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It’s day four of TPG Intern Kevin Song‘s week-long Admirals Club tour, with the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard, and he’s visiting one of his favorite cities in the United States and where he went to high school, Boston.
Boston Logan International Airport is on the smaller side compared to other major international airports. Conveniently situated across Boston Harbor, it’s just minutes away from downtown. I went to boarding school just a bit north of Boston, so it’s one of my favorite cities to visit. The airport is comprised of four terminals: A, B, C and E. All American Airlines and US Airways flights operate out of terminal B.
There are two Admirals Clubs here, one by gate B4 serving US Airways and the other by gate B30 serving American Airlines. It doesn’t sound like it’s too far, but unfortunately it can be a bit of a hike since terminal B is U-shaped and you’ll need to go all the way around the U. Sandwiched between the two airlines are the United gates, including the new self-boarding gates.
Since the B4 location is a former US Airways Club, and the B30 location has always been an Admirals Club, they feel distinctly different. Both clubs are on the ground floor, and both offer tarmac views.
Unfortunately, you cannot travel between terminals airside at Boston Logan, so if you’re flying on something other than the airlines at terminal B (primarily American Airlines, United and US Airways), you’ll need to exit security and walk or take a shuttle to your departure terminal — definitely not convenient.
Boston Logan International Airport — B4
Before you even enter this club, there’s one strange quirk: The doors are locked. I tried to pull open the doors, which was a futile effort. After a few seconds, I saw a small, black, unmarked button that turned out to be a doorbell. I pressed it and was buzzed in. I haven’t the slightest clue why they insist on keeping the doors locked, and the lounge agent simply said that it’s the way things have always been. The entrance is set off from the main terminal area anyway, so I don’t think too many people would accidentally walk in, thinking their gate might be behind the wooden door.
When you first walk into the club, there’s the unmistakable feeling that it’s a former US Airways Club — the same gray chairs adorn the lounge. The lounge here is pretty large, and for the most part, all in one long curved open area. It feels airy and open, but at the same time, too conformist. Gray chairs. Everywhere.
Once again, I decided to test the agents up front with a simple flight change — I asked to be moved up to an earlier flight than the one I was destined to be on. And once again, without me asking, she put me directly into first class, as I’m an Executive Platinum elite, despite supposedly not being able to be on the upgrade list on an award ticket.
There are large, airy windows that offer a view of the A gates, but not the runways. While this lounge doesn’t feature any showers, it does have conference rooms and quite a few cubicles for getting some work done.
Oddly, this lounge is the first I’ve seen so far that offers packaged cookies that, to me, were overly sweet. Strange. The rest of the food spread is on par with other former US Airways Clubs.
Conference rooms are on offer here, but there’s little in the way of other amenities — no shower, no kids room, no real quiet room. While power outlets aren’t built into the chair-side tables like at most lounges, there were after-market outlets and USB ports installed at every table, like the ones you might find in a hotel. Unfortunately, most seats did not offer tables in the armrest or in front of you, and there weren’t really any seats facing the tarmac.
My biggest complaint about this lounge? When I visited, I was unable to get the Wi-Fi to connect at all, no matter how many times I tried. I was forced to use the public Wi-Fi offered by the airport. Shame. When I was able to connect later on, speeds weren’t fantastic, and it kept disconnecting every 10 minutes or so, even though the lounge wasn’t packed at all.
Boston Logan International Airport — B30
The view at the American Airlines side of the airport is much better — it overlooks the runways, so you can see planes arriving and departing.
Unlike the B4 lounge, this one is more partitioned, so while the lounge was smaller and seats were closer together than in the B4 lounge, it felt more private and peaceful. I appreciated the variety of seating areas, some comfortable lounge chairs, some by a small table, some overlooking the runways, some for dining and some around a communal table.
That’s one thing I definitely cannot say about any former US Airways Club that I’ve visited. In terms of amenities, this lounge features a quiet area, cubicles for working, conference rooms, a kids room and showers. Unfortunately, staff here aren’t able to help with any US Airways flight issues, so you’ll have to hike on over to the US Airways side of the terminal for that.
