The Definitive Guide To The Seattle (SEA) Airport Lounge Scene

By | May 27, 2015 | 0 Comment

A long time provincial city, Seattle has become one of the fastest growing metro areas in the US. The home of Microsoft, Boeing, Starbucks, Amazon, and Nintendo attracts new residents from all over the country thanks to its dynamic job market, temperate climate, beautiful scenery and laid back life style.

It’s no wonder that airline competition is heating up. Alaska Airlines, the hometown airline, is being attacked from all parts by its “partner” Delta – both airlines plaster the city with ads and shower customers with promotions, but Delta might have the edge: its expansion has been truly impressive, with non-stop service to both Europe and Asia, and flat beds to the East Coast. Perhaps the biggest loser is United – the airline has eliminated international service to Tokyo, cut several domestic routes, and reduced its overall schedule. Ultimately though, enhanced competition means more options for customers and additional investments in the ground experience.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport now has a vibrant lounge scene, with several new or recently renovated lounges, and two exciting clubs under construction: an American Express Centurion Studio Lounge, and a roof-top Alaska Airlines Board Room.

We have teamed up with the Experience The Skies blog to bring you the definitive guide to the SEA lounge scene.

The SEA story

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is the largest international airport in the Pacific Northwest. The airport is located about 12 miles (19 kilometers) from downtown Seattle and is connected by Sound Transit’s light rail system. Alaska Airlines and its subsidary Horizon Air operate their largest hub there and is the airport’s largest tenant, while Delta Air Lines uses SEA as an international gateway. A record 37.5 million passengers used the facilities in 2014.

SEE ALSO:  American Express Centurion Lounge network expansion underway

The airport was built in 1944 for military use, with commercial service commencing in 1947. Currently, Seattle –Tacoma has 3 terminals with 68 gates / 34 parking slips and is capable of handling all aircrafts except for the Airbus A380-800.

Interested in more aviation facts? Follow the Experience The Skies blog.

Business class and membership lounges

From #6 to #1, here’s our ranking of the business class and membership lounges at Seattle-Tacoma International airport. Read on for a brief review of each lounge and a summary of access rules and amenities, or read detailed reviews of every lounge. For each lounge, we also provide you with alternative options: other clubs that you may be able to use with the same credentials or boarding pass.

#8 – The Club at SEA – Satellite S

The Club at SEA - Satellite S

The Club at SEA – Satellite S

Operated by the Port of Seattle under the “Club International” name, and recently rebranded as “The Club at SEA” under a management contract, this club serves most international airlines out of satellite S, and doubles as a pay-in lounge.

Given the caliber of some of the airlines which use this lounge – such as ANA, Emirates and Lufthansa – one may have high expectations. Unfortunately, there is nothing exciting about this lounge. The space is bright and tidy, but severely under-dimensioned for peak time departures. The list of amenities is rather underwhelming – essentially, the lounge offers open seating, with few power outlets, and mid-range snacks. There’s no hot food, no showers, not much privacy, and no dedicated Wi-Fi network (although the airport does offer complimentary Wi-Fi.)

SEE ALSO:  Lounge ticker: United club updates, LAX Centurion Lounge, SEA Board Room, LHR Emirates Lounge

A small section is partitioned off for First Class passengers but does not offer any additional amenities. The Club at SEA Satellite S is a basic facility for domestic travel, but reaches the bottom of our ranking overall.

Find out more about The Club at SEA – Satellite S, and share your comments!

