We have an early (for me) domestic flight out of SeaTac on a Saturday morning. Departure time 7:30am. We'll be at a hotel near the airport.

Officially SeaTac suggests arriving at least 2 hours early for a domestic flight, so that's our target for now, but I'm wondering anyone who has experience flying out of SeaTac is 2 hours about right to get checked in and through security, or is it way too long? I'm not too keen on having to get there before 5:30am but will if we have to. But if typical is to get there an hour early then that suits me better!

How early should we arrive for a domestic flight out of Seattle?

  • 1
    Do you have checked luggage? Do you have frequent flyer status with the airline? Do you have TSA preCheck? Do you have reduced mobility, or have young children? Are you used to airports?
    – jcaron
    Commented Mar 24, 2022 at 8:41

2 Answers 2


The minimum required check-in time with checked baggage with Delta is 40 minutes before the scheduled departure time for US domestic flights from SEA (30 minutes without checked baggage), so arriving at the airport one hour before is more than enough, unless perhaps if you're bringing some TSA-unfriendly items or have reduced mobility.


When you’re traveling within the United States, we make the suggestion to arrive at the airport at least 2 hours prior to departure. For most airports, you must be checked in at least 30 minutes before your scheduled departure time (airports requiring additional time are listed here, [copied below])  Additionally, you’re required to be at the gate and ready to board 15 minutes before scheduled departure.

Exceptions Minimum Check-In Times by Airport, where the check-in time deadline is >30min:

Seattle, WA (SEA) 40 minutes 30 minutes 1 hour
  • 1
    If you have CLEAR+Precheck and your flight departs from terminal A or B (so you don’t have to take the train), you could potentially arrive 30 minutes beforehand and still make it just fine. But otherwise 1 hour is a good target.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Mar 24, 2022 at 4:41
  • 1
    @JonathanReez only if you have no checked luggage and have checked in online of course.
    – jcaron
    Commented Mar 24, 2022 at 8:42

Depends on your details. Absolutely minimum for me would be 30 minutes (assuming you have PreCheck, PreCheck is open, you have checked in online and no checked bags).

Add more time as needed

  1. Safety margin for mental comfort
  2. Average wait time at TSA (if you don't have PreCheck or Clear): https://www.tsawaittimes.com/security-wait-times/SEA/Seattle-Tacoma-International
  3. Unusual items in your carry on
  4. Checked baggage, visit to check in counter (depending on status)

Personally I shoot for 1 hour on domestic flights and that has always worked.

Officially SeaTac suggests arriving at least 2 hours early

IMO these recommendations are not worth the paper they're written on. On a recent international departure I arrived early (I had lounge access and wanted to get some work done). Recommended arrival time was 3 hours before departure but the check in counter only opened 2 hours before, so there was a huge line of people standing in front of the closed counter.


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