Massport, Transportation Agencies Ready for Busy Thanksgiving Travel Period

Plan ahead, give yourself extra time and know your transportation options were the key messages today as the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), and a representative from AAA spoke at Boston Logan International Airport about what to expect this holiday travel season. Thanksgiving represents one of the nation’s busiest travel periods, and both organizations offered ways to ease travel frustration, whether driving, using public transportation or flying for the holiday. The roads and skies are expected to be crowded in the days leading up to and after Thanksgiving, with air travel increasing as early as this Friday, November 22nd. Close to 1 million people will travel in and out of Logan between this Friday and Tuesday, December 3rd.

 “We want to do everything we can to make travel as stress-free as possible for everyone flying in and out of Logan Airport this holiday season,” said Massport CEO Lisa Wieland. “This week is the start of the busiest time of year at Logan and we will have extra staff on hand to help passengers, but we encourage everyone to plan ahead to help ensure a smooth holiday travel experience.”

AAA is predicting more than 55 million travelers nationwide are making plans to kick off the holiday season with a trip of 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving. This will be the second-highest Thanksgiving travel volume since AAA began tracking in 2000, trailing only the record set in 2005. Nearly 5 million of those people will fly. With 4.6% growth, air travel will see the biggest increase in travel volume during the Thanksgiving holiday in the areas they look at. Locally, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, during 4:30-6:30 p.m., is expected to be the worst driving time. AAA recommends drivers leave earlier or much later, and use travel websites and apps to plan your trip.

No matter your destination this holiday season, there are several apps and websites to help travelers decide what transportation options are available and how long the trip should take. We recommend using the MBTA’s Trip Planner website and MassDOT’s Go Time app. The Massport website has information about all the travel options to and from Logan. As always, Massport encourages travelers to check with their airlines before heading to the airport for the most updated flight status and travel information.

For those driving for the holiday, the Commonwealth’s roadways are expected to be very busy during the Thanksgiving travel period. If you plan on driving, consider traveling at off-peak hours such as early mornings or late evenings after 9 p.m. Traffic volumes will progressively increase throughout next Tuesday and Wednesday, as well as that Saturday and Sunday as travelers are returning home. Plan ahead and make informed choices by utilizing real-time technology tools like 511 or MassDOT’s GoTime app to view live traffic conditions to find the best route and timing of travel.

Free coffee will be served at the 18 MassDOT service plazas Thanksgiving night, from 10 p.m. through 5 a.m. on Friday, including both northbound and southbound plazas. The High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane on I-93 between Boston and Quincy will have extended afternoon hours the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving, closed on Thanksgiving Day and will have normal hours on Friday. 

At Logan, parking is expected to be near capacity during the Thanksgiving travel period and passengers are urged to use any of the multiple options for public transportation to get to the airport and their final destinations. Both the Blue and Silver MBTA lines serve the airport, as well as Logan Express, private buses, limos and taxis. Water transportation is also available by MBTA ferry and water taxi companies providing on-call service to points throughout downtown Boston from the Logan dock. Passengers who take water transportation to Logan get a Ticket to Skip to the head of the security checkpoint line.

For anyone choosing to use Ride App services (Uber and Lyft) to get to or from Logan, pickups for all terminals are now located at ground floor of Central Parking and signage will guide you to the location. All Ride App dropoffs between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m. have moved to the lower level terminal curbs.

For those taking Logan Express, the fare on the Back Bay service was recently reduced to $3 to Logan, and free from Logan to downtown. Back Bay riders will also a Ticket to Skip to the head of the security checkpoint line when they arrive at the airport. Logan Express also serves four suburban locations – Framingham, Braintree, Peabody and Woburn. With the exception of Back Bay, an adult fare is just $12 one-way and $22 round trip, and parking is $7 a day. Children (17 and under) ride free when traveling with their family.

For travelers using the MBTA to get to and from Logan Airport, Massport provides free shuttle service to and from all terminals, the rental car center and the Blue Line’s Airport Station. Additional Silver Line 1 service will be offered during Thanksgiving week. As always, outbound service from Logan Airport to the South Boston Seaport District and South Station is free. MBTA water ferries will be running on a holiday schedule on Wednesday, November 27. Several additional trips will be run mid-day, and several evening trips will be cancelled. There is no MBTA ferry service or water taxi service on Thanksgiving Day. Please visit MBTA.com for schedule information, as some services will be on holiday schedules on certain days.

For those traveling internationally for the holiday season, our partners at CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) would like to remind travelers to declare all goods, foods and gifts. Familiarize yourself with Automated Passport Control (APC) and Mobile Passport Control – two programs that make the entry process more efficient, intuitive and paperless for travelers. Learn which option works best for you and speed your entry into the United States. At Logan Airport, U.S. citizens and Canadian visitors can submit their passport information and answers to inspection-related questions to CBP via a smartphone or tablet app prior to arrival.

Travel tips from the different agencies include:

General Travel Tips for the Holiday:

· When possible, use public transportation instead of driving;

· Visit MBTA.com for updated schedule information, as some services will be on holiday schedules on certain days;

· If you do drive, download MassDOT’s Go Time travel app, visit www.Mass511.com or call 511, for the latest updates on travel conditions, and traffic information;

· Try to drive during off peak hours, keep alert and stay awake. Free coffee will be served at the 18 MassDOT service plazas Thanksgiving night, from 10 p.m. through 5 a.m. the next day.

 Travel Tips for Logan

· Parking is expected to be near or at capacity, take public transportation or HOV options when possible;

· Visit the Massport website for information on all the travel options to and from Logan Airport;

· Always check your airline flight status before leaving for the airport;

· Allow extra time to get to the airport, check in and get through security;

· TSA suggests getting to the airport 2 hours early for a domestic flight and 3 for international;

· Don’t forget the leftovers – turkey and stuffing are fine, but all liquids you pack must be 3.4 ounces (100 ml) or less;

· If you have any questions about what is prohibited in your luggage, go to www.tsa.gov or tweet your question to @AskTSA;

· Sign up for text alerts or go to LoganForward.com for the latest construction updates and to sign up for email alerts.

 Be sure to follow our partner agencies on Twitter @BostonLogan, @MassDOT, @MBTA, and @TSA and @CBP.

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