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How to Get To JFK Airport

JFK Airport was built in 1943 to deal with the overcrowded LaGuardia Airport and has always been a difficult airport to get in and out of

Here are the best ways to get to JFK Airport

  • - JFK AirTrain - Free travel inside the airport and access to the subway.
  • - Buses - The kindest option for your wallet. 
  • - Taxis - Convenient and always available. 
  • - Ride-sharing apps - Pick up's from home. 
  • - Airport shuttles - Reliable and group-friendly.  
  • - Private hire cars - Comfortable and hassle-free. 
  • - Driving there - Park your car or drop off your hire car. 
  • - Limousines - Those who travel in style.
  • - Helicopters - Your helicopter is waiting, Mr Bond. 

Pack the bags, wrap up the best NYC layover ever, double check your flight, and choose the best option for reaching JFK Airport on time. Check how long it takes to get out of JFK Airport on the way back, or see these hilarious JFK Airport memes. Don't forget to read our guide to flying with pets if you're taking your goodboy or meow machine with you on this trip. 

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  • JFK AirTrain

    a simplified map of JFK airport showing the AirTrain travel route in different colors

    The JFK AirTrain is an easy and cheap option for getting to the airport. Passengers should catch the subway to Jamaica Station or Howard Beach Station, and board the AirTrain from these stations. A one-way ticket to JFK costs $5, and subway tickets cost $2.75. 

    The only way to pay for the AirTrain is with a MetroCard, so make sure to buy one and top it up before boarding the AirTrain. MetroCards are available for purchase at subway station booths, MetroCard vending machines and in convenience stores around the city. Use this MTA MetroCard Merchant Locator to find the nearest vendor. 

    It should take 15-20 minutes to arrive at JFK from Jamaica Station. Passengers can reach Jamaica Station via the E, Z and J subway lines (click on each letter for it's timetable). Passengers in Queens, Brooklyn or Manhattan can take these lines to get to the airport. Once inside Jamaica Station, disembark from the subway and board the AirTrain. There will be signs. 

    Passengers nearer to the E line (click for timetable) should go to Howard Beach Station and change to the AirTrain. It will take 30 minutes to get to the Airport from there. Google Maps, Waze and Citymapper are all useful apps that can help with figuring out the best route. Remember that a subway ticket in New York costs you $2.75, so a full journey will be $7.75. 

    Once at JFK, the AirTrain makes a loop around the airport for free, giving passengers access to every terminal.


  • Bus

    a blue and white bus drives through the streets in New York City

    Catching a bus is the cheapest way to get to the airport. A one-way bus ticket costs $2.75. Passengers can catch the following bus lines to get to the airport: Q3, Q6, Q7, Q10, Q10 LTD and B15 (click on each line for its MTA timetable). These buses run through Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. Most of these lines run for 24 hours, but have a look at the JFK Airport website to see their exact times of operation. During business hours, the buses arrive every 15 minutes or so, however this becomes every 60 minutes during late night and early morning.

    After arriving at JFK Airport, all buses stop at Terminal 5 (here is JFK's map of Terminal 5 just in case). If passengers need to travel to other terminals in the airport, they can catch the AirTrain. It stops at every terminal in the airport and traveling throughout the airport is free. 

    To get to the bus lines above, the following websites are useful for route-planning: Google Maps, Waze, MTA Trip Planner and Moovit.


  • Taxi, Uber, Lyft and Via

    the exterior of a black SUV Uber showing the driver through the window, a man with his head turned away, and a sign saying 'Uber' in the window
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    Taking a taxi or using a ride-sharing app is fast and convenient way to get to JFK Airport. There are a few ways to order a taxi in New York, and there are countless taxi companies. To be safe, book a taxi with NYC Yellow Cabs, which are authorized and trustworthy. Call them on 1-855-657-8294 or reserve a taxi on their website. 

    The flat rate to JFK costs $52, not including tolls, tips and times outside working hours. JFK's website has a list of estimated prices to JFK from different parts of NYC. Before leaving the taxi, remember to tip the driver. It is expected to tip around 10% to 20% of the fare price, but often the taxi driver will calculate the tip. TripSavvy has a great article explaining the nuances of tipping in New York City

    The procedure for taking an Uber or ride-sharing app to the airport is simple. Passengers should make an Uber account and download the app onto their phone (first-time users get $5 off their first ride). From here, passengers are required to provide their current location and desired destination, and choose a vehicle type and service. Once the car has been selected, passengers can track their car on the app. Tips aren't necessary when using ride-sharing apps, as the payment will happen automatically through the app. 

    Drivers usually take 5-10 minutes to arrive, although arrival times can change depending on the traffic. The Uber website offers an option to estimate the cost of a journey. Going to JFK from Manhattan in a carpooling car will cost around $60, and the other car prices go up from here. 

    Lyft and Via are ride-sharing apps very similar to Uber, so downloading and using them is exactly the same. Their prices are almost identical, so it's up to the passenger to choose which one is best. Uber, Lyft and Via can drop passengers off at the terminal they are departing from. 


