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This post can help you figure out which is the best choice of transport to and from NYC’s 3 main airports: JFK, Newark, and LaGuardia.
JFK AIRPORT – Traveling between JFK and Manhattan
John F. Kennedy Airport is the largest and busiest of all NYC-area airports. Located in Queens, about 15 miles (23 km) from Manhattan, it handles most international flight into the NYC area, so if you are traveling from overseas, this will likely be your destination!
You have several options to get from JFK Airport to Manhattan once you arrive.
AirTrain + Subway from JFK to Manhattan
This is by far the cheapest (and surprisingly easy) option to get from JFK to wherever you are staying. Using a combination of the light rail AirTrain to connect with the subway system is a very easy way to reach Manhattan.
You can use this link to Google Maps and enter your destination address to get exact directions from JFK Airport.
The AirTrain circles the airport every day of the year, 24 hours a day, and stops at every terminal in the airport as well as stops from which you can connect to the subway system.
After you arrive, follow the signs to the AirTrain. There are two AirTrain lines – be sure to get on the correct one that will take you to the stop you need.
Travel between airport terminals is free but to you must pay for the AirTrain to the stops that connect with the subway.
You will need a MetroCard to pay the AirTrain fare and also to ride the subway. MetroCard vending machines are available just before the AirTrain exits at Jamaica Station and Howard Beach.
Note: If you are buying a new MetroCard, there is a $1 fee for the card. Hold onto that card! It is refillable!
If speed is your priority then you can take the AirTrain and connect with the Long Island Railroad (LIRR), though it will cost you about twice as much as using the subway.
Again, in the airport follow the signs to the AirTrain and take the Jamaica Station line. There you can get on an LIRR train and go to Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan.
Keep in mind when calculating the total cost, that you will likely have to pay more for a subway, bus or taxi to where you are staying.
You can request GoAirLink and SuperShuttle from the ground transportation desk in the baggage claim area. You will be assigned to a van with other passengers (unless you are lucky) heading to the same general area as you.
You can also book online in advance.
Tip: If you are considering purchasing a tourist attraction pass, City Sightseeing has a pass that comes with a bonus free shuttle ride from your Manhattan hotel to JFK, LaGuardia or Newark Airport using GoAirLink.
It’s called the FreeStyle Pass Pick 7 and includes 3 days of hop-on-hop-off bus services, your choice of free entry to top attractions, a night tour a free ferry ride and much more.
They also offer single shuttle rides from all airports for as low as $18/adult with code save10.
Direct Bus from JFK to Manhattan
NYC Express Bus is the official bus operator for the NYC Department of Transportation. At JFK, you can find the bus at Terminals 1, 4 and 8. Look for the red signs.
Travelers arriving at other terminals, you can take the Air Train to Terminal 1, 4 or Terminal 8 to take the Express Bus.
The bus goes into Manhattan and drops passengers at TWO locations:
To both destinations from JFK:
Yellow taxis (also called “cabs”) are definitely the most hassle-free option, but it is also the most expensive of the public transport services.
JFK to Manhattan by yellow taxi
Note: City regulations restrict the number of passengers in a yellow taxis to 4 (or 5 in a minivan), so if you have a larger party you may need to split up into different cabs or opt for a shuttle.
You should only use official yellow taxis and not accept rides from solicitors in the terminal. Many of them are operating illegally.
Taking a taxi has several pros and cons:
Pros: Super easy door-to-door transport. This is an easier option for travelers with a lot of luggage. You don’t have to think too much! If you are tired after your flight, you can take a taxi, sit back and let the taxi driver do all the thinking.
Cons: More expensive than the other public transport options listed. After tip and bridge tolls you will pay over $60 to get to Manhattan.
Once you have arrived, made your way from the airport to your accommodations, take a look at our free walking and food tours. We offer over 30 different NYC tours. Check out our full tour calendar below for exact walking tour offerings and dates.
These are just some of our tours
HAVE A GREAT STAY IN NEW YORK CITY!