10a. Memo

2022 SEA Customer Service Staffing

AGENDA MEMORANDUM                       Item No.          10a 
ACTION ITEM                             Date of Meeting       June 28, 2022 

DATE:   May 10, 2022 
TO:     Stephen P. Metruck, Executive Director 
FROM:   Laurel Dunphy, Director Airport Operations 
Jeff Hoevet, Senior Manager Airport Operations 
SUBJECT: Contract for Supplemental Customer Service Operational Staffing at Seattle-Tacoma
International Airport 
Amount of this request:              $50,100,000 
Request Commission authorization for the Executive Director to advertise and execute a contract
for up to five (5) years (a two-year base contract with three (3) one-year options) of supplemental
customer service operational staffing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for a contract value
not to exceed $50,100,000. 
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is seeking to continue supplemental customer service
staff in specific areas of the airport facility to ensure customers have the necessary support to
efficiently navigate areas of the airport with operational challenges. Increasing passenger traffic
has added pressure to a constrained main terminal facility and the new International Arrivals
Facility (IAF) presents new challenges and opportunities to provide higher levels of service
appropriate for an airport the size of SEA with a goal of achieving a SkyTrax 5 Star rating. These
roles and locations include balancing loads at the TSA Security checkpoints, customer assistance 
in the new International Arrivals Facility, Ground Transportation support, and employee parking.
At peak times it is critical that staff is available to ensure the efficient flow of customers through
the facilities. 
We have identified a need to supplement operational customer services in the public areas of
the airport, which include the main terminal, IAF, Ground Transportation, and employee 
parking facilities. At peak times, many areas have high passenger congestion with insufficient

             COMMISSION AGENDA – Action Item No. 10a                                 Page 2 of 6 
Meeting Date: June 28, 2022 
assistance to help customers navigate the facility. Contracted customer service staff is able to
assist passengers during the busiest time of day, specifically in areas of the: 
•    TSA Security Checkpoints 
•    Spot Saver Lanes 
•    International Arrivals Facility 
•    Ground Transportation operating area 
•    North employee parking lot 
Template revised September 22, 2016. 
The flexibility provided by a contracted customer service staff provider would allow the Port to
handle peak hour surges but also support passengers that require assistance during most hours
of the day. 
Port staff identified several alternatives that are included in the attached PowerPoint.  With
relevant experience related to the staffing needs in the airport operation, the team identified
options that will support customers and encourage and exceptional experience while allowing
flexibility to respond to customer demand and seasonal volumes. 
As we continue to improve the customer experience at SEA with recognition of being a SkyTrax 
4 Star airport and winner of the 2021 SkyTrax Best Airport Staff in North America, the purpose of
this request is to maintain focus on operational customer services throughout the airport
facilities. We also strive to promote our facility as the “West Coast Gateway of Choice,” advancing
the Port’s Century Agenda in leading the region in tourism and business by providing an efficient
and pleasant experience at the airport facility. 
During the pandemic, we significantly reduced operational customer service staffing and had
anticipated a lower level of need for support for the new International Arrivals facility.   As
passenger volumes have returned, we recognize that the number of leisure travelers has
increased while the number of business travelers has decreased. Many of these leisure travelers,
who have less familiarity with the airport, require more assistance.  With the IAF now open, we
are seeing logistical challenges for customers that had not been anticipated in the original design
of  the  facility.   These include exponential  growth  in  the  number of  passengers  utilizing
wheelchairs (e.g. a daily Emirates flight typically has 75+ passengers who are being met at the
gate with a wheelchair), increased leisure passengers who often travel with significant amounts
of luggage, the impacts of the “Bags First” operational process mandated by Customs & Border
Protection which requires customers to navigate the screening queues along with their luggage,
and a variety of issues related to baggage carts and navigating the sloped walkway exiting the
In the main terminal, we continue to recognize the need for significant assistance for people
moving through the congested security screening lanes. And, we added the Spot Saver product, 
Template revised September 22, 2016; format updates October 19, 2016.

             COMMISSION AGENDA – Action Item No. 10a                                 Page 3 of 6 
Meeting Date: June 28, 2022 
which requires additional staffing to check reservation times, answer questions, and to manage
the queue.
The assistance provided by the operational customer service contracted staff is focused on the
specific areas during the travel journey where congestion occurs or physical assistance may be
necessary.  While this assistance is different than the responsibilities of the Customer Service
Representatives (Port employees known as Pathfinders), there are similarly high expectations for
friendly and helpful assistance.  The primary areas of operational customer service in this
contract include: 
• Main Terminal customer flow and checkpoint wait times 
o  Checkpoint line coordination 
o  Checkpoint line load balancing 
o  Spot Saver lane management 
• International Arrivals Facility 
o  CBP Passenger queue management 
o  Assistance to CBP staff (escorting referrals to secondary) 
o  Baggage assistance for transfer customers 
o  Odd-size bag management 
o  Organize and coordinate recheck security lines 
• Ground Transportation 
o  Provide assistance to customers navigating mode choices in the Parking Garage 
o  Coordination of ground transportation operating area (transportation network
• Employee Parking 
o  Coordination of queuing 
o  Data collection and reporting 
o  Inventory reporting 
The airport team is working with the Central Procurement Office (CPO) to develop a revised
Request for Proposal (RFP) advertisement with an expected start of contract service date of
January 1, 2023.
Anticipated schedule: 
Develop and finalize RFP – September 2022 
Advertise – October 2022 
Template revised September 22, 2016; format updates October 19, 2016.

