Boston Logan International Airport

Another airport lets you reserve your checkpoint time

The uptick in air travel brings with it an uptick in airport security wait times. So airports around the country are getting creative in testing new ways to keep those lines from getting out of hand.

You may remember our story about the “Spot Saver” program Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is piloting this summer that allows passengers to reserve a time to go through the security checkpoint.

The “virtual queuing” test at SEA runs through August 31, 20201 from 4 a.m. to noon (the airport’s peak travel period). The program gives passengers who have neither TSA Pre-Check nor CLEAR memberships a way to streamline their security checkpoint experience by getting an appointment time (with a 15-minute window) to access the security line.

There is no fee to use the program, which is set up at two SEA checkpoints and open to all passengers.


Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) is testing a similar program

At Boston Logan, the test is running through July 7 in Terminal B, from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

The program at BOS is in partnership with the accesso, a company that provides virtual queuing for theme parks and attractions around the world. At BOS, the Virtual Security Line lets passengers use their mobile devices to reserve a spot in the line. They are then notified (with a countdown clock) when it is their time to approach the checkpoint, get their QR code scanned, and enter the checkpoint line.

We hope these test programs work out and convince these and other airports to make virtual cueing for checkpoint times a permanent amenity.

In the meantime, keep in mind that security checkpoint lines are usually longer in the summer. But now we have physical distancing, out-of-practice travelers, and lots more nervous travelers, so be sure to pack your patience when you head to the airport now.

BOS: 5 Things We Love About Boston Logan International Airport

Our “5 Things We Love About …” series highlights some of the great features and amenities at airports around the country and the world.

Today we land at Boston Logan International Airport (BOS).

Keep in mind that some of amenities may be currently unavailable due to health concerns. We’re confident they’ll be back.

If we missed something you love about Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), please leave a note in the comments section below.

And if you have a suggestion for the next airport to be featured in our “5 Things We Love About…” series, we want to know!

BOS: 5 Things We Love About Boston Logan International Airport

“Flybe” by Jacob Kulin

1. Art at Boston Logan Int’l Airport

The public art program at BOS features both permanent pieces and temporary exhibitions and includes the Sports Wall, which celebrates sports championships and the Boston “T” Party exhibit, which invites travelers to take selfies and, of course, share them.

2. Rocking Chairs at BOS

Like many other airports now, Boston Logan International Airport has rocking chairs scattered about. Here, some of the rocking chairs are plain white while others are painted by artists.

Boston Logan Rocker

3. Shopping at Boston Logan Int’l Airport

Stuffed lobster at Boston Tops shop at Logan Airport

We love shopping for souvenirs at Boston Logan International Airport.

In addition to all the fun Boston-centric and lobster-themed gifts available, it is also possible to pick up live lobsters to-go at Legal Sea Foods. (Although this is one of the amenities temporarily unavailable due to COVID concerns.)

4. Family Friendly amenities at BOS

BOS has nursing pods in each terminal and Kidport play spaces in several terminals.

If your kids (or you) can’t sit still in a restaurant or can’t agree on what kind of food to eat, Boston Logan is one of the airports where you can have AtYourGate deliver food to you from eateries across all terminals.

5. The 9/11 Memorial at BOS

The Logan Airport 9/11 Memorial at Boston Logan International Airport honors the passengers and crews of American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175. These two planes departed Logan Airport for Los Angeles on September 11, 2001 and were hijacked by terrorists who flew them into the World Trade Towers in New York.

The memorial was dedicated on September 9, 2008 and is 20-by-20-foot glass cube that glows with a soft light at night. Inside the cube are two glass panels etched with the names of the people who were on each flight.

The memorial is in a small, park-like area between Terminal A and the Hilton Boston Logan Airport and is open 24 hours.

Airports: “We’re open”

Restaurants, shops, bars, schools and offices in many communities are closed.

But airports? For now, they’re open.

Although activities in and around the terminals are different, with far fewer passengers and flights than normal.

Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) has opened its garages to free parking. And posting a list of which dining, shopping and service locations are open.

Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) has shifted its dining options to take-out and in-terminal delivery service from At Your Gate.

At San Francisco International Airport (SFO), all restaurants are open for now, but many with reduced hours. Bars are closed. And, as with restaurants in many cities, service is take-out only.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is sharing a list of which restaurants remain open for grab-n-go food options.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) have closed the North and South terminal checkpoints.

Here are recent messages from other airports.

As with everything else in the world right now, situations are changing. So if you’re headed to an airport, check ahead.

And, on Wednesday morning, not long after an earthquake was reported near Salt Lake City, the airport tweeted this:

Dude, where’s my ride? Airports move Uber/Lyft away from curbside

At many airports, curbside pick-up is moving away from the curb.

On October 29, Los Angeles International joins the growing list of airports where curbside traffic has gotten so bad that taxis and ride-hailing services such as Uber to Lyft are no longer permitted to pick up at passengers at the curb.

