Watch: John & Jeanne go beyond security at SeaTac Airport without a boarding pass

John & Jeanne took advantage of a new test program at SeaTac that lets 50 people a day go beyond security without actually traveling

November 19, 2018
John & Jeanne at SeaTac

John Fisher/YouTube

Maybe you saw it on the news: The Port of Seattle is trying an experimental program at SeaTac Airport that lets you pass through the TSA security checkpoint even if you're not carrying a boarding pass or planning on getting on a flight.

(Here's the story in the Seattle Times.)

They want you to be able to walk your 85-year-old mother right to her gate when she flies back to Ohio, or greet your sweetie with a bouquet when they step off the plane. And they wouldn't mind if you had a drink or meal at one of the airport's restaurants while watching the planes take off and land, or maybe you'll pick up some Seattle souvenirs at one of the retailers in the terminal. 

In other words, they want to go back to the good old carefree pre-9/11days when people actually went to the airport for fun. So through the end of December, they're letting 50 people a day sign up for a visitor pass. You have to apply online the day before you're planning on visiting, and you have to select a specific arrival time, so it takes some coordination if you're going to drop off or pick up someone as part of your visit.

Obviously, when Jeanne and I heard about this pilot program (airport pun!), we had to give it a try. So we applied, got approved for visitor passes, planned an afternoon of fun, and headed for the airport. I have to tell you, after all the security measures put in place since 9/11, it feels pretty weird to be standing in a long TSA screening line and not be stressed out like all those travelers. We weren't worried about making our flight, we weren't paranoid that we'd left a steak knife in our carry-on bag, we just wanted to get through the line and start having fun. And boy, did we have fun!

Here's how it went: