The best airport for your New England trip is not always the most obvious. Logan International Airport in Boston—New England's largest and busiest airport—has the most flight options available, but this big city airport is also the region's most hectic and tricky to navigate. Because this six-state region is so compact, it is often smart to consider alternative airports. If you're willing to travel a little farther than the closest airport to your destination, you may find significantly better airfare deals. You'll also appreciate how easy it is to drive to and park at smaller city airports like Hartford's Bradley International Airport or Providence's Green Airport.
Keep in mind that beloved summer vacation destinations such as Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard have their own airports, and flying may be worth the investment, particularly if you have limited vacation time and don't want to waste it sitting on a ferry or in traffic.
- Location: Boston, MA
- Best If: You're flying internationally.
- Avoid If: You're intimidated by city driving or using public transportation.
- Distance to Copley Square: A 10-minute taxi ride will cost about $30. You can take multiple forms of public transportation to reach downtown Boston from Logan, ranging from the subway to a water taxi. The cheapest method is taking the free Silver Line bus to South Station, which takes between 15 and 20 minutes, depending on your arrival terminal.
Some 41 million people (as of 2018) catch flights in and out of Boston Logan International Airport each year, making it New England's largest and busiest airport. If you're flying to or from abroad, there's a good chance you'll be passing through Logan, as the airport has nonstop flights to destinations across the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. But it's also a reliable domestic airport—it's a hub for Delta and Cape Air and a focus city for JetBlue. That said, as the busiest airport in the region, it's also the most crowded, so the lines can get quite long at security and customs. The pro is that there are plentiful options for traveling between downtown Boston and Logan, located in the East Boston neighborhood, via both public and private transportation. This alleviates some of the hassle of getting to and from the airport.
- Location: Windsor Locks, CT
- Best If: You're bound for or departing from southern New England.
- Avoid If: You won't be renting a car when you arrive.
- Distance to Hartford: A 20-minute taxi will cost about $45. A better option is the Bradley Flyer, an express bus to the capital city that takes 30 minutes and costs $1.75.
Bradley International Airport primarily serves customers from throughout Connecticut and western Massachusetts. Bradley is southern New England's busiest airport and is second only to Logan in the region for the number of passengers it serves each year—that number was seven million in 2018. The airport offers nonstop flights to 24 cities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, plus Cancun (seasonal), Dublin, Montreal, and Toronto. The airport is located roughly equal distance from Hartford, Connecticut, and Springfield, Massachusetts. Boston is just about two hours away by car, and New York City is two hours and 30 minutes away. Driving to or from Bradley and parking at the airport is a breeze compared to navigating Boston Logan International Airport.
- Location: Manchester, NH
- Best If: You are traveling to Greater Boston but prefer the convenience of a smaller airport.
- Avoid If: You expect a variety of flight options or are flying internationally.
- Distance to Downtown Manchester: A 15-minute taxi will cost about $20. A 30-minute public bus ride will cost $2.
Manchester-Boston Regional Airport is located in Manchester, New Hampshire, about 50 miles northwest of Boston. It primarily serves customers in New Hampshire and Maine, although Bostonians who find a good deal will fly out of here, too, and you'd be smart to check inbound options, especially if you're hoping to avoid Logan Airport's crowds. In 2018, the airport served just under two million passengers: The count has been declining for the last 13 years from its peak of 4.33 million passengers. New Hampshire's airport has routes to just a handful of U.S. cities, primarily the hubs of its four airlines: American, Southwest, and United.
- Location: Warwick, RI (near Providence)
- Best If: You're flying internationally but want to avoid Boston Logan or you're vacationing in Rhode Island.
- Avoid If: You're flying in or out on the day of a Patriots home game.
- Distance to Downtown Providence: A 15-minute cab will cost about $20. A 30-minute train ride on the MBTA commuter rail will cost around $3. From Providence, you can take the commuter rail on to Boston for an additional $11.50.
