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How to Get to NYC’s Main Airports

June 18, 2019

There comes a time when every New Yorker, no matter the extent of his or her love for the city, needs to get out of town. There are three airports that service the New York City area: JFK, Laguardia (LGA), and Newark (EWR), each airport approximately an hour away from Midtown Manhattan by public transportation. If you haven’t yet mastered the art of easily getting to all three—often the most dreaded part of any trip—you may want to bookmark this post…

Getting to JFK 

John F. Kennedy International Airport is readily accessible via several sources of public transit. Here are your options: 

Long Island Railroad from Penn Station

Taking the LIRR may be the quickest, most reliable way to get to JFK. Traffic is a non-issue, multiple trains leave every hour, and trains generally keep to a tight schedule. Purchase a ticket to Jamaica Station and board the next Uptown train. Exit at Jamaica Station and follow the signage to the AirTrain JFK. Once on the AirTrain, pay close attention to the stop for your terminal and you’ll be at baggage-check in no time. 

Time: About 55 minutes

Cost: Off-Peak: $7.50 LIRR ticket + $5 AirTrain fee = $12.50
Peak: $10.25 LIRR ticket + $5 AirTrain fee = $15.25

Subway from Penn Station or Port Authority

While it might not be the fastest, hopping on the subway is the most affordable way to get to JFK. Swipe your MetroCard and board a Queens-bound E Train. This is the most direct route and runs express during peak hours. Exit the train at Jamaica Station and follow the signs to the AirTrain JFK. Pay close attention to each terminal stop, and you’re there.

Time: 70-90 minutes

Cost: $2.75 subway fare + $5 AirTrain fee = $7.75

Getting to Laguardia  

To get to Laguardia Airport via public transportation, you’ll need to first take the subway and then hop on a bus. The most common transfer point (N/W at Astoria Boulevard) is currently closed until December 2019, so, for now, here are your best options for getting to LGA: 

Subway from Grand Central to the M60 Bus

Board an Uptown 4 or 5 train at Grand Central Station. Get off the train at 125th Street. Cross the street to the M60 Bus stop.Once there, use your MetroCard to get a transfer receipt from the Select Bus Service ticket machines—you must do this before boarding the bus. Take the bus to the last stop, Laguardia Airport.

Time: About 50 minutes

Cost: $2.75 subway fare

Subway from Midtown to the Q70 Bus

Board a Queens-bound 7, E, or R train at the Port Authority or Times Square Stations, or an F or M train at Bryant Park Station. Take the train to 74th Street/Roosevelt Avenue. Cross the street to the Q70 Bus stop.

Once there, use your MetroCard to get a transfer receipt at the Select Bus Service ticket machines—you must do this before boarding the bus. Take the bus to the last stop, Laguardia Airport.

Time: About 50 minutes

Cost: $2.75 subway fare

Getting to Newark Liberty International

There are several ways to get to Newark Liberty International Airport via public transportation, but the quickest way is by train, simply because you’ll avoid traffic. From Midtown at rush hour, it’s likely to be faster than any car service.

NJ Transit from Penn Station

From Penn Station, purchase a ticket to the Newark Liberty International Airport Station. Then board a Northeast Corridor or North Jersey Coast Line train to the airport. Trains that stop at the airport are designated with an airplane or “EWR” on departure boards. Approximately 4-6 trains leave every hour. When you reach Newark Liberty International Airport Station, follow the signs to AirTrain Newark. Once on the AirTrain, pay close attention to the stop for your terminal.

Time: Approximately 40 minutes

Cost: $13 NJ Transit ticket + $5.50 AirTrain Newark fee = $18.50

That’s about all there is to it! But, before you get on the train with your luggage, make sure you know The Unofficial Rules of the Subway. Safe travels!

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