I thought it wasn’t possible for an airport pet relief area to be any nastier than Denver’s, but I was wrong. I learned last night that here in my own city, the airport pet relief area is seriously grim. There’s only one outdoor pet relief area, and it’s located at the far northern end of the arrivals level. [7/13/13 Sea-Tac has created a second outdoor pet relief area since this post was written, located at the opposite, southern end of baggage claim. Folks traveling on United, Virgin America, Frontier, Delta, U.S. Air, or an international flight now have a better alternative than the much-trampled bit of landscaping I first proposed as an alternative, or the very distant grassy berm I discovered in 2011.]
For passengers on Alaska/Horizon, American, Southwest, or JetBlue, this is good news. However, everyone else is looking at a long walk. (If you’re trying to give your dog a bathroom break on a layover, go instead to SEA’s indoor pet relief area.)
To find the official pet relief area, walk to baggage carousel 16, and go out Door 24. Turn left, and at the far end of the small parking area you’ll see a sign saying “Pet Area.” For a brief, happy moment, I thought the sign was telling me to go up the nearby stairs to what looked like a fenced enclosure, but then I realized my mistake. The pet relief area is directly under the sign, and it’s a small, unfenced patch of gravel — essentially a bit of widened sidewalk, with the concrete replaced by gravel. There is a poop bag dispenser and attached trashcan.
The only reason I can see to schlep all the way to this place is if you aren’t carrying a poop bag with you. If you have poop bags, then I would exit the baggage claim area by Door 2, near baggage carousel 1, and use the small park area you’ll find there as a pet relief area. But clean up after your dog! This scheme won’t work if the little park becomes nasty.
[8/14/11] And sure enough, the little park to the south of Baggage Claim is now pretty bedraggled. I was really happy, therefore, to discover this past weekend that if you keep walking south, away from the terminal, on the sidewalk along the airport roadway, you soon get to a large, useful patch of grass, pictured below. Keep going, and you’ll intersect International Boulevard, which is a busy, unattractive street — but it does have sidewalks, so you and your dog can stretch your legs a bit. The intersection is not far away — those large green signs you can see are telling drivers which way to turn on it.
This post is part of an ongoing series of reviews of airport pet relief areas we’ve visited. To see others, visit Dog Jaunt’s handy guide to airport pet relief areas.