This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
If you’ve flown to Seattle, you’ve traveled through Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), located just 20 minutes or so by car south of the city. But for travelers located north of downtown, the drive can take an hour or more in traffic, especially if you’re based in the Everett area.
Well, there’s a positive change on the horizon for travelers heading to or from Seattle’s north — come next year, both Alaska Airlines and United are launching nonstop service from Everett’s Paine Field (PAE), which currently has a small terminal with two gates under construction — but is much better known as the home of Boeing’s West Coast wide-body assembly plant. All 777s and most 787s are made there, as well as the venerable 767, which Boeing still sells as a freighter and also makes in a tanker version for the US Air Force.
Here’s what we know so far:
Alaska hasn’t confirmed any destinations just yet, but the carrier has shared that it plans to launch a total of nine daily flights next fall, operated by a mix of Boeing 737s and Embraer 175 regional jets. Alaska Airlines has said that service won’t be limited to regional airports, though — “We’re talking daily, nonstop flights to some of our most popular destinations,” vice president of capacity planning John Kirby said.
The airline shared a short animated video on Facebook (embedded above) and committed to providing more details by early 2018.
United, meanwhile, has been a bit more forthcoming, confirming that it will operate a total of six daily flights to Denver (DEN) and San Francisco (SFO) beginning in the fall of next year, with a mix of regional and mainline aircraft depending on demand. With new service to two of the carrier’s largest hubs, it’s clear that UA will be marketing these flights to connecting travelers — and, of course, those flying to and from the aforementioned cities.
I’m familiar with Paine Field in the context of Boeing (no, it’s not where that “special” Dreamliner flight departed from earlier this month), but I don’t really know the area, so I asked Seattle resident and TPG contributor Peter Rothbart to share his thoughts on the new service at PAE:
The obvious benefits are more options for passengers in Western Washington and a shorter commute for folks at the top of the 405 beltway and beyond. However, I’m uneasy about the prospect of having to connect between Paine Field and SeaTac. Traffic along that corridor is notoriously awful. If Alaska is just offering additional flights to destinations it already serves, and passengers can simply choose whether to fly into SEA or PAE, then great. If, on the other hand, PAE ends up serving smaller destinations like Yakima or Missoula, and passengers have to then transit to SEA to continue travel elsewhere, then it could get messy.
It seems more likely that PAE will supplement service at SEA, and while it might occasionally be possible to connect between flights at both airports, that clearly wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Will this new PAE service make flying through Seattle easier for you?
Featured image of Boeing’s PAE operations by Stephen Brashear via Getty Images.
Know before you go.
News and deals straight to your inbox every day.
NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards