This Sneaky Trick Will Allow You To Skip Long TSA Lines At Seattle's Sea-Tac Airport

Programs like TSA PreCheck and Clear help cut down the time you spend in the airport security area, so you can reach your gate more quickly. However, these services require a membership and cost a hefty fee. Thankfully, there's a free alternative for travelers passing through Seattle's Sea-Tac Airport that only requires a few taps on a phone or computer.

The Pacific Northwest airport, considered one of the best in North America, offers fliers a chance to bypass long security lines with its SEA Spot Saver appointment system. The concept is simple yet game-changing: Reserve a screening online, check-in for your flight, and arrive at your designated security checkpoint at your appointment time. With the program, there's no need to wait in a long line behind dozens of other travelers.

Note, however, that SEA Spot Saver isn't a perfect replacement for TSA PreCheck. The airport's service is intended for general screening passengers, and, unlike with TSA PreCheck, travelers will still be required to take off their shoes and remove certain items from their luggage. Still, SEA Spot Saver is an easy and accessible way to breeze through security and stress less about making your flight.

How to sign up for a SEA Spot Saver appointment

SEA Spot Saver is open for appointments between 4 a.m. and 10 p.m., though some checkpoints may occasionally be closed for maintenance, limiting the availability of the service. To ensure you can secure a spot before your flight, it's best to arrange your appointment in advance (up to five days before your departure date). However, if you forget to book and arrive at the airport to find a lengthy TSA line, you can still take advantage of the service. Simply find the SEA Spot Saver signs and scan the QR code using your phone.

Appointments are available for travelers between one and four hours before their flight departure time, so if you're running late, you might not be able to make a booking. Moreover, you must arrive at the security checkpoint at your scheduled time slot. If you show up outside of your allotted window, you might be turned away.

Remember, signing up is free and doesn't require a membership. You only have to provide a few basic details for each booking, including your travel date, destination, airline and flight number, the number of people traveling with you (you only need one appointment for up to 10 people), and an email address where you can receive updates. If you decide to skip the service next time you visit Sea-Tac Airport, that's okay! There's no obligation to continue using it in the future.

How it helps you save time in line (and make your flight!)

Long security lines can keep you from making it to your gate on time, and even picking the shortest line at airport security doesn't guarantee you'll move any faster. At Sea-Tac, lengthy queues are a common problem. According to the airport's blog, Sea-Tac's terminal space is smaller than that at many other major airports, meaning congestion can build quickly. During busy times, it can take up to one hour to get through the security line.

The SEA Spot Saver system reduces bottlenecks and ensures that only a limited number of people are waiting in the line at any given time. Port Commissioner Sam Cho explained the benefits in a Reddit thread: "By having a system that allows you to spread people out and slot their times in line based on their actual flights, you can not only increase predictability but also you have the right people getting in line at the right time. This results in shorter wait times for everyone and less congestion for security."

According to a Seattle Met article, about 30,000 passengers currently use SEA Spot Saver each week. However, Port of Seattle spokesperson Perry Cooper told the publication that he envisions a future where all travelers are given an assigned screening appointment. For now, only those in the know are able to speed up their time spent in airport security — and now, that includes you.