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Airports in New York: Which You Should Choose and Why

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Which is the best airport in New York? Which is the least expensive? We break down what’s good and what’s not so good about the airports in NYC.

New Yorkers or visitors to the Big Apple can never complain about the lack of connectivity from New York. The city facilitates easy air travel to and from various locations throughout the world. NY has nonstop flights to practically every major city in the world and a plethora of smaller cities.

There are three international airports serving New York:

  • LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)

As far as passengers flying into or taking from New York are concerned, each has advantages and disadvantages, including their distance from Manhattan and the ease of getting to these airports.


Is JFK the best New York Airport? Why does LaGuardia get such a bad rap? Is Newark really that terrible? We’re looking at all of these questions and more.

John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)

JFK Airport

A world-class airport, JFK is undoubtedly on par with other major airports worldwide, such as London’s Heathrow Airport, Dubai Airport, or Frankfurt Airport.

Because of the sheer number of nonstop flights accessible on major international airlines such as British Airways, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, Delta, and American, JFK is unquestionably the easiest option to get from New York to locations all over the world.

JFK Airport is in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens.

You can get from JFK Airport to Manhattan by

  • Train or subway
  • Taxi or rideshare
  • Driving down in your car

We can only think of the distance; we cannot think of anything else. It’s almost 20 miles or 40 minutes from Manhattan, and with the infamous NYC traffic to contend with, it may take longer.

If you’re driving down to JFK Airport, it’s best to book your JFK parking spot online ahead of your travel. The airport often runs out of parking spots.

Find the best parking rates near JFK Airport

LaGuardia Airport (LGA)

LaGuardia Airport      Image Courtesy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/panynj                            

The smallest of the New York Airports, LGA, is often overlooked, but not for much longer. LaGuardia Airport will soon have the newest and most modern terminals and passenger gates of the three airports serving New York. A large development project is now underway to transform a hub into a modern collection of terminals. The results seem to be showing already, with the airport winning the ‘best new airport’ award for its revamped Terminal B.

LaGuardia is the closest airport to Manhattan, and that’s the airport’s major plus point. LGA Airport is only 9 miles or 20 minutes from Manhattan.

When the revamp is completed in 2022, the airport might even be one of the best in the United States. However, due to its perimeter rule, which limits most nonstop flights to and from the airport to a distance of 1,500 miles, it may not ever become a world-class international airport like JFK or Newark.

Delta is invested in making LaGuardia a significant hub; it now handles 40% of all flights from the airport, while American operates 25%. Chicago, Atlanta, and Florida are among the most popular destinations from LaGuardia.

LGA Airport is located in East Elmhurst, Queens.

You can get from LGA Airport to Manhattan by

  • Bus or subway
  • Taxi or rideshare
  • Driving down in your car

If you plan to drive down to LaGuardia Airport, you might want to reserve your LGA parking spot as soon as you can. The reconstruction has made parking rather tricky to find.

LGA parking

Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)

Newark Airport Lounges

If you’re flying out of New York with United or its partner airlines, you will most likely be flying out of Newark Airport. The airport might seem like it has a bit of an identity crisis. While Terminals A and B are all business, with their gloomy and no-frills looks, Terminal C is the brighter, fun side. This is most likely the best airline terminal in the New York area, thanks to its sleek looks and excellent food options. The airport owes some of its infamy to the very long security lines and tedious wait times. Getting to the airport is not too much of a hassle, though.

Newark Airport is located south of Newark and straddles the boundary between the cities of Newark and Elizabeth in New Jersey.

You can get from EWR Airport to Manhattan by

  • Train
  • Shuttle service
  • Driving down in your car
  • Rideshare or taxi

If you’re driving to Newark Airport, you must book your EWR parking spot in advance. You can book an offsite Newark Airport parking spot online to keep your travels hassle-free.