“We have heard from our guests that the current system with ride pickups can be frustrating.” “said Keith Wilschetz, Deputy Executive Director for Operations and Emergency Management at Los Angeles World Airports, said in a statement

“Frustrating” is a polite way of describing how excruciating and time-consuming using a ride-app at LAX can be.

During peak times, app users now often spend upwards of 45 minutes to an hour between waiting for their ride to arrive curbside and sitting in traffic to get out of the Central Terminal Area.

“That’s if the drive doesn’t cancel on you,” said LAX spokesman Heath Montgomery.

At LAX, bad curbside traffic is about to get worse as the airport construction associated with terminal redevelopment and the new automated people mover begins.

“We will be losing more than 30% of our curb front, so doing nothing is not an option,” said Montgomery.

The solution at LAX is to move the pick-up area for both taxi and ride app users away from the terminal curbsides entirely to a new area, dubbed “LAX-it,” just east of Terminal 1.

Passengers will be able to walk to the new pick-up area from some of the terminals and a shuttle will pick-up passengers at all terminals in a dedicated lane on the lower/arrivals level lane.

LAX officials say getting from the airport to the pick-up lot should be no more than 15 minutes (from most terminals) and exiting the terminal should be faster because drivers no longer must battle backups in the Central Terminal Area.

Once it rolls out on October 29, the LAX-it system will no doubt need some tweaks.

For now, some passengers are worried the new system will be confusing and pick-up time will be no shorter than it is now. In a statement, Lyft said it looks forward to working with LAX on providing “the best possible pick-up and drop-off experience for all users,” but Uber outlined its long list of concerns with the plan in a letter to airport officials.

How do other airports tackle curbside congestion?  

Back in 2016, Seattle Tacoma International Airport worked with ride-app providers to move pick-ups inside the airport parking garage, adjacent to space set already aside for other commercial ground transportation operators.

“We have since made traffic flow process improvements,” said SEA spokeswoman Kate Hudson, “We’re lucky in Washington state that cars must have front and near license plates as it allows passengers to locate their vehicle from both angles.”

The Port of Seattle staffs the ride-app pick-up area and contracts for additional ambassadors during peak times. 

With a goal of diverting at least 45% of ride-hailing pick-up activity away from the terminal roadways, in summer 2018 San Francisco International Airport relocated pickups for Uber Pool, Express Pool and Lyft’s shared categories to the Domestic Parking Garage. And in March 2019, Uber X and Lyft offered their customers the option to be picked up in the Airport’s Domestic Hourly Garage at $3 less than the curbside rate.

“To date, these measures have only shifted about 21% of [ride-hailed] pickup activity off the terminal roadways, falling short of the 45% diversion rate,” said SFO spokesman Doug Yakel, so as of June 5, 2019 SFO relocated all domestic terminal pickups for ride-apps, including Uber, Lyft, and Wingz, from the curbside to the 5th floor of the Domestic Hourly Parking Garage.

In mid-November 2018, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) moved the pick-up area for all taxis and ride-app companies to the ground level of the airport’s Rental Car Facility.

“In the new space, dedicated taxi lanes are to the immediate left, while three ride share pick-up lanes are on the right,” said AUS spokesman Bryce Dubee, “The three ride share lanes are color-coded in blue, red and yellow with corresponding numbers 1-4 so that both passengers and drivers have a specific spot to meet up.”

The overall walking distance is about 750 feet, so before the switch was made the airport purchase four ADA-compliant 12-passenger electric shuttles to provide transport between lower-level locations and also leased an electric autonomous vehicle to transport passengers on the upper level of the garage.

Looking ahead, at the end of this month, Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) will move both pick-ups and drop-offs for app ride passengers to new dedicated curb areas.

The new areas – conveniently located in the Central Parking – will be protected from the weather, brightly lit, and connected to all terminals via moving walkways,” said BOS spokeswoman Samantha Decker. “The new areas will also provide all the services passengers expect, including luggage carts, wheelchair services, and bag check service.”

(My story about airports relocating pick-up spots for Uber, Lyft, Wingz and taxis first appeared on USA TODAY)

How to cut the checkpoint line at Boston Logan AIrport

Want to skip to the front of the airport security checkpoint line?

We all do.

To get the courtesy, you can pay for TSA Pre-Check. You could pay for a CLEAR membership.

Or, if you’re flying out of Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), you could take a boat to the airport.

Boat service has been offered for quite a while. But in a new program, passengers who take water transportation to Boston Logan International Airport will now get complimentary priority access at the airport security line.

Under the plan, passengers who take the MBTA ferry or water taxi service to the Logan Airport Boat Dock (Fare: $15) will get a “Ticket to Skip” pass when they get off the boats and board the free Logan Airport shuttle to the terminals.

The orange ticket can then be presented to security checkpoint staff in exchange for preferred lane access.

In good weather, taking the water taxi from Boston waterfront is a great adventure and can be quite convenient.

The small boats leave from Long Wharf, which is right by the New England Aquarium, the North End, Faneuil Hall and other popular Boston landmarks you might be visiting on your way out of town anyway.

So the ride to the airport can be part of your vacation.

Find more information about getting to and from Boston Logan International Airport (Bos).