The largest airport by passenger numbers in Massachusetts and New England has the rather lengthy name of General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport so it comes as no surprise that it is usually referred to as Boston Logan (BOS), Logan Airport or, even more simply, Logan. Boston Logan Airport has the IATA (International Air Transport Association) designation code BOS which is a simple abbreviation for Boston.
The airport ranks in the top twenty busiest in America and handled over 42 million transiting passengers in 2019, the highest volume of traffic in its long history.
It is one of eight airports in Massachusetts but the other seven are bit-part players in comparison to Boston Logan. Located just 3 miles (5 km) from the downtown area of Boston, Logan Airport is extremely well served by local transport which even includes a ferry service.
First opened in 1923, the airport is spread over almost 2,400 acres containing four passenger terminals and six runways. It was named in honour of General Edward Lawrence Logan, a war hero and native Bostonian.
Logan operates both domestic and international flights and is a hub for Cape Air and a secondary hub for Delta Air Lines transatlantic operations. Other notable airlines operating at Boston Logan are United Airlines, American Airlines and JetBlue while many of the biggest U.S. airlines also have scheduled flights into and out of the airport.
Originally called Jeffrey Field, and used primarily by the U.S Army Air Corps and Massachusetts Air National Guard, when first opened in September 1923 although the airport did not begin to receive commercial passenger flights until 1927. As the demand for air travel increased during the 40's and 50's, the airport added an extra 1,800 acres to its footprint and was extended out into Boston Harbour. Terminal buildings were enlarged with two new terminals, B and C, being added in 1949.
The airport was renamed in 1943 in honour of South Boston war hero Major General Edward Lawrence Logan whose statue now stands at the airport. Boston Logan was the first U.S. airport to introduce a rapid transit connection with the construction of a dedicated airport station.
Following the end of World War II, the airport began operating transatlantic flights when American Overseas Airlines flew weekly to Shannon Airport in Ireland and onwards to London, England. Shortly afterwards, Pan Am also began scheduled flights to Shannon as well as the Azores with onward connections to Lisbon and London. By the end of the 50's, Boston Logan was operating flights to Ireland, England, Scotland, France and other worldwide destinations by many of the biggest airline companies including BOAC, Pan Am, Air France, American Airlines, Eastern Airlines, United Airlines, TWA, National Airlines and Alitalia.
Recognising the increasing volume of international traffic, the airport was officially renamed as General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport in 1954.
There are six runways served by four terminal buildings containing 102 gates at Logan Airport. The four terminals are designated A, B, C and E with most international flights using Terminal E as the other three do not have immigration or customs facilities. Because of this, all four terminals are connected by shuttle buses and there is also a moving walkway between Terminals A, B and E, all of which operate in the pre-security zone of the airport.
Opened in 2005, Terminal A is primarily the domain of Delta Air Lines and is divided into two sections which are linked by a pedestrian tunnel.
Newly renovated in 2014, Terminal B is sub-divided into North and South is an operating base for United Airlines and also used by Air Canada, Alaska Airlines and Spirit Airlines among others.
Operational base for JetBlue, Terminal C also handles flights from Irish airline Aer Lingus and Cape Air and is also used for TAP Air Portugal departures.
Also referred as the John A. Volpe International Terminal, Terminal E is the primary terminal used for international arrivals and departures. The ground floor is used for arrivals and U.S Customs, the third story for departures and the second is for passport control and immigration checks.
Further expansion is under way at Terminal E which includes the building of a new TSA (Transport Security Agency) checkpoint as well as the extension of the customs and baggage claim areas. Work is expected to be completed by early 2023.
Logan is an extremely busy airport and is used by many of the biggest and most well-established airlines. Although airlines are usually assigned to one (or two) terminals this is not set in stone and changes can occur if the situation demands.
The following is a guide to which terminal is (usually) assigned to which airline:
Delta Air Lines, WestJet
American Airlines, Air Canada, Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Boutique Air, United Airlines
JetBlue, Aer Lingus, TAP Air Portugal, Cape Air
Alitalia, Azores Airlines, Air France, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, El Al, Copa Airlines, Emirates, Hainan Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Iberia, Japan Airlines, KLM, JetBlue, Korean Air, LATAM, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Scandinavian Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, Virgin Atlantic, Hawaiian Airlines, Porter Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Royal Air Maroc
The vast majority of international arrivals will land at Terminal E from where disembarked passengers will be directed through the security zone to customs and immigration.
All customs and immigration checks at Logan Airport are carried out by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, a branch of Homeland Security. CBP officers are charged with the enforcement of regulations regarding the entry of people and goods to the U.S.
America operates a Visa Waiver Program (VWP) which applies to a set number of countries that are perceived to be low-risk security threats. The VWP list includes many European Union members, the United Kingdom as well as several other countries.
As is the case at all U.S. Airports and seaports, arriving non-U.S. citizens will require the necessary documentation to be granted entry and this will be in one of two forms:
Citizens from the VWP countries do not require a U.S. Visa but do need an ESTA approved valid passport. ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) is an electronic form of visa which must be applied for and granted before undertaking any trip to the United States. The application process consists of a detailed questionnaire covering an applicant's personal details, travel history to certain countries and details of previous criminal convictions. The information supplied is then thoroughly checked against numerous security databases before the ESTA is granted or refused.
Citizens of countries who do not qualify for an ESTA will require the appropriate U.S. Visa from an American embassy or consulate in the applicant's native country or the country from which the flight originates.
Since the end of 2020, Boston Logan Airport operates what is termed Simplified Arrival for arriving international travelers. The process uses facial recognition to verify a passenger's identity and provides the CBP with a biometric record of visiting non-U.S. Citizens entry and exit dates and locations.
Newly-arrived travelers have their photograph taken before arriving at the immigration desk and this is then electronically compared to a number of photos already supplied by the passenger and stored on a CBP database. If, for whatever reason, the system fails to match the new photograph with those on file the passenger will proceed to the regular immigration where documentation and ID can be manually checked. Simplified Arrival is not mandatory and arriving travelers can opt out of the process by notifying a CBP agent.
In 2007, on the aviation.com website, Boston Logan was described as the “Easiest Airport to Get To” and the same is pretty much true today. This is mainly due to the facts that the airport is so close to the heart of Boston and is also located on the shores of Boston Harbour. This means there are a host of options for getting to and from the airport, not the least of which is by ferry.
It is only 3 miles and 15 minutes by car from the center of Boston to the airport.
The MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) Silver Line Route SL1 runs to South Station where connections can be made to all four terminals at Logan.
The MBTA Blue Line subway runs to Airport Station where free shuttle buses connect to the various airport terminals.
There is a free shuttle to the Logan Airport Ferry dock where MBTA run a direct ferry to the Boston waterfront.
Massport Airport Shuttle is a free shuttle service between all airport terminals and Airport Station.
Arriving or departing travelers can also arrange to share a ride as the usual ride-share companies operate to and from the airport's central parking garage while there also several livery-plate companies offering chauffeured limousines, vans or cars for hire.