AmenitiesFood & DrinksWho's inAlternatives
  • Alliance: None
  • Showers: No
  • Business center: Yes
  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Family room: No
  • Food: Complimentary snacks
  • Drinks: Complimentary soft drinks, Complimentary house wine and beer, Complimentary liquor,
  • All passengers, regardless of airline and class of service, for a $35 per person fee.
  • Select premium customers and elite members departing on an airline served by this lounge.
  • Priority Pass, Lounge Club and Diners Club International card members.
See detailed access rules.
ANA and Lufthansa passengers may prefer to use the United Club in the A concourse, which while hardly luxurious is brand new and typically quieter. Priority Pass members may choose to use the sister (but slightly better appointed and quieter) The Club at SEA in the A concourse.
Our ratings
  • Comfort: 2/5
  • Food and beverages: 3/5
  • Amenities: 2/5
  • Service: 2/5

#7 – The Club at SEA – Concourse A

The Club at SEA - Concourse A

The Club at SEA – Concourse A

The Club at SEA Concourse A is the second lounge at Seattle airport which is now operated by The Club Airport Lounges. While it primarily serves as a pay-in lounge, it also welcomes Condor and Hainan Airlines’ passengers, as well as Delta customers departing from the A gates.

Located on a mezzanine, the club features views on the concourse and the area surrounding the airport. The design is rather traditional – perhaps a bit old fashioned, but well up-kept – with wood panels and dark tones. Two seating areas complement a small dining area and a bar. The furniture is comfortable, but power outlets are sorely lacking, and the lounge does not have a dedicated Wi-Fi network (although the airport offers complimentary Wi-Fi.) The buffet provides a selection of snacks and soft drinks. The wine list is a highlight with a selection of regional wines.

SEE ALSO:  The Definitive Guide To The SFO Airport Lounge Scene

Overall, The Club at SEA Concourse A at Seattle-Tacoma airport is a simple, but quiet and enjoyable facility. Whether it is worth the entry fee is questionable, though, given the free Wi-Fi and numerous restaurants throughout the airport.

Find out more about The Club at SEA – Concourse A, and share your comments!

AmenitiesFood & DrinksWho's inAlternatives
  • Alliance: None
  • Showers: No
  • Business center: Yes
  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Family room: No
  • Food: Complimentary snacks
  • Drinks: Complimentary soft drinks, Complimentary house wine and beer, Complimentary liquor
  • All passengers, regardless of airline and class of service, for a $35 per person fee.
  • Select premium customers and elite members departing on an airline served by this lounge.
  • Priority Pass, Lounge Club and Diners Club International card members.
See detailed access rules.
Delta passengers may want to take the train over to satellite S where the Delta Sky Club is located. The club in our opinion the airport’s best lounge, with showers and a napping room. Priority Pass members may want to use the Alaska Airlines Board Room, which while busy offers an expanded breakfast selection.
Our ratings
  • Comfort: 3/5
  • Food and beverages: 3/5
  • Amenities: 3/5
  • Service: 4/5

#6 – Alaska Airlines Board Room

Alaska Airlines Board Room - SEA

Alaska Airlines Board Room – SEA

Alaska Airlines’s flagship two-story Board Room boasts floor to ceiling windows, great views on the tarmac, and plenty of light. The décor is simple and warm but a bit old school, with cozy touches such as the grand fireplace on the lower level.

The lounge features many seating options offering comfort, privacy, space to stretch out, and power outlets at every seat. For many, the highlight is the breakfast selection, notably the pancake machine. In addition, throughout the day, Alaska Airlines offers a selection of complimentary beverages and cocktails including Champagne, an espresso machine with syrups, and finger food.

Overall, the Alaska Airlines Board Room is one of the better lounges at Seattle-Tacoma airport, although it sometimes get painfully busy given the airline’s footprint and generous access policies. Alaska’s planned club in Satellite N should mitigate crowding down the road.

Find out more about the Alaska Airlines Board Room, and share your comments!

