Seattle Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is a public establishment in SeaTac, nearby the cities of Seattle and Tacoma in the United States of America. It is found in the state of Washington, and handles around 32 million passengers every year, making it the 16th busiest airport in the country. The airport has had several improvements over the recent years, including the expansion of the Central Terminal and the construction of a new Rental Car facility. Passengers who would like to rent a car now have access to all the Seattle Tacoma International Airport car hire companies in one convenient location.
The airport of Seattle and Tacoma has several buildings. There is a main and central terminal building that houses many passenger facilities, as well as four concourses that can be easily accessed from the Central Terminal. These concourses are referred to by the letters A, B, C and D. A little further away are the North and South Terminals. These satellite terminals are linked to the Central Terminal by a people mover system. Passengers on international fights will arrive at the South Terminal. Although buses, taxis and even trains can be used for travelling from Seattle Tacoma Airport, many passengers find that renting a car is more convenient. Especially once in the city, and transport is needed to visit attractions or to reach relevant places of business. Driving in Seattle or Tacoma is quite possible, however, the downtown areas can be busy, and parking can be expensive. Vehicles are then often left at car parks such as the Seattle Centre, from where public transport is available. Rented cars are convenient for travelling to any of the areas that surround Seattle, or are nearby. The large Interstates of the country are pleasant for travelling between cities. From Seattle, the Interstate 5 heads south past Tacoma and Olympia, and on to Portland. The Interstate 90 heads inland towards Spokane.
On the 17th of May, 2012, Seattle Tacoma Airport opened its new Rental Car Centre. It is found in the north-eastern portion of the airport, and at the intersection of South 160th Street and International Boulevard South. It is a 23 acre (93,000 square metre) facility, with more than enough room for adequate office and car rental counter space, and for the vehicles owned by the car hire companies. There are currently 5,400 parking spaces for vehicles. The centre was originally supposed to have opened in Spring of 2011, but there were some construction delays in the previous years.
The Seattle Tacoma International Airport Car Rental Centre is linked to the terminal building by shuttle buses (29 Gillig CNG buses), as it is not within walking distance. Once passengers have collected their luggage, they should exit the baggage claim area through the sliding doors nearby either baggage carousel #1 or #15, and look for the rental car shuttles. There are signs throughout the terminals to help passengers find various facilities, or the airport volunteers in their blue jackets can be asked for assistance. The shuttles are available at frequent intervals, and twenty-four hours a day, as the car rental companies are open at all hours, seven days a week. The trip to the Rental Car Centre will take about five minutes. Disabled passengers will also find the buses to be accessible, and passengers will easily be able to transport their luggage items.
The car hire companies of Seattle Tacoma Airport include Hertz, Budget, Avis, National, Alamo, Thrifty, Dollar, Europcar, Enterprise, Auto Europa and Easycar. All these companies have many years of experience in the car hire industry, and strive to provide only the very lowest of rental rates for their airport passengers. National is particularly popular amongst business travellers, while Alamo and Avis are popular choices for leisure travellers. Budget and Hertz offer vehicles of all varieties, and services for all kinds of customers. They even have vehicles that can be reserved by their specific makes and models. The majority of the car hire companies offer good loyalty programs, such as the Dollar Express Program and Thrifty’s Blue Chip Program, whereby customers can enjoy faster reservations, rentals and returns, amongst many other benefits. They also provide additional items of equipment with their vehicles, such as child seats, ski racks and/or satellite navigation systems.
The car rental companies support disabled passengers as well, by offering hand control equipment from Seattle Tacoma International Airport. Hand controls are ideally used by individuals with a lower limb disability, as they operate the brake and accelerator pedals of certain automatic vehicles. They are free of charge, but will require an advanced reservation. Passengers can also arrange a one way hire from Seattle Tacoma Airport. One way hire services are convenient for any customer who is not returning to the airport. However, under usual circumstances, the rented car will need to be returned to the Rental Car facility from where it was collected. Take the SR518 when driving back with the rented vehicle and follow the signs for the Rental Car facility.
The cars available from this rental location could be similar to the Chevrolet Aveo, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, Toyota Corolla or Ford Focus. These smaller cars are ideal for city driving, and are comfortable for four or five passengers. Medium and larger sized cars are, however, also available, and could be more comfortable if space is required for luggage. Some of the larger cars available include the Chevrolet Impala, Toyota Avalon and Lincoln Town Car, which is a Luxury vehicle. SUVs and Minivans are very popular choices as well, although they will come with higher rental rates. They are also suitable for up to eight passengers. The Dodge Grand Caravan and Toyota Sienna are minivans, and the Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Suburban, Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator are examples of larger SUVs. Convertibles, crossovers, passenger vans and pickups are also available at certain car hire companies.
To hire a car from the car rental companies of Seattle Tacoma Airport, the renter will need to be at least 21 years of age, and should be in possession of a U.S.-issued or Canadian-endorsed driving license. A major credit card will also be required. Foreign renters will be required to show other documents as well, such as a passport and proof of their return. Always drive safely in your rented car, following the road rules and speed limits, which are as follows in the area surrounding the airport: 30mph/48kph in urban areas, 65mph/105kph on open roads and 70mph/113kph on motorways and highways. For the best car rental rates, an online reservation is recommended, in advance of your arrival at Seattle Tacoma Airport.