Rhode Island's Green Airport (formerly T.F. Green) is the best alternative airport to Boston Logan, offering a handful of nonstop international flights (Canada, Dominican Republic, and Ireland) and domestic ones to about two dozen U.S. cities. As a smaller airport (with 4.3 million passengers traveled through here in 2018), you'll hardly ever find long security wait times. Capital city Providence is an easy MBTA train or RIPTA bus trip away. And this is the closest airport to Foxwoods if you're visiting New England's largest casino.
NFL fans take note: Green Airport is the official airport of the New England Patriots, and on home game days, special event trains leave right from the airport for Gillette Stadium. Want to fly away to catch the Patriots at an away game? Green Airport makes that easy, too. Just be aware that you might run into larger crowds on game days, whether you're coming in or flying out.
- Location: South Burlington, VT
- Best If: You're flying to or from Vermont, New Hampshire, or upstate New York.
- Avoid If: You're looking for nonstop flights to or from non-hub cities.
- Distance to Downtown Burlington: A 15-minute taxi should cost less than $20. You can also take a Green Mountain Transit bus, which takes just over a half-hour and costs $1.50 ($0.75 for kids ages 6 to 17, seniors age 60 and over, persons with disabilities and anyone with a Medicare card).
Burlington International Airport served just under 580,000 passengers in 2017, and that number has soared by more than 100,000 in the most recent fiscal year due to the addition of Frontier Airlines and expanded flight service to destinations like Denver. Still, Vermont's premier airport is one of the easiest airports to get through in New England. Nonstop routes within the U.S. are focused on the East Coast and the Midwest. The airlines that fly here are American, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Porter, and United.
- Location: Portland, ME
- Best If: You're flying to Portland for business or plan to sightsee in Maine and northern New Hampshire.
- Avoid If: You're able to fly non-stop for less into Manchester-Boston or Boston Logan.
- Distance to Downtown Portland: A 10-minute taxi should cost less than $20. A 25-minute Greater Portland Metro bus ride will cost $1.50.
Portland International Jetport is Maine's largest airport and an incredible success story. What began as a private airstrip for one aviation enthusiast has become a major transportation center with nearly 90 inbound and outbound commercial flights daily. A word of caution: When researching flights, be sure you don't confuse this airport with Portland International Airport (PDX) in Portland, Oregon. With more than two million passengers flying through the Jetport annually, you'll run into crowds at peak times but still enjoy a relatively hassle-free travel experience. American, Delta, Elite, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, and United fly to Portland nonstop from a number of East Coast and Midwest cities.
- Location: Bangor, ME
- Best If: You're traveling to central or northern Maine.
- Avoid If: You want diverse flight options.
- Distance to Downtown Bangor: A 10-minute cab will cost about $15. Your public transportation option is the Community Connector bus, which makes frequent airport stops and costs $1.50 (exact fare required).
Bangor International Airport is less crowded than PWM—it only serves a quarter of the passengers, with around 600,000 traveling through in 2017. That does mean, however, there are limited direct flights, primarily to cities along the East Coast, plus Chicago (seasonally).
Boston Herald. "Logan Airport's 50-million passenger estimate comes under fire." Published Nov. 29, 20219. Retrieved Jan 7, 2021.
Bradley Airport. "Bradley International Airport Marks Six Years of Consecutive Passenger Growth." Retrieved Jan 7, 2021.
Union Leader. "Manchester's airport loses altitude in passenger numbers." Retrieved Jan 7, 2021.
PVD Airport. "Green Airport | Passenger Numbers | PVD Rhode Island." Retrieved Jan 7, 2021.
VT Digger. "Burlington International Airport announces increased passengers, reminds travelers to arrive two hours early." Published May 23, 2019. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
Portland Jetport. "History | Portland International Jetport." Retrieved Jan 7, 2021.
WABI TV. "2019 was a record breaking year for Bangor International Airport." Retrieved Jan 7, 2021.