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(Image: Gretchen Bossio / Seattle Refined)

Battle of the Airports: Sorry Sea-Tac, I'm only flying out of Everett's Paine Field now

Ever since Everett’s Paine Field opened to the public this spring I’ve been itching to fly. I blame my Pan Am obsession, but I’ve always found air travel to be exhilarating! With a new terminal practically in my neighborhood, I knew a trip was in my future.

Both Alaska and United Airlines fly out of Paine’s two gates, spanning 24 departures each day - so I started scanning for a flight deal. And I scored one. Just $79 to California!

My son and I departed at 2:30 p.m. on a Thursday afternoon - and as custom with air travel, I arrived a little over an hour before my flight. Only a few cars were lined up for drop-off when my husband and I arrived, there was no shuffle for a spot and no attendants guiding cars in and out. It just wasn’t necessary!

Had I needed to park, the lot was a mere crosswalk away, and cheaper than what you’ll find at Sea-Tac. All day parking is just $30 compared to Sea-Tac’s Terminal Direct $39.

Only two other parties were checking in for their flights when my son and I arrived. We breezed around the corner to security to discover that no one else was in line. NOT A SOUL! My son danced up to the security officer (literally, because NO LINE!) and we were happily greeted.

After passing through security we walked up a short ramp and arrived in the beautiful terminal waiting area. Truly, the design is so modern with clean lines and fresh flowers about - such a beautiful aesthetic. One gate is on the left and boasts a Beecher’s Cafe, another on the right. A large waiting area with huge windows and comfortable seating nests in the middle with bar service.

When it came time to board I was surprised that we would be exiting the terminal and boarding our plane outside. But, with a covered ramp, it really wasn’t an issue at all.

All in all, my Paine Field experience was absolutely amazing. It felt like a first class experience at a business class price - I mean, a $79 direct flight with no security line? And I’ve yet to mention the time stamp of our departure - a mere 9 minutes from drop off to sitting at the gate! I can’t promise that it will be like that every time, but everyone I talk to raves about Paine. There is no doubt in my mind that you should check PAE for flight options the next time you leave Washington.

I can almost guarantee that once you PAE you’ll rarely SEA!