Getting to JFK Airport From Anywhere Around NYC

Getting to JFK Airport From Anywhere Around NYC

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Photo taken from http://www.panynj.gov/airports/jfk.
Photo taken from http://www.panynj.gov/airports/jfk.

To start my Great 2012 Mileage Run, and most adventures I go on, I needed to get from my home in Brooklyn, NYC to John F Kennedy International Airport in Queens, NYC. My favorite way to get there, which balances cost and time, is by taking the subway to Atlantic Terminal Station in Brooklyn, then taking the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) to Jamaica Station in Queens, then finally the Airtrain to my terminal. There are numerous ways to get from anywhere in New York City to JFK. A taxi from many areas in Brooklyn, including mine, would cost $35 USD plus an average tip of $5, but it is the fastest, and with door-to-door service. The subway, with a one-way fare of $2.25 will take you close, but still requires you to connect to the Airtrain ($5) which runs around to all the terminals. This is the cheapest method, but from my house it takes me almost 2 hours, something that I don’t have the patience for; I would need to take the B/Q from Newkirk Ave to Prospect Park, transfer to the S (Shuttle), get off at Franklin Ave and take the C, then transfer somewhere along the path to catch the A. Getting off at the Howard Beach stop, I need to go upstairs and catch the $5 Airtrain to get to my terminal – A total of 5 trains, not worth it. So again, my favorite option is to take the B/Q subway ($2.25) from Newkirk Ave to Atlantic Ave and transfer to the LIRR (Long Island Railroad {$6.25 Off-peak/$8.50 Peak}). Getting off in three stops at Jamaica Station, I transfer to the Airtrain ($5) to my terminal. Convenient and cheap! Cabs are fast, and I’ve had to resort to them in the past, but they are expensive. From most of Brooklyn, it is usually a $35 flat fare to get to JFK, and from northern Brooklyn and most of Queens it is a $25 flat rate. Those coming from Manhattan can expect to pay $55 to $75 for the trip, without tolls and tips.

From Manhattan

The fastest route to JFK from Manhattan that is consistent is to take the Long Island Railroad from Penn Station (btwn 7th & 8th Avenues, and btwn West 31st & West 33rd Streets). The trains, though sometimes delayed themselves, are rarely as inconsistent as riding in a cab or shuttle van usually can be. Currently the one-way off-peak fare is $6.25 and peak fare is $8.50. According to the MTA, “Peak Fares are charged during business rush hours, on any weekday train scheduled to arrive in NYC terminals between 6 and 10 AM or depart NYC terminals between 4 and 8 PM.Get off at the Jamaica Station in Queens. Then, hop on the JFK AirTrain for $5.00 which will zip you around to any terminal you need. Once the train departs, it is usually about 35 minutes to the terminal with this combination. If you have time, trade the Long Island Railroad for the NYC MTA Subway. Chances are, you would have had to take a subway anyway to get to Penn Station. There are several options. From Midtown, take the E to Sutphin Blvd (2nd to last stop in Queens). From Downtown, or way Uptown, you can take the A train to the Howard Beach stop in Queens. Or from Downtown, you can take the J or Z trains to Sutphin Blvd. If you take a subway, wherever you get off, you will take the AirTrain (still $5.00) to continue on to the terminals. Subways are cheap ($2.25) and very consistent, though also consistently slow. Just like most things in New York City, they run 24/7, but night and holiday service could have a train in the station every 20 minutes or so, so give yourself time. Subway times to JFK will almost always take slightly over an hour. A private shuttle bus can also take you to JFK. From Grand Central Station in Midtown (East), the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown (West), or Penn Station, a shuttle van usually charges around $15.00 – $18.00 each way. In an official NYC yellow cab, currently trips between (to and from) Manhattan and JFK Airport have a flat fare of $52.00 plus any tolls, plus a $0.50 NY State tax surcharge. If you’re in a rush, tell your driver to skip the Queensborough/59th St. Bridge, opting instead for the Queens Midtown Tunnel, though it will set you back an extra $6.50 for the toll. A car service is the most convenient, since you can call it to your hotel and have them waiting for you outside, but it is also the costliest option (can be considerably more than a yellow cab). Car services are private companies, and can make up their own prices, which you can negotiate over the phone when you book them. There are a gazillion car services, so just Google them. There are official NYC MTA Buses, but they are probably going to be your slowest option. However, it may actually be more convenient if you are way uptown, such as in Washington Heights, Harlem, or Inwood. The cost of the bus is the same as a subway fare, and depending on which bus you take, you may be able to skip the AirTrain option, making the city bus the cheapest way to get to the airport. However, other buses will drop you off at an AirTrain station, for which you’d still have to pay that $5.00 fare. Check out the MTA Trip Planner for info.

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Christian "Krzysiek" Eilers is a twenty-something who constantly likes to look up the next flight out of JFK. His life goal is to visit every country in the world; as a young adult working full-time, he often settles on visiting the near countries of Central and South America and the Caribbean, knocking these off the list as it is less of a financial strain than Europe or Asia. Caffeine is his vice, and if he doesn't have a coffee in his hands, then it's probably a green tea. A native of New York City, when he is not traveling, he can find an abundance of cultural influences right in his own city, enough to keep him satisfied until the next country's beckon cannot be ignored any longer.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Thank younso much for this info. We will be in
    NY. And staying in Brooklyn. So this will be very helpfull to get us to the things we want too see.

    • Ana, I’m glad if this information was helpful to you! If you need anything, send me a private message by email or through the website’s contact form, and I’ll do my best to help you. Have a great time in New York City!

  2. That isn’t a picture of terminal 5 in JFK. It is the old TWA building. Terminal 5 currently houses JetBlue and Hawaiian Airlines. Soon they’ll be adding Aer Lingus.

    • Anj, yes, I used that photo because I thought this one was easily-recognizable as JFK. Though JetBlue took over T5, I think they will convert this landmarked building soon to a hotel or something, no? Anyway, after you said that, I realized it was not as relevant, so I’ve changed it :)

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