The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, ninth-busiest airport in the country, used to be the only major commercial airport serving the entire metro, but that just changed. Paine Field in the Everett - Mukilteo area, which has been an industrial and military airport since it was first constructed in the 1930s, is finally hosting passenger flights. Paine Field, airport code PAE, is about to handle 24 flights a day compared to Sea-Tac’s 600—but it’s set to be a busy airport in its own right.
At this point, we’re all so used to Sea-Tac that it’s a little surreal having another option (although people living in the northern parts of the Sound are probably rejoicing). If you have a flight coming up at this new option, or you’re just curious, we’ve assembled everything we know.
Getting to and From Paine Field
Unlike Sea-Tac, Link Light Rail is not an option for getting to Paine. But the good news is that it was already a major Boeing employment center, there’s some transit to the area.
Starting March 31, Everett Transit Route 8 will stop at the terminal’s front door. Riders from elsewhere can transfer at the Everett Station or the new Seaway Transit Center—designed to “serve as a hub for Paine Field-area bus service.” Seattle riders can take Sound Transit 512 to Everett Station. If the timing matches up, weekday commuter routes are also an option: either the Sounder train to Everett Station, or the 513 to Seaway.
Community Transit’s Green Line—a bus rapid transit line that runs more often than the 8—will drop off at Airport Road and 100th starting March 24, within walking distance of the terminal. Riders can transfer to that one at Seaway or Bothell’s Canyon Park Park and Ride, or hop on it as it runs through Mill Creek. Riders from Shoreline can transfer to the Green Line from the Blue Line, which runs between Everett Station and Aurora Village and through Edmonds.
Community Transit 105 also drops off at 100th and Airport.
Take a Car
A Lyft from downtown Seattle can run you between 40 and 50 bucks, but if you already live north, it’s less of a hurdle, with fares between $30 and $40 from Lake City. A yellow cab from downtown is likely going to run you more than $50, but again, it’s going to be less than, say, a yellow cab from Bitter Lake.
Unfortunately, since Paine is small and new, there’s not the same prevalence of flat rates—but maybe someday.
Driving to the airport
Driving is always an option, although, like with Sea-Tac, parking will cost you. Rates are between $20 and $40 a day, depending on whether you’re going economy—a little farther from the airport than the others—premium, or valet. For shorter-term parking, premium and economy cost $5 every 30 minutes, and valet costs $20 for up to three hours.
Like with other airports, those getting a ride can get dropped off curbside.
Biking to the airport
Good news: There’s bike parking at Paine Field! It’s in front of the rideshare building.
Getting through security
There’s literally just one security checkpoint, since this is an itty-bitty airport—but the good news is that it just serves 24 flights per day, so it’s not going to be too crammed. The goal, says operator Propeller Airports, is to get people from curb to gate in 15 minutes, although there are no guarantees.
Fast Paine Field facts
Paine Field was originally supposed to be a commercial airport when it was planned in the 1930s, but wartime after wartime—World War II, then Korea—kept delaying Snohomish County’s plan for passenger flights. Eventually, it became an industrial airport.
While Boeing is the most famous company to operate out of Paine Field, more than 50 business have operations there.
Paine Field is named for Topliff Olin Paine, a pilot for the Air Mail Service in its early days famous for being able to navigate in almost impossible weather conditions.
The airfield hosts an aviation museum called the Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum, with a collection of World War II-era aircraft, tanks, and armor—including the Polikarpov U-2, flown by Soviet women on nighttime raids against the Nazis.