             COMMISSION AGENDA – Action Item No. 10a                                 Page 4 of 6 
Meeting Date: June 28, 2022 
Proposal Review – October 2022 
Award Agreement – November 2022 
Commencement of service – January 2023 
Alternative 1 – Allow customers to self-direct through airport congestion points and physically
challenging situations without assistance. 
Cost Implications: No financial investment from the Port. 
(1) No financial investment for operational customer assistance or other services. 
(2) Consideration of approximately $10,020,000 annual expense savings. 
(1)   This alternative does not maintain a four-star airport experience. 
(2)   This alternative relies on customer intuition, adding airport signage, and subjecting
passengers to physically challenging situations for a less satisfactory experience. 
(3)   This  alternative  may  contribute  to  long  line  waits,  confusion,  and  customer
(4)   Fire code and life safety may be compromised with unattended customer queues. 
(5)   Use of CBP to manage passenger queues would reduce number of available
processing booths, thus increasing CBP wait times, and increasing the Minimum
Connect Time (MCT) for passengers connecting to other flights. 
This is not the recommended alternative. 

Alternative 2 – Utilize existing Port of Seattle staff. 
Cost Implications: the existing Port of Seattle staff (customer service representatives known as
Pathfinders) are utilized in locations where significant airport knowledge is required to provide
assistance to customers that is often complex in nature. Examples include providing consistent
service (7 a.m. – 9 p.m., 7 days/week) at information desks and kiosks where customers obtain
resources for unique needs (e.g. Sunflower lanyards, hearing loop devices), extensive language
assistance, escorting customers, or working through difficult travel situations. A Pathfinder has
also now been stationed at the often-confusing “split” in the IAF (decision point between exit to
Seattle or connecting flights.) Extending coverage to operational areas (e.g. check point queues, 
ride share areas) would necessitate the hiring of additional Pathfinders. Given the operational
challenges and seasonality of customer volumes, a contracted service provides the needed
flexibility to make adjustments. Many airport service providers offer a variety of responsibilities

Template revised September 22, 2016; format updates October 19, 2016.

             COMMISSION AGENDA – Action Item No. 10a                                 Page 5 of 6 
Meeting Date: June 28, 2022 
to their staff. This creates opportunity for work that can flex with seasonal customer demands 
while providing consistent hours.
(1)   Pathfinders currently provide customer assistance to help passengers with complex
travel situations and could, thus, perform some of these basic operational customer
service tasks (e.g. security queue management). 
(1)   Current headcount cannot support additional (currently contracted) service to
(2)   Overtime options to fill the customer demand is not sustainable. 
(3)   Existing Pathfinder role does not include the physical requirements associated with
baggage  assistance.  It  would  likely  require  a  different  customer  service
representative staff category.
(4)   The specific functions described for the IAF, Ground Transportation and NEPL are
also outside the current Pathfinder responsibilities which are centered around
airport knowledge  and highly experienced customer service  delivery.   These
operational tasks may also require a different customer service representative staff
This is not the recommended alternative. 
Alternative 3 – Enter into a contract with an experienced and professional service provider who
has trained and capable staff. 
Alternative 3 considers several options for service levels including a baseline, 4-Star, and 5-Star
staffing.  The attached PowerPoint illustrates staff recommendations with specific locations
where support is necessary to influence the efficient movement of customers. Each alternative
has been evaluated to ensure flexibility with seasonal customer demand. In any case, Port staff
engagement with a successful vendor will ensure contract compliance and match staff support
to anticipated customer volumes. 
Cost Implications: $10.02 million annual expense 
(1)    Demonstrates the Port’s commitment to being the West Coast Gateway of Choice. 
(2)    Meets demands for a variety of customer assistance services expected in a four-star
airport experience and required to achieve a five-star ranking.  Encourages job
creation in a contracted service, including small business component. 
(3)    Provides the ability to “flex” operational customer service staffing levels based on
time of day and season. 
(4)    Effectively targets Port financial investments between responsibilities involving
complex airport knowledge (i.e. Customer Service Representatives – Pathfinders) 
Template revised September 22, 2016; format updates October 19, 2016.

             COMMISSION AGENDA – Action Item No. 10a                                 Page 6 of 6 
Meeting Date: June 28, 2022 
and operational tasks with different requirements (e.g. physical assistance, basic
understanding of airport terminal locations.) 
(5)    Provides a more efficient passenger terminal experience in several critical areas of
customer movement. 
(1) Requires commitment of an approximate $10.02 million annual expense. 
This is the recommended alternative 
Budget Status and Source of Funds 
The costs associated with this contract will be included in annual operating budgets beginning in
2023. A current contract expires in 2022 and did not include expenses for expanded operations,
nor did it include provisions for customer growth. The budget will reside in Airport Operations. 

July 14, 2020 – The Commission authorized a two-year agreement for Consolidated Customer
Support Services with an estimated value of $7,600,000. 
May 22, 2018 – The Commission authorized advertising and execution of a contract for up to
three years, a one-year base contract with two one-year options of seasonal customer
service staffing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for an estimated contract value of
September 30, 2014 – The Commission authorized execution of a contract for Centralized
International Support Services in the Federal Inspection Services (FIS) Facility at SEA 
Airport for up to five years (2015-2019) for an estimated amount of $8,700,000. 

Template revised September 22, 2016; format updates October 19, 2016.


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