Over 10 years in Seattle — and five years writing this blog — and I’m still looking for the best way to get to and from Sea-Tac Airport. When I was still mileage running, it was not uncommon for me to take the light rail or a flat-rate Uber. But now that I’m in the burbs, public transit isn’t feasible and Uber is more expensive — routinely $45-55 each way. Does it finally make sense to drive? Coupons from the Sea-Tac Airport on-site garage have lowered the daily rate to $22. Even though the ad says it’s good through July 31, it appears that the coupon itself is valid through September 30.
While my situation may be specific to Seattle, I think it’s a good wakeup call to check the latest options at your local airport. I honestly didn’t expect the airport to compete so strongly for customers. I found the coupon by chance with a Google search, and only after reading the fine print did I conclude I could use it again and again.
Parking at Sea-Tac usually comes in two flavors: discounted, off-site lots that can be booked for $8-10 per day (especially if you reserve in advance) or the more convenient on-site parking garage that starts at $30 per day. Sadly, reservations at off-site lots are more and more necessary given how busy the area has become. I used to take advantage of coupons at the WallyPark Premier Garage all the time; now there are no discounts and I can’t even get in without a reservation.
Uber and Lyft aren’t ideal solutions. Even if the price were lower, congestion at the airport makes waiting for one a bit of a hassle. Cars need to wait off-site, adding at least 8-10 minutes to every ride.
So, if my wife and I will be traveling for five days or less, more and more often we have been choosing to drive to the airport and park at one of the off-site lots. Even at a rate of $15 per day including taxes and fees, that still comes out to about $75 and is cheaper than any round-trip Uber fare I’ve seen in the last few years.
At a rate of $22 per day, I can justify the on-site garage for a weekend trip of three days (a Friday afternoon departure and a late Sunday evening return usually comes out to three days). That’s about the same price as Uber and doesn’t require waiting for my ride or even an off-site parking shuttle. In fact, I might still use the lot for a weekly stay at $130 per week just to take advantage of the convenience.