EWR parking

Pros and Cons of all the Airports in New York City

 JFK AirportLaGuardia AirportNewark Airport
  • Very efficient at managing delays and traffic
  • The majestic TWA Hotel alone makes traveling to JFK worth it
  • Best lounges, restaurants, and amenities
  • Most domestic and international airline options
  • The swanky new terminals stand out from the rest of the airports.
  • Some of the best dining options, especially at the Delta Terminal
  • Most convenient for getting to New York City
  • Very convenient for people living in New Jersey or south
  • It is connected via AirTrain
  • You might find it expensive to get here
  • The terminals are rather long, so expect to walk a bit


  • Most impacted by weather or personnel delays
  • For now, public transportation involves taking the bus
  • Getting between terminals is still tough (no AirTrain as yet)
  • There are frequent major and severe delays.
  • Has the worst terminals of the 3, except for terminal C
  • Quite expensive to get to from the city

Here are a few more things you must know about the airports in New York:

How many airports are there in New York State?

There are 162 airports in New York State. The international airports in New York State are

  • Albany International Airport, Albany,
  • Buffalo International Airport, Buffalo,
  • Massena International Airport, Massena,
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport, NYC
  • La Guardia Airport, NYC
  • Stewart International Airport, Newburgh
  • Plattsburgh International Airport, Plattsburgh
  • Greater Rochester International Airport, Rochester
  • Syracuse Hancock International Airport, Syracuse.

Newark Airport is not on this list because it’s not in New York State; it’s in New Jersey.

new york overhead plane

How can you get to JFK by subway?

The A and E blue line trains go to and from JFK from Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, but you have to switch to the AirTrain for the last mile. You can do that at Howard Beach Station (A train) or Jamaica Station.

If you’re taking the A train to JFK, don’t take the A train that goes to Lefferts. The A-train that goes to JFK takes a strange side trip for no clear reason. The train to Howard Beach or Rockaway JFK is reached by train. Lefferts Blvd. A train doesn’t. The A subway line dips into Brooklyn at the Lefferts Blvd stop. It stops at three places and then goes back. So it’s best not go to the airport on the Lefferts train. You’ll spend a lot of time going back to find the right one.

How much does it cost to get to JFK by subway vs. taxi?

  • The subway costs $2.75, and the AirTrain costs $5, bringing your total cost to $7.75.
  • Taxi rides cost $60 but vary depending on your destination. It can be closer to $40 if you land late at night and are lucky, but traffic can quickly raise it to $70.
  • A Lyft ride will cost $45-60, but a Lyft pool can save you about $15.

How much will it cost to get to LGA from Manhattan or Brooklyn?

  • Traveling by taxi will cost you anywhere, up from $25.
  • Traveling by subway and bus is cheaper and should cost only $2.75.

Commonly asked questions about New York Airports

Is JFK or LaGuardia better?

JFK is still the best airport in NYC, with more flights and convenient time options. Also, JFK ranks much higher than LaGuardia for on-time departures and 29 for on-time arrivals.

Is it cheaper to fly from JFK or LaGuardia?

Getting to JFK Airport might be costlier than getting to LaGuardia Airport.

Is LaGuardia a good airport?

While we wouldn’t go so far as to call it NYC’s best airport, the reconstruction efforts are surely helping in making LaGuardia a really good airport.

What airport does Delta fly to in New York?

Delta flies to JFK and LaGuardia Airport in New York.

What airport does Southwest fly to in New York?

Currently, Southwest only flies to LaGuardia Airport in New York.

What airport does United fly to in New York?

United presently flies into and out of Newark Airport, LaGuardia Airport, and JFK Airport.

Which is the best airport for NYC?

JFK is the best airport for most people coming to and leaving New York. It offers a good selection of airplane departure times and destinations and is the easiest to commute to and from the metro.

Is JFK or LaGuardia better for Manhattan?

LaGuardia is the closest airport to Manhattan. LaGuardia is only 8.6 miles from Midtown Manhattan, while JFK is 14.7 miles and Newark is 16.6 miles.

How far is JFK from Times Square?

JFK Airport is approximately 17 miles from Times Square, a 45-minute drive.

Which New York airport is the best?

Popular opinion is that JFK is the best New York Airport.

NYC Airports

Here’s more info on top-rated airport parkingthe best parking spots in your city, the most affordable insurance for your car, and top-rated car washes near you.


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