Boston is one of the key entry points into the United States in the eastern seaboard, and its main Logan Airport is a major hub for both domestic and international travel.
Its waterfront location with the city skyline as a backdrop makes Boston Logan one of the most scenic of all America’s big airports, and there are a number of opportunities for plane spotting in and around the airport.
Airport Location and Layout
As mentioned, Boston Logan is located close to downtown on a peninsula in the bay.
It is easy to reach via the usual options (shuttles, taxis, car etc), but the easiest is the MBTA metro system which has a station at the airport and links you quickly to other points in the city.
Boston Logan Airport has four main runways in a crossing pattern, and two smaller runways.
There are four terminals together at the western side, closest to the city. Cargo and executive aircraft use ramps on either side of the terminal.
The terminals are:
- Terminal A – Delta Air Lines
- Terminal B – Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Boutique Air, Southwest, Spirit, United Airlines
- Terminal C – Aer Lingus, Cape Air, JetBlue, TAP Air Portugal
- Terminal E – Other International Carriers
Boston Logan Highlights
As well as being an important entry point from the Atlantic, with the likes of Aer Lingus, Air Azores, British Airways, Lufthansa and TAP Air Portugal offering plenty of flights, Boston Logan is also an important hub for carriers like American Airlines, Cape Air and JetBlue.
Cape Air is an interesting one, as it operates primarily smaller commuter aircraft on essential air services throughout New England.
Cargo operators are also prevalent at Boston, with FedEx and UPS making multiple daily flights.
Boston Spotting Locations
These are the best places for plane spotting at Boston Logan Airport. If you know of any others, please leave a comment below!
- Constitution Beach
If the weather is right, then sitting on this beach watching aircraft is excellent. It is a great spot for arrivals on runways 22L/R, or departures from 04L/R. From I-90 heading away from the terminals (north), take the first exit onto Bennington St. After half a mile, turn right onto Wordsworth St. and follow to the end. There is parking at the beach. You can also reach this spot via the Metro’s Blue Line by alighting at Orient Heights and then walking south along Barnes Ave.
- Parking Garages
The Central Parking and Terminal B parking garages have good views over traffic on the ground, and traffic on runway 15L/33R. The local police are known to move spotters on from here, so it is best to advise them if you intend to hang around. At the very least be compliant.
- Castle Island
To the south of the airport is Castle Island, and Fort Independence, which is a tourist attraction. The area has a family park, boardwalk and beach. It is also under the approach path to runways 04L/R. There is free parking here. To reach the spot, take I-90 south (through the tunnel). Take exit as you exit the tunnel and turn left onto Haul Rd, then right to reach Summer St. Follow this to 1st St and turn left. This turns into Shore Rd just before the beach and parking.
Boston Spotting Hotels
These are the hotels at Boston Logan which are good for plane spotting.
Hilton Boston Logan
One Hotel Drive, Boston, MA 02128 | +1 617 568 6700 | www.hilton.com
The closest hotel to the terminal, and connected via a bridge. High rooms look out over most aircraft movements if you request an airport-facing room. Can be expensive.
Hyatt Boston Harbor
101 Harborside Drive, Boston, MA 02128 | +1 617 568 1234 | www.hyatt.com
This tall hotel is very close to runway 14 and the cargo ramp. Its airport-facing rooms look over many of the gates, and a good pair of binoculars will catch many of the movements. Again, can be expensive.
Other Boston Airports
Boston, unlike most other US cities, does not have many other airports in its vicinity. The following are of note:
Boston Harbor Seaplane Base
Situated just across the water at the southwestern end of Logan Airport is the seaplane base. It is at Marina Park Drive and utilises the adjacent waterways as runways.
The seaplane base is used by Tailwind Air to fly regular services to Manhattan, New York.
Located in Bedford, around 14 miles west of Boston, Hanscom Field is a general aviation airport with daily cargo services by AirNet, and seasonal passenger services with Southern Airways Express.
It is also home to Hanscom Air Force Base, and is a busy hub for biz jets and flying training.
A drive along Virginia Road may offer some views of the parking ramps and runways.
No airline service, but this two-runway airport north Boston is a busy general aviation hub. Most aircraft on the ground can be read off from the airport access road and on-site diner.
Norwood Memorial Airport
Located at Norwood, to the south of Boston’s suburbs, this is a small general aviation airport with a good number of based light aircraft. It also sees some passenger services to Nantucket.
There are some views alongside the terminal over the ramps and one of the runways.
Airport Spotting Guides USA
For a comprehensive guide to spotting at over 430 airports across all 50 US states, get our book Airport Spotting Guides USA (now in its second edition).
Thie compact book includes maps, descriptions of spotting locations, hotels, museums and details about what you’ll see at each airport.