.75 per adult from the airport to downtown. It takes you from the airport north to various stops, ending at the Westlake Center station, which is in the middle of downtown. Buy tickets in the Link station using cash or credit card. Link is a seperate entity from Metro transit that serves downtown Seattle. If you buy a ticket for the train if you wish to transfer to a city bus that would be another fare. You can buy an Orca card from the ticket machine that does allow for transfers. This will cost $5 and you can 'load' it with any amount of money that you wish. This is only good if you're in town for a few days or know you will be using the transit system a bit. Be aware that the 'free bus zone' in downtown Seattle was eliminated as of Oct 2012 so all buses now charge. 

From baggage claim at Seatac to find the Link station be prepared for a light walk.  Follow the signs to Link Light Rail (and not the signs for Public Transit, which take you to the bus stop which is at the other end of the terminal). The light rail station is accessed at the far north side of the parking garage or closest to baggage claim carousel 15 or 16 which is Alaska Air or United.  If you arrive on US Airways or American you need to walk to the far north side of baggage claim, take the elevator up and over the skybridge and follow the signs.  Allow about 10-15 minutes walking time.  You can bring your luggage cart with you but if you arrive from downtown luggage rentals at the station are $4.  Allow about 37 minutes into downtown.  The trains come every 8 to 15 minutes. Note that the first LINK train from downtown to SEATAC leaves at 5:05am, Monday - Saturday and 6:20am on Sunday, so if you have an early morning flight, this option may not work for you. From SEATAC to downtown, the last LINK train is at 12:10am Monday - Saturday, and 11:05pm on Sunday, so be aware of the schedule. Here is a link to the Sound Transit LINK Light Rail Schedule.

Taxi/Towncar/Shuttle Connections

Taxi

$45-50  Taxis charge  $2.70 a mile.  Its 16 miles from Seattle Sheraton to Seatac airport making the 16 mile trip from Seatac to downtown a minimum of $40 plus a $2.50 flag drop and $1 airport fee plus extra charges for extra passengers. Economically, this can mean that the towncars are a better option to get downtown, especially when including wait time. Wait time is currently priced at $.50 a minute.  If you call from the baggage claim area towncars or limo will come to you. Both the cabs and limos are regulated by the Port of Seattle and are the only ones allowed to stage themselves at the airport. Yellow Cab is the exclusive cab provider and STILA is the limo and towncar provier.

 If you're staying in the 'downtown hotel zone' (which is basically all of downtown Seattle) cabs are allowed to charge a flat rate of $40 from downtown TO the airport only. This is not allowed  FROM the airport.  Many downtown hotels have towncar companies that will take you to the airport for about the same rate normally $40-45.

You can use the following link to get a good realistic estimate of your taxi fare http://www.taxifarefinder.com/main.ph...

Another option that is a good compromise between a towncar and a cab are flat rate cabs. There is a company with 200 flat rate cabs that operate throught the city and suburbs.  They will quote you a flat rate without time metering and you can get a quote online.  Currently they are charging $29 to downtown from Seatac airport or vice versa.  They have a variety of car types. www.flatrateforhire.com

On Call towncar or limo

$45-50  Limos at Sea tac are always available and many times are less than a cab.  There are phones in baggage claim.  If you call #55 and give them the door you are closest to, a limo will be dispatched to your door.  This will avoid having to haul your luggage up oand over the skybridge into the parking garage. Since towncars are a flat rate this will often come out about the same as a cab especially if you're traveling when the freeway is congested.  Cabs will add time as well as mileage when stuck in downtown traffic.  Stila  towcars and limosuines are based in the Seatac garage and are regulated by the airport.  This year they have added SUV's in addition to cars and limos and can hold up to 7 passengers.

Yellow Cabs 

Available on the third floor of the Parking Garage. Sedans and large vans are available.

Call (206) 622-6500, or use the curbside phones on Baggage Claim Level.