  • Airport Shuttles and Private Cars

    a white Go AirLink NYC van parks in the middle of a street with high rise buildings seen behind it
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    Airport shuttle buses and private cars offer more comfort and responsibility than taxis and ride-sharing apps, and are preferred by many. These services must be booked in advance via the company's telephone or website. JFK's website has a list of authorized companies to choose from, most of which require the passenger to enter their pickup location or choose from a selection of stops where the shuttle bus can be boarded throughout NYC. Each company has a range of vehicles to choose from, from a shared van to private passenger vans that can seat 14 people. 

    Go AirLink NYC is a well-reputed company and provides estimated costs for journeys from NYC to JFK Airport (which can be found on their website). For example, a single one-way ride from Manhattan to JFK in a shared van (one piece of luggage and one piece of hand luggage is allowed) will cost $20. A private 11 person passenger van costs $195, and a private 14 person passenger van costs $220. These vehicles will drop passengers directly to the terminal they are departing from and drivers will load and unload the their passenger's luggage. 


  • Drive There

    a blurred map of JFK airport with blue and green marks showing the different parking lots and terminals
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    There are many options for parking a car at JFK Airport if passengers prefer to drive there. On the JFK website, passengers can book Premium Reserved Parking, which allows drivers choose the terminal, a location in the parking lot, and the amount of time they'll be there. Parking is available outside every terminal, and they're all priced similarly, so it's best to choose the terminal closest to the terminal of departure. 

    For an example of parking prices, to park for five days in a JFK car park costs $175 to $195 (depending on what terminal you're parking in). The JFK website has a live chart that shows how full each terminal parking lot is, which is updated in real-time. To get to these parking lots, drivers should make their way to JFK Airport (the website provides directions) and follow the signs for the correct terminal. 

    JFK also has the Long-Term Lot 9/Economy Lot, which is quite a lot cheaper than the terminal parking lots ($90 for 5 days or $18 per day), although it is around four miles away from the airport. Passengers can get to the airport via a free shuttle bus that operates between the parking lot and airport every few minutes, or they can walk to the nearest AirTrain station. If passengers board at Lefferts Boulevard, the ride to the airport is free. However, if boarding at Howards Beach, they'll have to pay $5 using a MetroCard. 

    There are also off-site parking lots that are not affiliated with JFK. They end up being around $9 per day, and passengers can make a reservation through Spot Hero. According to the website, there are nine parking lots near JFK, and each of them has shuttle buses which go to the airport every 5 to 10 minutes. These parking lots are rated by customers, so customers can have some confidence in knowing what to expect. 

    For those not local to New York, downloading a navigation app such as Google Maps, Waze or Maps.me is helpful when driving to JFK Airpoty. Before driving there, travelers should check the estimated driving time to make sure they don't get caught in unexpected traffic (which should always be expected in New York City). 

    Travelers can also drop off their rental cars at JFK. Enterprise and National are the highest rated car rental websites on Google, and both drop-off areas are located near the Federal Circle AirTrain Station. After following the driving directions for the drop-off area, passengers can take the AirTrain to the terminal of their flight departure for free. The rental car website will provide information about where to drop off the car, which times to drop them off, and directions to the drop-off area from New York. 


  • Take a Limousine or Helicopter

    a red helicopter with blurred propellers flying over new york with skyscrapers in the background
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    Via Viator

    For customers who prefer to travel in luxury, limousine and helicopter services are readily available for hire, and this small enjoyment won't break the bank. 

    JFK Airport's website recommends Connecticut Limo as an authorized limousine service, and US Limo and Taxi and NY City Limo are the highest rated New York limousine hire companies on Google. The prices range from around $150 upwards, and there are many luxury vehicles including limousines, sports cars, SUVs and luxury vans that customers can choose from. 

    While JFK Airport doesn't recommend any helicopter companies, Helicopter Charter NYC and New York Helicopter are highly rated on Google. Helicopter airport transfers can cost from $200 to $1800 one-way, and take around 8 to 12 minutes. This is a great option for someone who doesn't have enough time to sit in traffic.  

    It is recommended to book a reservation flight or lift to JFK Airport in advance. Passengers can do this via the company's website or over the phone. Limousines will be able to drop customers off at the terminal of their departure, and helicopters will have to land on a helipad, but passengers will have plenty of time to get to their departure gate with the hours they saved by flying over the traffic. 


  • Still Not Sure?

    a screenshot of the Google Maps view of new york city
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    Via The Verge

    Still having trouble? Here are some links that might help. 

    Google Maps

    Uber

    Citymapper

    Waze 

    WebTrak Flight Tracker

    Map of New York

    Map of JFK Airport and Terminals


    Phone numbers:

    JFK Airport General Contact Information: (718) 244-4444

    JFK Airport automated options: (718) 244-4168 / 4266

    JFK Airport General Parking Inquiries: (347) 238-3231 

    All Airport Information - (718) 244-4444

    Parking Customer Service Manager (during business hours): (888) 250-8277         

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