A vintage telescope that was originally in service on a World War II battleship is one of the latest additions to the Paine Field airport terminal. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

A vintage telescope that was originally in service on a World War II battleship is one of the latest additions to the Paine Field airport terminal. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

Everett’s new passenger terminal gets some national love

Paine Field was voted 8th-best among a selection of small airports, some of which aren’t all that small.

EVERETT — Millions of passengers, multiple boarding gates, international flights — the contenders could claim big numbers and even bigger jet engines.

Indianapolis International Airport. Wichita, the biggest airport in Kansas. Manchester-Boston Regional.

The Everett entrant, barely a year-old, faced a crowded airfield.

Despite stiff competition, Paine Field’s new two-gate terminal was named one of the nation’s top 10 in USA Today’s Best Small Airport contest.

Here’s how it happened:

Editors at USA Today and travel experts chose about two-dozen airports to compete in a readers’ online poll.

The top 10 winners were determined by popular vote, and the Everett terminal vaulted into the No. 8 spot.

Landon Russell, another top-ranked local performer, was among the first to offer congratulations.

“Way to go,” said 10-year-old Landon, a highly rated young golfer with “a 10 or 11 handicap.” Landon, who was waiting to board an Alaska Airlines flight on Thursday, was on his way to compete at the U.S. Kids Golf Tournament in Phoenix.

“Compared to Sea-Tac, this is night and day,” said Teresa Russell, Landon’s mom. “Flying out of here is seamless,” the Bothell resident said.

To be eligible for the contest, the nominees had to serve fewer than 10 million passengers each year, USA Today said.

“While giant airports like JFK, LAX and Chicago O’Hare often dominate the travel scene due to the sheer number of passengers who pass through them each day, the United States is home to many smaller, friendlier airports that take some of the headache out of travel,” USA Today said.

With only two passenger gates, the Everett’s terminal faced some heavy lifters.

Alabama’s Huntsville International Airport, which began scheduled airline flights in the mid 1960s, rocketed to No. 1.

Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport, in its seventh decade of operation, took the No. 3 spot. Long Island MacArthur Airport, at No. 6, draws travelers, and presumably voters, from the region’s 7.5 million inhabitants. Indianapolis International Airport, with 44 domestic gates and two international gates, took the No. 7 seat.

Privately held Propeller Airports built and operates the Everett passenger terminal under a lease agreement with the airport owner, Snohomish County.

The nearly 30,000-square-foot terminal, located between Paine Field’s administrative offices and the airport control tower, opened on March 4, 2019. Since then, the terminal has generated more than 300 jobs and served 956,982 passengers, Propeller CEO Brett Smith said Friday.

People wait for their flights in the fireplace lounge at Paine Field airport Thursday morning. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

People wait for their flights in the fireplace lounge at Paine Field airport Thursday morning. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

Ethan Merritt, who was waiting Thursday in the terminal’s baggage area with his wife, Stacy, and two small children, said he’s done with airports south of the King-Snohomish county line. “We pretty much refuse to fly out of Sea-Tac,” said Merritt, a Snohomish resident.

Merritt offered a few ideas to improve the new terminal. “I’d like to see larger airplanes — 737s — and more flights,” he said.

Other terminal users said they would like more parking options, a designated cellphone lot, a viewing area to watch the airplanes and lots more destinations.

Said USA Today: “With just two gates, (Paine Field) airport just 45 minutes from downtown Seattle offers daily flights to destinations like Las Vegas, Orange County, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose aboard Alaska Airlines and United Airlines.”

In its first year of service, Alaska Airlines reduced the number of flights to Portland and added a daily flight to Spokane. In June, Alaska will begin daily service to Boise, Idaho. Last month, United Airlines ended service to San Francisco but boosted its Denver service to three daily flights from two.

Combined, Alaska and United are capped by the Federal Aviation Administration at 24 departures and 24 arrivals per day at Paine Field. Alaska Airlines offers 18 daily flights.

Janice Podsada; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods

A very large bowl of jellybeans greets travelers in the check-in area of the terminal at Paine Field. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

A very large bowl of jellybeans greets travelers in the check-in area of the terminal at Paine Field. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

USA Today best small airports

1. Huntsville International Airport, Huntsville, Alabama — 12 gates. In 2018, 580,932 outgoing passengers boarded flights.

2. T.F. Green Airport, Warwick, Rhode Island — Eight gates; 2,117,409 boardings.

3. Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport, Wichita, Kansas — 12 gates; 1,665,116 passengers boarded.

4. Piedmont Triad International Airport, Greensboro, North Carolina — 25 gates, 938,593 boardings.

5. Bangor International Airport, Bangor, Maine — Six gates; 336,410 boardings.

6. Long Island MacArthur Airport, Islip, New York — 11 gates; 811,535 boardings.

7. Indianapolis International Airport. Indianapolis, Indiana — 46 gates; 4,655,847 boardings.

8. Paine Field, Everett, Washington — Two gates; opened March 4, 2019. Since then, 482,991 boardings.

9. Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, Manchester, New Hampshire — 16 gates, 911,225 boardings.

10. Long Beach Airport, Long Beach, California — 11 gates; 1,908,635 boardings.

Sources: USA Today, Federal Aviation Administration

Talk to us

More in Local News

A 1.2-mile stretch of 236th Street NE near Arlington will be fully closed May 31 through Sept. 2 for a road project. (Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians)
Months-long closure ahead for 236th Street NE near Arlington

The Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians is widening lanes, adding a separated shared path and improving wildlife crossings.

Nate Nehring (left) and Sam Low.
Snohomish County’s LGBTQ Pride proclamation gets no GOP support

Councilmember Nate Nehring said it would violate his “personal conscience” by “celebrating particular lifestyles.”

Denny’s employee hospitalized after shooting south of Everett

A group of people was asked to leave. Someone fired a gun. A suspect was arrested.

2 teens arrested after Everett shooting, 100 mph chase

A young man was shot in the leg at an apartment near Voyager Middle School, where kids were being released for the day.

Pair identified in apparent murder-suicide in Everett

Police believe a man killed a woman, then himself. No arrests were made. No suspects were believed to be at large.

Law enforcement stand guard at the front driveway to Cascade High School as multiple agencies attempt to track down a suspect who reportedly had a firearm near campus Friday, May 27, 2022, in Everett, Washington. Dozens of concerned family members arrived to the school and stood along Casino Road waiting to find out what was happening. An airsoft pistol was recovered during a security sweep. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Apparent threat at Cascade High turned out to be airsoft gun

Two Everett schools went into lockdown Friday as police conducted security sweeps of their campuses.

Hydraulic fluid from a Waste Management garbage truck damaged roads in Mountlake Terrace June 23, 2021. The company hired crews to put absorbent material on the fluid and swept it, but several areas need to be repaired this year. (Mountlake Terrace)
Truck leak prompts 2 miles of road work in Mountlake Terrace

About 50 gallons of hydraulic fluid spilled from a Waste Management garbage truck last June.

Homicide suspect arrested in separate murder-for-hire sting

New court papers connect Selvin Rosales-Sevilla, of Mountlake Terrace, to the killing of Kevin Nieto Mejia at Ebey Island.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Bird flu comes to Snohomish County, via backyard flock

Where exactly was not immediately released. But flock owners should be vigilant to prevent further spread of the virus.

Most Read