Seattle Travel

SeaTac Shuttles

Ground Transportation to Seattle

SeaTac Airport Shuttles – Are they worth it?

Seattle airport shuttles to connect you with Seatac airport are a key link to getting you on your way quickly. With Seattle’s legendary traffic and slick, rainy roads – airport shuttles can get you to your hotel or business meeting quickly. There is currently no efficient public transit system to or from Seatac airport – and other than private limousine companies – there is one company that dominates the airport shuttles – Shuttle Express. Shuttle Express is the only “door to door” option serving the greater Seattle area – with service right to specific locations (ie not just downtown Seattle hotels).

We took a mystery shopping ride on Shuttle Express to see whether this company can deliver on its promises. The reservation website was a little tricky to use, but we succeeded in making an online reservation which was very convenient. From Redmond’s Microsoft headquarters – the cost was approximately $36 plus tip for each direction (ie $72 round trip). There was no credit card deposit required to make a reservation – which left some nice flexibility.

Typical pricing to Seattle downtown hotels is $32 (plus tip), which is only marginally lower cost than a typical SeaTac cab at approximately $45 to downtown Seattle. You’ll wait also for the shuttle to arrive / depart plus additional stops as a shared shuttle.

Shuttle Express called to confirm the reservation exactly 24 hours before. This gave us some good assurance the shuttle was scheduled and confirmed with our impending trip coming soon. We also gave some directions to find our private home – as it is often missed off the beaten path.

Shuttle Express does require a relatively early pickup for the flight – we were a 5:15am pickup for a 8:15am flight. You input your flight time and Shuttle Express designates your pickup time.

The van was not brand new – it was basic inside, but relatively clean and comfortable. If you are looking for luxury – Shuttle Express might not be the best pick, but the van was appropriately maintained.

Plan for your ground transportation at the best price and service.

The driver was exactly on time at our home. He was courteous and helpful with only one other rider in the shared shuttle van. One of the biggest risks of shared shuttle vans from city airports is numerous time consuming stops. We were lucky to be the last (and only second) stop on the shared shuttle ride. Your experience may vary, but we were treated to an efficient and direct ride to the airport. The driver helped unload our bags, and the dropoff process was right at the airline ticketing area – very convenient.

A key advantage of Shuttle Express over your car is that they can use the car pool lanes on Seattle’s traffic clogged highways. If you’re driving by yourself – you are the stuck traffic that the car pool shuttle will be passing.

We found this shared shuttle to be a convenient way to get to the airport – however the cost was a bit steep. For three or more riders – you may be better off trying a private limousine sedan.

Shuttle Express Phone Contact: 425-981-7000

Serving the communities of: Auburn, Bellevue, Bothell, Everett, Federal Way, Fife, Issaquah, Kent, Kirkland, Lakewood, Mercer Island, Puyallup, Redmond, Renton, Seattle, Steilacoom, Tacoma, Totem Lake and Woodinville.

Service from the Airport: Passengers are picked up at the inner drive curb on the third floor of the Airport Garage. The Shuttle Express booth is located between elevator banks 3 and 4, next to the Ground Transportation booth.

Scheduled Airport Ground Transportation Options – Outlying Communities:

Bremerton-Kitsap Airporter 360-876-1737  Fares are ~$12 – $20 each way depending on destination.  Approximately hourly departures. Bangor Submarine Base, Bremerton, Gig Harbor, Gorst, Port Orchard, Poulsbo, Purdy, Silverdale, and Northwest Tacoma. They also serve Ft. Lewis, Madigan Hospital and McChord Air Force Base.
Capital Aeroporter 253-927-6179  Departs approximately hourly throughout the day / night.  Fares from $22-$87. Centralia, Chehalis, Federal Way, Fife, Hoodsport, Lacey, Lakewood, Olympia, Parkland, Puyallup, Shelton, Tacoma, Tumwater, and Union.
Greyline – Limited downtown hotels only – $10.25 one way / $17 round trip  206-626-6088 5:30am – 11:00 pm twice per hour departures outside Door 00 on the Baggage Claim (lower) level.
Quick Shuttle 604-940-4428 To Vancouver, B.C. from Seatac airport every ~4 hours.
Whidbey – Seatac Shuttle 360-679-4003  Fares from $37 one way or $66 round-trip depending on location Whidbey Island communities of Oak Harbor, North Oak Harbor, Coupeville, Greenbank, Freeland, Bayview
Olympic Bus Lines — Independent Greyhound Bus Agent  360-417-0700  $49 one-way and $79 round-trip.  Two daily trips. Port Angeles, Sequim, Discovery Bay, Port Townsend, and Kingston.

Airport Shuttles North to Blaine and East to Yakima:

Airporter Shuttle: Departs every ~3 hours with fares typically $34 one-way and $60 round-trip  (509) 225-7433 See our full review below this table: Alaska Ferry Terminal, Anacortes, Anacortes Ferry to San Juan Islands, Bellingham, Blaine, Cle Elum, Ellensburg, Ferndale, Burlington, Lynden, Marysville, Mt. Vernon, Oak Harbor, Stanwood, Whidbey Island NAS and Yakima.
Bellair Airporter Shuttle 360-380-8800  with fares to Yakima typically $37 one-way and $74 round-trip  Discounts for Seniors and Military See our full review below this table:  Stops:  SeaTac and Anacortes Ferry to:  LaConner, Burlington, Stanwood, Marysville, Alaska Ferry, Bellingham, Ferndale, Birch Bay, Blaine, Lynden, Semiahmoo, North Bend, Cle Elum, Wenatchee, Ellensburg, and Yakima (some with connecting transfer service).  Full detailed schedule available here.

The Bellair Airporter service allows the far flung communities north of Seattle to connect easily to SeaTac airport and the San Juan ferry terminal for a fare of $60 round-trip or $34 one-way. It also allows easy car-free connections between the San Juan islands and SeaTac airport. For these longer 2.5 hour trips down from Bellingham – business travelers, college students, couples, singles, and families can avoid sitting in traffic; parking costs; and other hassles and sit in a comfortable 47 passenger motor coaches that include restrooms and Wi-Fi internet connections. Trips out of the San Juan islands from the Anacortes ferry terminal take only 3 hours with the Bellingham transfer, and use a smaller 20 passenger mini-bus. The Airporter takes advantage of HOV commute lanes that can significantly cut drive times in the Seattle area’s congestion.

Dropoff at SeaTac airport is right in front of ticketing for all airlines. You can also take advantage of interim stops like the Tuallip outlet stores and casino-resort. The Airporter is often used to connect to Bellingham’s airport which now offers both more convenient service and direct flights to Hawaii; together with Allegiant’s air service to Southern California and Phoenix Arizona. Students of Western Washington University are frequent customers and the shuttles make stops directly at Seattle’s downtown convention center. Trips go as far north as the Blaine Canadian border with transfers to the main route in Bellingham.

Airporter drivers receive stringent training with over three-quarters of applicants declined in the rigorous screening process. Many of the service-oriented drivers have been working for over a decade and closely monitor traffic and weather conditions for the best possible and fastest ride. The Airporter saves energy and fuel costs to stay green by sharing the ride; makes your time more pleasureable versus driving; and can get you through difficult weather conditions including snow (the buses have chains available when needed).

The same company offers service from Yakima and the wine country to SeaTac airport for $74 round-trip or $37 each way stopping in popular communities including North Bend, Cle Elum, and Ellensburg’s Central Washington University. However you measure it – the Airporter brings Washington’s outlying communities right to the SeaTac airport’s ticket counters in a way that can save money, time, and hassle.

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