AmenitiesFood & DrinksWho's inAlternatives
  • Alliance: None
  • Showers: No
  • Business center: Yes
  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Family room: No
  • Food: Complimentary breakfast buffet, Complimentary snacks
  • Drinks: Complimentary soft drinks, Complimentary full bar
  • Alaska Airlines First Class passengers (excluding upgrades.)
  • Board room members traveling on any airline.
  • American Airlines Admiral Club and US Airways Club members departing on a flight operated by Alaska Airlines, American Airlines or US Airways.
  • Delta Sky Club members departing on a Delta flight.
  • Priority Pass and Lounge Club members.
See detailed access rules.
For a quieter experience, Priority Pass members may consider using The Club at SEA – Concourse A. The Board Room is superior overall, though.
Our ratings
  • Comfort: 3/5
  • Food and beverages: 3/5
  • Amenities: 3/5
  • Service: 4/5

#5 – United Club

United Club - SEA

United Club – SEA

While United Clubs often don’t rank high on the charts, The United Club at Seattle-Tacoma airport is a quiet, modern and stylish oasis. Opened in 2013, the lounge features United’s new design, which is extremely functional, with comfortable seating, power and USB outlets at every seat, custom lighting, and private phone and work rooms.

Given United’s shrinking footprint in SEA, and the deletion of international service to Japan, the club is typically extremely quiet, which makes it especially relaxing.

We may be jumping the gun by ranking this facility #3 above the Alaska Airlines Board Room, but with United’s expanded food and beverage selection coming up soon, the Board Room loses its edge – we prefer the modern design and peaceful environment of the United Club.

Find out more about the United Club SEA, and share your comments!

AmenitiesFood & DrinksWho's inAlternatives
  • Alliance: Star Alliance
  • Showers: No
  • Business center: Yes
  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Family room: No
  • Food: Complimentary breakfast buffet, Complimentary snacks
  • Drinks: Complimentary soft drinks, Complimentary house wine and beer, Premium drinks for sale
  • United Club members.
  • United Global First and  BusinessFirst passengers departing on an international or p.s. flight (no guests)
  • Star Alliance First Class and Business Class passengers.
  • United Premier Gold, Premium Platinum, Premier 1K, and Global Services members departing on an international Star Alliance flight.
  • Star Alliance Gold Members (except United Premier members) departing on a Star Alliance flight.
  • Air Canada Maple Leaf Club members departing on a Star Alliance flight.
See detailed access rules.
There are no alternatives to this club for United flyers. ANA passengers also have access the The Club at SEA in Concourse S, but the United Club tends to be superior.
Our ratings
  • Comfort: 3/5
  • Food and beverages: 2/5
  • Amenities: 3/5
  • Service: 3/5

#4 – American Express The Centurion Studio

The Centurion Studio - Seattle (SEA)

The Centurion Studio – Seattle (SEA)

The most stylish lounge at Seattle-Tacoma Airport, The Centurion Studio is the latest addition to American Express’ family of Centurion Lounges for their premium cardholders. As the name indicates, though, the Centurion Studio is a smaller space, though, with limited amenities.

The lounge features comfortable and private seating in a serene environment with luxurious touches, and discreet yet proactive service. Power outlets are plentiful and Wi-Fi is fast.

The food and beverage selection includes quality snacks such as premium trail mix, crudités, fresh herb baguette, wasabi peas, various snacks, baked goods, and local drinks and wines, although there is no hard alcohol.

The Centurion Studio suffers from chronic crowding, but an expansion is under construction and will add a shower suite and a full bar.

Find out more about the American Express Centurion Studio SEA, and share your comments!

AmenitiesFood & DrinksWho's inAlternatives
  • Alliance: None
  • Showers: No
  • Business center: Yes
  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Family room: No
  • Food: Complimentary breakfast buffet, Complimentary snacks
  • Drinks: Complimentary soft drinks, Complimentary house wine and beer
  • The Centurion Studio exclusively welcomes American Express Platinum Card® or Centurion® card holders regardless of their airline, destination, or departure terminal (+1 guest or spouse and children.)
See detailed access rules.

By the virtue of their complimentary Priority Pass membership, American Express premium card holders can also use the Alaska Airlines Board Room, The Club at SEA Concourse A, The Club at SEA Satellite S, on addition to theDelta Sky Club when flying Delta.

