We’ve all had that experience of heading to an airport to catch a flight, walking in the doors, and seeing a line of passengers waiting to check their luggage at the airline desk that snakes back and forth.
Not only does it mean being bored waiting in line for your turn to check your bags, but it can also mean you have to get to the airport that much earlier, or risk missing your flight.
Luckily, the Port of Seattle and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport have a “Port Valet” service that can save you a lot of time and headache. If you’re taking a cruise from Seattle and plan on flying home from the airport, then you’ll want to take advantage of this little-known cruise perk.
How It Works
With the Port Valet service, cruisers disembarking in Seattle and headed to the airport don’t have to worry about schlepping their bags. The complimentary service will transfer your luggage from ship directly to the plane. The service is free, and passengers pay only normal baggage fees an airline may charge for either checking a bag or excess baggage, not for the transfer service.
So how can you take advantage?
First, you’ll fill out an enrollment form while onboard your ship, which you should find in your stateroom (if not, ask Guest Services). The Port of Seattle recommends that you enroll early. Any questions you have can be answered by the Guest Services desk on the ship.
The night before your cruise ends, you’ll have airline boarding passes and special luggage tags delivered. Place these tags on your checked bags and then set them outside of your room. The ship’s crew will pick them up for you.
From there, your luggage is delivered directly to your airport, so you don’t have to check those bags. The next time you see them will be on the luggage carousel when you land back home.
This gives you more time to explore Seattle, while not worrying about carrying heavy bags around. And when you arrive at SeaTac with the boarding passes you received shipboard, you can head directly to security check-in and then to your plane’s departure gate. You can even track your bags during this process at https://portvalet.maketraveleasier.com
Currently, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, Horizon Air, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines and United Airlines participate in the program. The free luggage transfer service is available in Seattle because Sea-Tac and the Port of Seattle are run by the same authority.
What Passengers Think of the Program
Obviously having a completely free service that takes care of your luggage should be popular. And while not many people seem to know about the service (its only been around a few years), those that have used it rave about the program.
“It is GREAT!! You are given your airline docs (we were flying Southwest) and baggage checks on the night before docking. We attached them to our bags, put them in the hallway, and the next time we saw them was on the baggage carousel in Tucson. We walked off the ship with our carry-on in Seattle at 6:30, hailed a cab, and we were checked in and at our gate at the airport by 7:30. We were WAY early for our 11:30 AM flight, but that was fine. I had been concerned that 11:30 was too early, but everything worked out as well as we could have ever wanted. Seattle really had its act together, both for check-in at the pier and for disembarkation. I highly recommend the service!”
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a charge for the Port Valet service in Seattle?
No, the service is completely free. It’s paid for through airline and port fees. While technically you have to pay these fees (and thus are paying for the service), there is no additional charge to use the Port Valet.
What if I need something from my bag after it is picked up?
You should be sure that you have everything you need from your luggage before you set it outside your door. With the Port Valet service, once your bags are picked up you won’t see them again until you land at your home airport. You won’t have a chance to get anything from them once they are picked up the night before your cruise gets back to port.
What if I’m not traveling on one of the airlines offering the service?
As mentioned above, Alaska, American, Delta, Horizon Air, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit Airlines and United all are participants in the program. That should cover the vast majority of passengers. If you are flying out on a different airline, then you’ll still need to bring your luggage with you the traditional way.
Have more questions about the free port valet service between the Port of Seattle and the airport? Let us know in the comments below.