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Ticket counter and gate realignments start next week at Sea-Tac

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on Jan. 10, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
January 10, 2013 1:46 pm

A wholesale rearrangement of ticket counters and gates at Sea-Tac begins next week.

Three airlines, American, Frontier and JetBlue, will move their ticket counters about 1,000 feet northward in the terminal to align their baggage systems with new gate assignments.

Those airlines will begin operating from their new ticket counter space next week, as follows:

- Tuesday, Jan 15th – American
- Wednesday, Jan 16th – Frontier
- Friday, Jan 18th – JetBlue

The move is part of major realignment process at Sea-Tac driven by airline consolidations and mergers as well as market share shifts. Further changes will occur over the next few months. The realignment process is expected to be completed in May, the airport said.

In recent years, several major airlines have merged including Delta and Northwest, Southwest and AirTran, United and Continental. American, now in bankruptcy reorganization, may merge with U.S. Airways.

As those airlines consolidate their operations, they are merging their ticket counters and rearranging their gates to put all of their flights on a single concourse.

Because of the way the Sea-Tac baggage system is arranged, ticket counters must be moved as airlines move their gate locations because the conveyors from certain parts of the terminal only serve specific sets of gates.

When the rearrangement is done completely later this year, the airport’s dominant airline, Alaska, will be the sole occupant of the North Satellite terminal. United, Air Canada and Skywest and AirCanada Jazz, which now share the North Satellite with Alaska, will move to the A Concourse. The United ticket counter, the northernmost in the main terminal, will move southward toward the A Concourse.

Alaska will continue departing from the C Concourse as well as from some D Concourse gates and the North Satellite. American and JetBlue will move flights from the A Concourse to the D Concourse gates vacated by Alaska.

Meanwhile, Hawaiian Airlines will move its departures to the South Satellite from the A Concourse, and Frontier and Virgin America will leave the A Concourse for the B Concourse.

The airport said it will install extra signs to direct travelers to the new ticket counter locations when they happen.

Sea-Tac is also making more of its gates “common user” gates to allow different airlines to use the same gates. As the airline using the gate changes throughout a day, overhead screens will display the appropriate airline logos and schedules for the airline presently using the gate.

The common user concept will make more efficient use of the existing gates. Under the old system where airlines had exclusive use of gates, a gate that had the capacity of handling 10 flights daily would sit idle much of the day if the assigned airline operated only four flights a day to Sea-Tac.

Alaska Airlines has plans to remodel the North Satellite to a new configuration once it gains exclusive use of that terminal.

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