Our ratings
  • Comfort: 5/5
  • Food and beverages: 4/5
  • Amenities: 3/5
  • Service: 5/5

#3 – British Airways Terraces Lounge

British Airways Terraces Lounge - SEA

British Airways Terraces Lounge – SEA

The British Airways Terraces Lounge in Satellite S was the airport’s first roof-top airline club. Naturally, it benefits from great views and plenty of light. British Airways clearly designed the facility to high standards, with a grand entrance, elaborate showers with massaging jets, and an elegant business center.

The downfall of this lounge is really the seating area – cramped, busy, with furniture that has seen better days, and few if any power outlets. The lounge serves multiple airlines and often operates at capacity. The beverage selection is a highlight, with a skilled bar tender crafting cocktails, but the food selection – shrink wrapped snacks and mini-sandwiches – sorely disappoints for an international lounge.

The mere availability of showers with Elemis spa products makes this lounge one of the better appointed facilities, thus our #2 ranking, but considering that British Airways caters to international travelers only, we still feel find ourselves somewhat unimpressed with the overall offering.

Read the full review of the British Airways Terraces Lounge SEA, and share your comments!

AmenitiesFood & DrinksWho's inAlternatives
  • Alliance: oneworld
  • Showers: Yes
  • Business center: Yes
  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Family room: No
  • Food: Complimentary snacks
  • Drinks: Complimentary soft drinks, Complimentary full bar
  • British Airways First and Business Class passengers (Club Europe and Club World.)
  • British Airways Gold and Silver Executive Club members departing on a British Airways or oneworld flight.
  • oneworld First class and Business class passengers.
  • oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members departing on a British Airways or oneworld flight.
See detailed access rules.
None.
Our ratings
  • Comfort: 3/5
  • Food and beverages: 3/5
  • Amenities: 3/5
  • Service: 4/5

#2 – Delta SkyClub Satellite S

Delta Sky Club - SEA

Delta Sky Club – SEA Satellite S

The Delta Sky Club in the South Satellite ranks #2 in our benchmark–the former #1 has been dethroned by the new Sky Club in Concourse A. As the airport’s second rooftop lounge after the British Airways Terraces Lounge, it benefits from a large window wall with plenty of natural light and offer views of Mt. Rainier.

Outfitted with Delta’s latest design, the club features simple and clean lines, comfortable seating with cube chairs providing a high degree of privacy, a social area, and even a dark slumber room with loungers and ottomans. Power outlets are plentiful, and the space looks spacious and fresh. Two showers are available – a treat for domestic flights which only Delta offers in Seattle, and a welcome amenity for international travel.

The food and beverage selection is in line with Delta’s domestic standards: a solid continental breakfast offering with espresso machines and syrups, as well as snacks, soups and salads throughout the day. The bar offers a selection of complimentary drinks, in addition to premium drinks for purchase.

The Delta Sky Club offers a premium product for domestic travel, and a pretty solid list of amenities for international travelers, making it our favorite lounge overall in Seattle.

Read the full review of the Delta Sky Club SEA Satellite S, and share your comments!

AmenitiesFood & DrinksWho's inAlternatives
  • Alliance: SkyTeam
  • Showers: Yes
  • Business center: Yes
  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Family room: No
  • Food: Complimentary breakfast buffet, Complimentary hot buffet
  • Drinks: Complimentary soft drinks, Complimentary house wine and beer, Complimentary liquor, Premium drinks for sale
  • Delta Sky Club members.
  • Delta First Class, BusinessElite, or full-fare economy passengers departing on a same-day transcontinental flight.
  • Delta BusinessElite passengers departing on a same-day international flight.
  • SkyTeam International First and Business Class passengers departing on or connecting to/from an international flight.
  • SkyTeam Elite Plus members departing on or connecting to/from a same-day SkyTeam international flight.
  • American Express Platinum and Centurion Card® members departing on a Delta flight.
See detailed access rules.
International BusinessElite passengers may use the KAL Lounge in TBIT.
Our ratings
  • Comfort: 5/5
  • Food and beverages: 4/5
  • Amenities: 5/5
  • Service: 4/5

#1 – Delta SkyClub Concourses A-B

sea-delta-sky-club-sea-concourse-a-b-00300

The stunning new Delta Sky Club at Seattle-Tacoma airport Concourse A earns the top spot in of our ranking. The humongous lounge combines a gorgeous space with an excellent array of amenities.

