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80% of pre-pandemic travelers expected at Sea-Tac Airport for Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day holiday traveler numbers are expected to be 80% of pre-pandemic numbers in 2019.

SEATAC, Wash — Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start to the summer and Thursday kicks off a busy travel weekend at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport with numbers of travelers closing in on pre-pandemic numbers back in 2019.

Officials with Port of Seattle said Memorial Day holiday traveler numbers are expected to be one-third higher than last year. That's about 80% of pre-pandemic numbers from Memorial Day Weekend in 2019 which averaged about 178,000 passengers per day.

Officials said the busiest days this year’s holiday weekend will be Thursday with 134,000 passengers expected at Sea-Tac Airport and Friday which is expecting to see 137,000 passengers. 

The busiest times at the TSA security checkpoints at Sea-Tac this holiday weekend will be from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m., 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. So, officials suggest travelers to plan ahead and get to the airport at least two hours before your flight.

Port of Seattle officials said the Sea-Tac Airport's garage is already nearing capacity. They recommend travelers should use other parking options or alternate ways to get to the airport, such as rideshares, Link light rail and public transit. 

Port of Seattle officials estimate passenger numbers for the year will be about 6% below 2019 levels. By 2023 officials estimate a near full recovery to pre-pandemic levels -- about 1% less than 2019.

People planning a road trip for Memorial Day are also expected to see higher than usual traffic over the holiday weekend. 

RELATED: Memorial Day traffic charts: Best and worst times to hit the road in western Washington

The Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) said drivers could experience higher than usual traffic on highways between May 26-31, especially on I-90 “where lengthy delays are expected.” 

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