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By Katy Nastro | VIDEO BY SAM CRIMMINS
As an avid business and leisure traveler, I’m constantly on my way to and from airports. The option to travel out of a smaller, less crowded airport is always my preference because they are a breeze in terms of travel to-dos like getting your boarding pass and getting through security. One of my favorite small airports is T. F. Green Airport outside of Providence, Rhode Island. Voted one of the top five best U.S. airports in 2020 by USA Today, Condé Nast Traveler, and Travel + Leisure, T. F. Green consistently delivers on flight options, accessibility, and now in the midst of COVID-19 CDC and EPA approved sanitizing efforts are a top priority as well.
I also travel out of Logan quite often because of its proximity to Boston. So I wanted to create a bit of an experiment: Which airport really offers a quicker, more seamless experience from car to curb? To do this, I chose a spot on the map that sits halfway between Boston Logan and T. F. Green Airport and did a time trial to see which airport provides faster travel time and overall less hassle.
Timer starts … now!
11 a.m.I hit the timer on my phone, pull away from Foxborough (home to a certain football team), and start driving south. As I get on the highway, I immediately notice I am heading away from traffic jams on I-95. Between my Spotify playlist and some scenic views along the route to Rhode Island, the drive is actually kind of fun.
11:26 a.m.The timer is just shy of 30 minutes, and that felt like no time at all. I drive into the main entrance and have a clear direction of which parking lot to enter. Finding the parking garage at T. F. Green might be even easier than the drive! To leave my car in the short term parking garage would have cost only $17 per day. And a friendly employee in the parking area informs me that you can save even more on parking if you’re frequent visitors through T. F. Green’s frequent parker program.
11:29 a.m.Walking from the car to the entrance takes all of a few minutes. I stop my timer: 29 minutes.
11:36 a.m.I step inside the bottom floor of the airport and notice the beautiful sailboat and a friendly gentleman sitting at the information desk. He offers me a PVD Cares Kit before pointing me up the escalator to security. I take a look inside the kit and am pleasantly surprised by the personal hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, extra face mask, and a small note thanking me for choosing to fly out of T. F. Green Airport—how thoughtful!
11:40 a.m.I head up the escalator and right into security. I am slightly shocked by how breezy and quick-moving the line is. Usually, no matter the time or day, there is always a daunting line through security in most airports.
11:50 a.m.Thorough, yet bearable, I get through the security line. The TSA checkpoint being painless means I now have ample time to explore the airport.
First things first, I always hit the bathroom before any flight. On my way I take notice of two things: tons of hand sanitizing stations (good to know), and nursing rooms for traveling moms (SO nice to see). Two small offerings, but they say a lot!
11:55 a.m.T. F. Green Airport is definitely a great walking airport since they feature plenty of art throughout the main terminal. The photographs of various beautiful landmarks in Rhode Island almost make me question why anyone travels elsewhere. The other beautiful thing I notice: ample coffee options. My other ‘must-do’ before flying. Dunkin Donuts here I come.
Everything feels pretty safe and normal walking around. But there are a few things I’ve noticed missing because of COVID-19 safety precautions: First and foremost, I am missing the PVD pups! The program isn’t running right now due to social distancing guidelines, but normally there are therapy dogs walking around to interact with to lower travel stress before flights. It is truly the best.
Similarly, I usually love stopping at the Escape Lounge as a place to unwind and use high-speed WiFi for catching up on work before flights, but it’s closed right now. Sacrifices must be made for safety!
12:10 p.m.With all the time exploring the airport, I follow my nose to Wolfgang Puck Express for a pizza. There are definitely food options in my terminal, but seeing a brick oven firing off bubbly pizzas is no contest for me. Pizza margherita and glass of red—now that’s a pre-flight meal! I can’t remember the last time I was able to sit and enjoy food at an airport. Usually, I warp speed to the gate after waiting in security for so long. It’s a nice change of pace.
2 p.m.The timer is set for drive number two. Once again, I pull away from Foxborough. I head North on 1-95 and its already clear the pace is slower.
2:12 p.m.Well, less than fifteen minutes in and I have officially come to a stop and go pace. I did have a feeling this would happen … ugh.
2:45 p.m.About 45 minutes have passed and I am still not there! Getting through Boston traffic is definitely the Achilles heel of this trip. It always takes a bit longer than expected. I should’ve known to make a longer playlist.
3:07 p.m.I pull into the Boston Logan airport compound, but to be honest, I am stressed and slightly confused by which parking lot and level I should be on. Timer is still running…
3:11 p.m.Finally parked, but pretty sure I am in the wrong lot. Whoops. At this point, it has been about 70 minutes, so I can officially declare T. F. Green Airport the winner of the time trial! I can see why T. F. Green Airport is the official airport of the New England Patriots, who probably also leave from Foxborough often.
So essentially my little experiment proved the following: Flying out of a smaller domestic airport like T. F. Green is a great way to start a trip. It took 29 minutes to get there, compared to over an hour to get to Logan due to the difference in traffic. There was less stress and more time to get into that traveling state of mind that make trips so fun. If you’re considering traveling in the near future, check out T. F. Green Airport for a list of flight options and see for yourself why I love this airport so much.
Traveling really is about both the destination and the journey, so make sure your journey is one you won’t regret.