At over 210,000 sqf., the Sky Club in Concourse A accommodates over 400 customers and is the airline’s fifth largest system wide–a testament to Seattle’s position as a hub within the carrier’s network. The space boasts panoramic views of Mount Rainier, enjoyed through panoramic 30 ft. windows which tint automatically, eliminating the need for blinds and reducing energy costs. Warm wood finishes give the club an upper-scale ambiance reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest.

The open layout features a variety of seating arrangements, with power outlets at every seat. The club hosts an exuberant art collection by local artists, inspired by the region.

The Sky Club in Concourse A is the only lounge to have a full size kitchen. The food and beverage selection includes complimentary hot dishes by Seattle Chef Ethan Stowell, local IPA craft beer by Georgetown Brewing Company, as well as Starbucks coffee and local wines by the glass.

Other amenities include six elegant shower suites, changing rooms, private workstations, and spa services by Asanda Spa available for a fee.

Read the full review of the Delta Sky Club SEA Concourse A, and share your comments!

AmenitiesFood & DrinksWho's inAlternatives
  • Alliance: SkyTeam
  • Showers: Yes
  • Business center: Yes
  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Family room: No
  • Food: Complimentary breakfast buffet, Complimentary hot buffet
  • Drinks: Complimentary soft drinks, Complimentary house wine and beer, Complimentary liquor, Premium drinks for sale
  • Delta Sky Club members.
  • Delta First Class, BusinessElite, or full-fare economy passengers departing on a same-day transcontinental flight.
  • Delta BusinessElite passengers departing on a same-day international flight.
  • SkyTeam International First and Business Class passengers departing on or connecting to/from an international flight.
  • SkyTeam Elite Plus members departing on or connecting to/from a same-day SkyTeam international flight.
  • American Express Platinum and Centurion Card® members departing on a Delta flight.
See detailed access rules.
International BusinessElite passengers may use the KAL Lounge in TBIT.
Our ratings
  • Comfort: 5/5
  • Food and beverages: 4/5
  • Amenities: 5/5
  • Service: 5/5

First Class lounges

Seattle-Tacoma international airport has a single First Class lounge, or make that “room”, save for the small First Class enclave within The Club at SEA in Satellite S. Unless you’re flying on a oneworld carrier, you will therefore be relegated to business class lounges 🙂

British Airways First Class Lounge

British Airways First Class Lounge - SEA

British Airways First Class Lounge – SEA

The British Airways First Class Lounge in Seattle is a small room within the Terraces Lounge, with which it shares the reception desk, bar, and showers. The space offer sweeping views over the tarmac and beyond.

The First Class room offers seating for a dozen persons, and is furnished with two sofas as well as individual chairs. There is also a single cubicle with a self-service computer. The furniture is perhaps more elegant than on the business class side. Unfortunately though, given British Airways’ generous upgrade policies, and the fact that other airlines such as Asiana also use the lounge, the First Class room often gets crowded.

The food and drink offerings are on par with the business class side, which is to say that they’re rather lacking. Food consists exclusively of packaged snacks and shrink-wrapped mini-sandwiches. A broad selection of drinks is available, and a bar tender will craft the cocktail of your choice – however you’ll need to order from the bar which is located on the business class side.

The massaging showers are a highlight, and First Class passengers have priority over business class travelers. The front desk agents will offer to store your belongings while you shower – a nice touch, but don’t expect your seat (or any seat, for that matter) to be available when you come back.