I chose to have breakfast here, and it was, for the first time on this week-long adventure, it was actually edible. The standard Admirals Club menu was on offer here, but many clubs offer a special that’s indicative of the location. In Boston, this club offered a $15.99 lobster roll, so that’s what I ordered. After all, why wouldn’t you get a lobster roll in Boston, even for breakfast?
After ordering, the food wasn’t simply just dumped onto a plate in front of me (or, in the case of Philadelphia’s B/C lounge, not on a plate at all), but rather, prepared in the back and brought out to where I was sitting. The bread was actually buttered and toasted, and the lobster, while not freshly plucked out of the ocean, wasn’t terrible. It certainly wasn’t the best lobster roll I’d ever had, but it was definitely edible.
Strangely, in contrast to the lounge across the terminal, the cookies here weren’t packaged. Unfortunately, also in contrast with the other lounge, the cups on offer for water and iced tea at B30 weren’t just plastic — they were the same plastic cups that you get in-flight in economy class, the pinnacle of luxury. Goes to show that former US Airways Clubs and former Admirals Clubs still operate separately.
After breakfast, I decided to take a shower, because why not? There are two shower rooms here, but I’ve got bad news to report. The design of the shower meant that the shower head was against the side wall, perpendicular with the room. As soon as you turn on the shower, unfortunately the water hits the curtain, falls down and floods the room floor with water since there’s no ridge to prevent water from spilling over. That certainly wasn’t thought out well. I’d avoid showering here unless it’s necessary, and be sure to keep your belongings off the floor (there’s a towel hamper that you can place a suitcase on top of).
Thankfully, the internet was relatively speedy and reliable. No complaints there.
I really appreciated the variety of seating options while here. Overall, while it’s certainly an older and smaller lounge than most, it was comfortable and the staff were friendly. I enjoyed my stay here, and would visit here again over the B4 lounge — as long as I didn’t need any flight assistance.
Outside the Lounge
At the suggestion of TPG Editor-in-Chief Zach Honig, I ventured outside of the lounges for once to see what I could get for lunch. No visit to Boston is complete without dining at Legal Sea Foods, so that’s exactly what I did. In the interest of fair comparison, I ordered another lobster roll — who wouldn’t want to have lobster all day anyway? Outside the lounge, it cost $28, so I was hoping for a significantly better meal.
I found the bread on the lobster roll to be well toasted and much more buttery than the one in the lounge. The star of the show, however, was comparable. I’d rate the lobster slightly fresher, but not worth the $12 price difference. And unfortunately, I found some small but unpleasant bits of cartilage and shell in my roll. All in all, while the presentation was certainly much nicer than the lobster roll in the Admirals Club, it was an overpriced and disappointing meal.
For once, I’d actually choose to dine inside the lounge, rather than outside. So thanks, B30 Admirals Club. You set yourself apart. Of note, the lobster roll was not on offer in the B4 lounge.
For the first time this trip, I was able to finish one of my meals at an Admirals Club. For that, I commend the B30 lounge. Boston’s got two acceptable options for Admirals Clubs, and while I prefer the B30 location, the one you will want to use will probably be dictated by the airline you’re flying, unless you’ve got a long layover — they’re just too far apart to casually saunter over.
Be sure to follow along as I continue my week-long Admirals Club visit with my last lounge visit tomorrow. If you’re looking for free access, the current Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard offer is hard to beat. While I won’t divulge my itinerary ahead of time, you can expect daily afternoon posts, and if you see me in an Admirals Club tomorrow, feel free to come up and say hi!
Based on TPG’s most recent valuations, the 50,000 miles are worth $700. In addition, you can earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) toward elite status after spending $40,000 in a calendar year. As of July 23, 2017 this is the only card that offers Admirals Club lounge access so if you are an AA flyer this card might make sense for you. Aside from lounge access the primary cardholder will receive a Global Entry application fee credit every 5 years, first checked bag free for up to 8 travel companions on domestic itineraries and a 25% discount on eligible in-flight purchases on American Airlines flights.
- Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
- Admirals Club® membership for you and guests with you*
- Complimentary Admirals Club® lounge access for authorized users
- Earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year*
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases*
- Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases*
- First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to eight companions traveling with you on the same reservation*