Limousine (STILA)

Limousine (STILA) Stationed at the airport, STILA offers town cars, SUVs, and stretch limos and picks up passengers either at the curb outside of Baggage Claim or on the third floor of the parking garage.   To arrange for a limousine or town car, use the touch screen to access "Ground Transportation" on any of the Travelers' Information Boards in Baggage Claim (located near the escalators), use curbside phones, or go to the Ground Transportation Booth on the third floor of the parking garage. You can also contact STILA at (206) 243-1811. all drivers for on site towncars are regulated by the Port of Seattle and go thru security clearances, and background checks

Uber/Lyft

 

Uber cannot currently pick up at Seatac.  Perhaps this will change in the future but right now it works well to the airport but not from.

A relatively new addition to the range of options, Uber and Lyft both offer service to and from the airport. Uber and Lyft are applications that allow you to request a ride from point A to point B without the hassle of traditional cabs. You ride with a driver in a 2006 or newer car , and the charge goes to your credit card without any additional fees. Between the two, Uber is currently the less expensive option for the basic UberX vs. Lyft service.

Uber currently (9/2014) is only allowed to provide either "Black" cars or "SUVs" to the airport. The rate for an Uber to downtown Seattle is a flat $55 for UberBlack and a flat $65 for UberSUV. . There is also a flat rate between Seatac and Bellevue ($65 for Black, $80 for SUV) and to Redmond ($85 for Black, $105 for SUV). UberBlack uses cars such as Lincoln Towncars, Chrysler 300C, and Mercedes S-class as their basis, while Uber X is any newer vehicle. If you would prefer UberX, once you leave the airport you can use the UberX service, which has an estimated fare from the airport to Pike Place Market of $21-29. The easiest way to do this is to go to the light rail station and then cross over to the road (http://goo.gl/maps/bUXbZ). You can find out more about Uber here, or download the app here

Lyft currently does not appear to have the same restrictions as Uber and will pick up from the airport itself. Based on a 30 minute drive and a 13 mile distance to Seattle, the fare should be about $29. You can find out more about pricing here, or download the app here

Downtown Airporter service by Shuttle Express 

Serves Madison Renaissance, Crowne Plaza, Fairmont Olympic, Hilton Hotel, Seattle Sheraton, Grand Hyatt, Westin and Warwick Hotels on main route. Adult; $19.00\one way.  They have discounts for multiple riders and round trip. Go to shuttleexpress.com and click the link for airporter or scheduled hotel service.  Since Shuttle Express took over it bacame a 24 hr service which is very convenient. They also have a scheduled van service to many hotels that isn't well known.  It leaves hourly and can be half the fare of the 'regular' shared van.  It serves Seattle, Issaquah, Kirkland, Lynwood, Everett and many other suburbs plus some Seattle locals.  Its a good tool but not advertised often.  Here is a list of hotels they service: http://shuttleexpress.com/seatac-airp... 

Shuttle express now offers a flat rate cruise transfer to either pier 66 or 91.  More info on their website. 

Grayline of Seattle no longer operates this and service was switched over to Shuttleexpress.com

Bus Transit

Public Bus (Metro or Sound Transit): Sound Transit Route 560 (to either West Seattle or downtown Bellevue) or 574 (to Federal Way, Tacoma and Lakewood): $2.50 ($3.50 to Tacoma or Lakewood).  The bus stop is at the south end of the terminal, past baggage claim 1. There are additional buses, mostly to local destinations, from bus stops on International Blvd  which can be reached by following the signs to  the light rail station.

Private Vehicle 

If someone is meeting you at the airport, be sure they’re aware of the Cell Phone Waiting Lot at Sea-Tac.  This is a free, 200-space parking lot located on S. 170th St, and there are plenty of signs to help drivers find the lot. The lot is located here (link). Since waiting is not allowed on the roadway outside of baggage claim, the Cell Phone lot is the best place for your ride to wait for you as you claim your baggage. Just give your ride a quick call once you’re ready to be picked up, and they’ll arrive outside of baggage claim within 5 minutes.