The Logan Express

I am now officially an expert on Logan Airport!

Just ask how to get to any of the terminals, or how to get out of there, and I will tell you, because I spent 30 minutes there yesterday circumnavigating the airport waiting for my sister-in-law to "deplane."

Mrs. Boston Crazy Driving's sister flew in yesterday, and I insisted on picking her up because it would be easiest for me to get there. I work north of the city and live south, so it would *more or less* be on the way home. I used a handy flight tracking Web site, flightview.com, which gave me her real-time location imposed over a map of the U.S., her approximate arrival time and interesting details like altitude and weather.

About 15 minutes before she was due to arrive, I hopped in the car and headed in on Route 93 South. I was at the airport in 11 minutes. I'm not joking. I used the Callahan (I think, because I can never which one goes to or from the airport) from 93. The old tunnel now almost seems primitive in compared to the Ted and the Tip. I suddenly realized I overestimated the time I would need to get there. I also used the airline's notification system to have a message sent to my cell phone when she landed (isn't technology wonderful?).

A bit of backstory: We rarely went to the airport when I was a kid. We went on plenty of vacations, but not many that involved flying anywhere. So, going into the airport, and using those amazing underwater tunnels was almost as exhilarating as going anywhere on a plane. It's more mundane now, but because of my limited experience with the airport I hadn't really learned the airport. It was always this nebulous place of snarled roads, and it never really seemed any different as an adult until yesterday. It is now much better planned than ever, though the signs could be a bit better, especially for people who don't wish to leave right away.

Back to yesterday: I circled Terminal B once to be sure she wasn't standing on the platform in case my cell phone didn't receive the message. It came in about five minutes later, and a minute before she called me to say she sat in the back and would be awhile "deplaning." This was on my second pass around the airport roadway. I went once through Terminal B just to kill time, and then started circling the airport roadway. Using my hands-free, I made a few calls to Mrs. Boston Crazy Driving her 'rents to say that I was just awaiting her arrival on the platform.

I ended up circling the airport about five more times, and I wasn't the only one doing it. There was a guy in a burgundy Mercedes going around with me a couple of times. I began to wonder if people actually do what I was doing, just circling until the person I was awaiting was ready for pickup.

As I was about to start my sixth circuit, my sister-in-law called to say she was about to step onto the platform. It was perfect timing. I wedged in at the curb between double parked commuter buses and we were soon off.

By now, some may be asking, why I didn't just park in short-term at Terminal B and wait. The fact is, I hate paying to park anywhere. I'm a cheap bastard.

Anyway, by having two of us in the car, we were able to use the HOV lane coming from the Ted. It was a great thing to be able to zip by all the traffic on the main stretch of the Southeast Distressway as it emerged from the Tip. But there was no joy in Muddville as our forward progress was stymied by a minivan. Yep. A minivan. Big surprise. The driver was going impossibly slow (about 25). We couldn't figure out why. It seemed like she was looking for an exit from the HOV lane. Or it could have been because she had a car full of kids that was packed to the gills with a bookcase strapped to the top.

Well, Mrs. Minivan putted along holding up a whole line of eager HOV-users (one of whom was stopped by a statie waiting at the exit for people who didn't have the minimum two passengers). We got onto the Distressway near South Bay and putted along with the rest of traffic, until I noticed drivers going around us and Mrs. Minivan. I did the same. You know why? Because she was doing 30 as the rest of the traffic around her was driving 40, and because there was a gap nearly a quarter mile long in the left lane.

We then took the HOV lane from Savin Hill to the Braintree split and continued heading south on 93 (and simultaneously north on 128). All told, it took us 35 minutes to go from airport to the 'burbs. At rush hour. Everyone was supremely impressed, not in me, but in the fact that it seems like maybe the Big Dig might have been worth it after all. Or, as my sister-in-law wryly pointed out, our traffic is getting better because everyone is leaving.


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