Overall, we can’t help but wonder why British Airways bothers dedicating space to First Class passengers if the facilities and amenities don’t remotely meet the First Class bar. You may as well sit in the business class portion of the lounge – at least, the space feels less claustrophobic and you’ll be closer to the bar. And given the lack of competition (other airlines with a First Class cabin use the even less exciting The Club at SEA lounge) we don’t expect the situation to improve anytime soon.

Find out more about the British Airways First Class Lounge SEA, and share your comments!

AmenitiesFood & DrinksWho's inAlternatives
  • Alliance: oneworld
  • Bathroom: Yes
  • Showers: Yes
  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Family room: No
  • Food: Complimentary breakfast buffet, Complimentary snacks, Complimentary finger food
  • Drinks: Complimentary soft drinks, Complimentary full bar
  • British Airways and oneworld First class passengers
  • British Airways Gold Executive Club members departing on a British Airways or other oneworld
  • oneworld Emerald members departing on a British Airways or oneworld flight
See detailed access rules.
While passengers may use the Delta SkyClub in Terminal 5, there is no reason to do so.
Our ratings
  • Comfort: 4/5
  • Food and beverages: 2/5
  • Amenities: 3/5
  • Service: 4/5

Airside connections and how to lounge hop

Seattle-Tacoma is a lounge hopper’s paradise. The main terminal (comprised of Concourses A, B, C and D) and both satellites (N as North and S as South) are all connected airside. The main concourse is large, but walkable end-to-end. In addition, a shuttle train links both ends (A gates to D gates and vice versa.) Two additional train routes link the two satellites.

In other words, a boarding pass grants you access to all terminals. Enter through any checkpoint – TSA Pre Check is available at either end of the main terminal – and just make your way to your favorite lounge.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport map, © Port of Seattle

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport map, © Port of Seattle

For a detailed terminal diagram, see the airport’s web site.

Allow at least 20 minutes to walk from one end to the main terminal to the other, and approximately 5-10 minutes to go from a satellite to the main terminal, and vice-versa.

More to come

We hope you’ve enjoyed our definitive guide to the Seattle-Tacoma airport lounge scene! Check out our other definitive guides. Over time we will be covering the world’s major airports, providing an exclusive overview of all lounges. Soon to come is  Paris Charles de Gaulle Terminal 1 (CDG.)

Credits: SEA photo adapted from Christian Newton’s original work under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license.

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Comments

  1. First Look: Delta's spectacular new flagship Sky Club at Seattle Airport - LoungeReview.com, October 20, 2016 10:03 pm

    […] new Delta Sky Club at Seattle-Tacoma airport Concourse A places itself right at the top of our ranking of all SEA lounges. The lounge combines a gorgeous space with an excellent array of amenities. Delta crushes the […]

  2. Delta to open second, behemoth Sky Club lounge at Seattle-Tacoma airport (SEA) - LoungeReview.com, November 19, 2015 12:06 pm

    […] will supplement the current location which opened in 2011 in Satellite S and incidentally ranks #1 on our chart (see the Definitive Guide to the SEA Lounge Scene.) While we’re not fans of the bold white […]

  3. The Definitive Guide To The SFO Airport Lounge Scene - LoungeReview.com, November 17, 2015 5:25 pm

    […] airport lounge scene! Check out our other definitive guides covering Los Angeles (LAX) and Seattle-Tacoma (SEA.) We’ll be covering additional airports […]

  4. Alaska Airlines announces a new Seattle lounge, expands access to United Club, phases out access to Delta Sky Club - LoungeReview.com, October 20, 2015 5:14 pm

    […] charming and elegant bi-level Board Room at Seattle-Tacoma airport, Concourse D. The lounge is one of the airport’s best clubs overall, with its warm (albeit slightly old-fashioned) design, friendly staff, and generous food and […]


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