Seattle Tacoma Intl. Airport Spotting Guide

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (IATA: SEA, ICAO: KSEA) is also called Sea-Tac Aiport or shortly SeaTac. It is the largest airport in the Northwest region of the United states. It is the home base of Alaska Airlines and its regional subsidiary Horizon Air. Due to this fact the chance of taking pictures of special liveries is high.

The airport Seattle-Tacoma was founded in 1944 for civil aviation after the military took control over the airport of Boeing in Everett. The commercial flights started in1947 and in 1949 the airport got the addition ‘international’ after the flights of Northwest Airlines to Tokio started. In 2014 about over 37 million passengers flew from Sea-Tac to national and international destinations in North America, Europe and Asia.

Written by Achim Walther (October 2015)

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Airline Variety
Photo Locations
Airport Informations Runways 16L/34R 16C/34C 16R/34L
3.627 m (11,901 ft) 2.873 m (9,426 ft) 2.591 m (8,500 ft)
Terminals Central North Satellite South Satellite
All other carriers Alaska Airlines only All International arrivals
Spotting Informations Ladder not needed
Car as usual in the USA highly recommended
Restrooms Inside the Fast Food Restaurants in Sunnydale, next to spot 1-3.
Drinks/Food Plenty of Fast Food Restaurants in Sunnydale, next to spot 1-3.
Hotels Several at the side of the terminals
Season No special season
Runway Usage  16L/34R Used by bigger planes like B747, B777 or MD11-F
16C/34C No Info
16R/34L Smaller Planes like B737 or Bombardier Dash

Spot #1 – Waste Water Plant
WHERE The Spot is situated next to a water plant and is a popular location for local spotters.
Coming from the North Interstate 5 take the exit to Southcenter Blvd. eastbound. Coming from the South you take the Exit to Highway 405. Follow the road until the next exit to Washington 181, turn left on Wash. 181 (in the direction north) and drive left onto the Southcenter Blvd.Drive East until you could turn right into the 24th Avenue South. Pass the parking lot and then you’ll see the green on the left. Turn into the 146th Street South and turn left before the entrance to the airport parking lot. You can park directly at the location. There is space for 4-5 cars.
For route guide systems: 2208 South 146th Street
WHAT Taxi way and landing on 16L
TIME Best before mid-day.
MISC. Only a few parking slots available.
FOCAL LENGTH 300mm for a B737 on Taxi way
Spot #2 – Baseball Field
WHERE Just follow the 146th Street eastbound to the end. You’ll find a small turning area for parking. For route guide systems: 14649 16th Avenue South
WHAT Best for landings on 16R
TIME Best before mid-day, in the afternoon you might get problems with the light.
MISC. Be patient if there are games taking place on the baseball field and don´t hang around with your huge tele lense.
FOCAL LENGTH approx. 200mm for a B737
 Spot #3 – 146 Street
WHERE Coming from sport #1 or #2 follow the 16st Avenue South till the 144 Street. Turn left and follow the street. After some curves the road rises and you’ll see some lost area on the right. You could park beside the street. I suggest on the right in downhill direction.
For route guide systems: 1000 South 146th Street
WHAT Best for landings on 16R, 16L are also possible too but very far for smaller aircrafts.
TIME The light is lovely from mid-day/afternoon until sunset.
MISC. You only have a small angle for taking the pictures, but you can the planes early enough. Choose a high frequency at your camera.
FOCAL LENGTH Approx. 135mm for a B737 on 16R, 350mm for the FedEx MD11F on 16L
Spot #4 – 192th Street
WHERE From Airport (Pacific Highway South) turn right on South 188 Street eastbound and pass the tunnel. After the tunnel turn left on the first street into 16th Avenvue South and follow the road. After a right turn cross the traffic lights straight on.
From WA-509 go to the end and follow the DeMoines Memorial Drive (left on frist traffic lights). At the second traffic lights turn right.
The street rises choose a place on the left. You can park your car beside the street.
For route guide systems: 1100 South 192nd Street
WHAT Best for Landing on 34L, weak for 34R
TIME The light is lovely from mid-day/afternoon until sunset.
MISC. You only have a small angle for taking the pictures. You must wait until you hear the planes and choose the fast frequency at your camera.
FOCAL LENGTH 135mm for a B737

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