Major snowstorm to impact Sea-Tac Airport

Alaska Airlines has made this announcement about its Seattle/Tacoma hub:

For the second time this week, a major snowstorm is taking aim on the Pacific Northwest. The National Weather Service says the Seattle area could see between 4 to 6 inches of new snow – potentially more – starting Friday afternoon into Saturday morning. The forecast also calls for snow in Portland, though not as much.

To prepare for the difficult weather conditions and impacts at Sea-Tac Airport, we’re strategically pre-cancelling flights that were scheduled to arrive or depart at Sea-Tac starting this afternoon. There’s the potential for additional travel disruptions based on the severity of storm.

Our guests are being notified if their flight is canceled. We’re also offering a flexible travel policy for those who would like to change their flights, which they can do on their own on our website. They’re also encouraged to check or our mobile app before heading to the airport to verify the status of their flight.

The pre-cancellation of flights eases congestion at the airport, and allows all airlines to match the reduced number of aircraft allowed to land and depart at Sea-Tac. With icy conditions and decreased visibility, it takes longer for aircraft to move around at the airport, much like driving on the interstate during similar conditions.

With safety always top of mind, operations are also intentionally slowed down. Plus, ground delay programs are expected to be implemented by Air Traffic Control, which requires more spacing between aircraft during low visibility.

Whenever there’s any snowfall on our aircraft, we begin deicing procedures as part of our safety protocol. That takes time to do. We have a full fleet of trucks, equipment and personnel at Sea-Tac ready to do that work, along with a well-stocked amount of glycol deicing solution.

Just getting to Sea-Tac could once again be a big problem during this snowstorm. That’s what happened Monday. Icy, snow-packed roads across the greater Seattle area made commuting treacherous for passengers, our employees and other airport workers. If making the trip to the airport, please drive safely and allow more time to get there.