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Busiest month ever expected at Sea-Tac Airport, 2.2 million expected to pass through security

By: John Knicely, KIRO 7 News

SeaTac, Wash. – August is upon us and Sea-Tac Airport is going to be busier than ever, according to passenger projections from airlines.  

The TSA says 2.2 million people will pass through its security checkpoints this month.

“I don’t mind flying, but I’m always petrified I’m gonna miss my flight,” Jim Schiechl told KIRO 7 Thursday as he and his family from Auburn arrived 2 hours early for their flight. “So I’d rather get here early.”

And that’s the recommendation for what’s expected to be the busiest month ever at Sea-Tac. Airport officials told KIRO 7 they will be keeping up with minimal wait times seen in July.

“Ninety-four percent of passengers made it through our checkpoints in under 30 minutes,” terminal manager Joshua Mercy said. “So our goal is less than 30 minutes for you guys.”

TSA spokeswoman Lorie Dankers says they airport is fully staffed and ready, but she notes this.

“There will be intervals during the day when the number of passengers will exceed our capacity,” Dankers said. “And when that happens we will do our best to get people through efficiently.  And that’s where the passengers really come into play.”

TSA agents displayed a tub full of dozens of oversized liquids confiscated just from one checkpoint in a 12-hour span. Since 2006, there has been a limit on liquids in containers — no bottles bigger than 3.4 ounces.

“So every time someone brings a prohibited item, whether it’s something like a knife or a bottle of water over 3.4 ounce limit,” Dankers said. “It requires a bag check.  And that slows the whole process down.”

Mary Schiechl has seen it.

“I was on the way to Hawaii and she had like a huge bottle of sunblock and it was expensive,” she said. “It was probably like a 10-minute argument.”

After 16 years working the ticket counter at Sea-Tac, Colleen Packard had this tip for the busy month.

“There are experienced travelers and inexperienced,” Packard said.  “The experienced traveler spots them and you can figure out what line to get into.  You don’t want to be behind someone who never travels. Find that businessman.”

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