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Where Is JFK Airport and How Do I Get There?

  • Airport Parking Guide
  • Gerard Stevens
  • 9 minutes

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New York City boasts some of the country’s busiest airports. But which NYC Airport is the busiest among them? For folks who live in ‘The Greatest City in the World,’ the answer is simple -John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). Though not the closest airport to the city center, most of us prefer to fly out of JFK Airport – hail the connectivity between the city center and the airport! So, where is JFK Airport, and how can you get there? 

The airport is in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens and is around 16 miles southeast of Midtown Manhattan. There are multiple transportation methods you can opt for to reach the airport. However, it all depends on whether you’re flying alone or with family or the time of travel. Read more to know about the airport and how you can get there!  

About JFK Airport 

Though the pandemic affected air travel adversely in 2020, JFK Airport remained one of the world’s busiest airports by passenger traffic. With average annual passenger traffic of around 60 million, JFK is North America’s busiest international air passenger gateway. The airport has six terminals (1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8) with 131 gates. Over 90 airlines operate direct flights to all the inhabited continents from this airport. The airport also serves as a hub for American Airlines and Delta Air Lines.  

Info: The airport was originally known as Idlewild Airport. In 1943, the airport was renamed Major General Alexander E. Anderson Airport. The City Council changed the airport’s official name to New York International Airport, Anderson Field, in 1948. Later in 1963, the airport got its current name as a tribute to the USA’s 35th President,  John F. Kennedy.  

How to get to JFK Airport 

Whether you’re a first-timer, an occasional, or a seasoned traveler, you may have apprehensions about getting to the airport. Is it easy to get to JFK Airport? Yes, if you’re well aware of the transportation options! Are you traveling out of JFK? What are the ways by which you can reach one of the world’s busiest airports? 

  • AirTrain 
  • NYC Subway System 
  • Long Island Railroad 
  • Bus Service 
  • Taxi/Rideshare services 
  • Driving 

Which transport mode should you use to reach the airport? It all depends on how you’re traveling, the traffic, and the time of travel. 

Transport option  Travel cost  Travel time  
Train + tram  $11-$20  20 mins 
Taxi  $50-$65  15 mins 
Subway + Tram  $9-$11  40 mins 
Bus    $9-$14  35 mins  
Car  $2-$5 for gas   15 mins  

Fastest: AirTrain + LIRR (Long Island Railroad)

Cost: $12-$18
Time: 45-60 minutes

AirTrain to JFK Airport

Traveling via an AirTrain is the most convenient and affordable way to reach the airport. Why should you prefer AirTrain? Because the city’s public transportation network connects well to the AirTrain service. 

The NYC public transportation network connects to this service at the Jamaica and Howard Beach stations. You can find the subway, public buses, and the Long Island Railroad at these stations. AirTrain operates 24/7 throughout the year and provides free service unless you board to JFK from Jamaica or Howard Beach stations. The journey from these stations to JFK Airport costs $10.50, which you can pay using your Metrocard.  

What’s more? Using the AirTrain is the best way to move around the airport, connecting all terminals to onsite parking lots, the rental car center, and the hotel shuttle pick-up area.  

Most convenient: AirTrain + Subway 

Cost: $10-$12
Time: 60-90 minutes

Using the AirTrain and NYC Subway System is another simple way that connects you efficiently to JFK Airport. AirTrain connects all the passenger terminals with NYC Subway System via the Jamaica and Howard Beach stations. Be mindful that the Subway charges are different from the AirTrain, and it costs around $10 to reach the airport from these stations.  

  • If you’re boarding from Jamaica Station, use the E, J, or Z lines. 
  • From Howard Station, you have to take the A Line. 

What if you need to take the subway to JFK? Get off at Sutphin Boulevard Station on the E, J, and Z lines or the A Line at Howard Station. Then you can access the AirTrain. 

Value for money- Shuttle

Cost: $30 approx.
Time: 60-120 minutes

An express shuttle used to run between JFK and the Grand Central Station but does not anymore. However, there are private cabs and shuttles available, like Go Airlink. This is a good option if you’re looking to avoid crowded public transport without spending a bomb on travel.

Bus Service 

There are several bus services by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) that you can use to get to the airport. Bus services are regular between the airport, Queens, Brooklyn, and other destinations with subway connections. Which are the bus services you should use to travel to the airport? 

  • Q3 
  • Q6 
  • Q7 
  • Q10 
  • Q10 LTD 
  • B15 

Taxi/Rideshare services 

Taxi/Rideshare services to JFK Airport

Traveling to JFK via a taxi or rideshare service is a good option if you’re hesitant to drive. Public transportation services won’t be a viable option if you’re traveling to the airport at the last minute. One option is to hire New York City’s Yellow Cabs. The cab charges you a flat rate of $52 while traveling from the city to the airport. Be aware that a surcharge of $4.50 is valid during peak hours. Lyft normally charges around $50-60, and Uber charges you around $60-75 to drop off at JFK. The rate depends on the type of service your choose. The rates are sure to surge during peak hours. So, always check the rates before you book! 

Driving to JFK Airport 

The airport is around 20 miles from NYC, which takes around 30 minutes to reach if you’re driving. But, the stretch from the city center to the airport is notorious for its heavy traffic. So, the chances are high that you may get stuck in the traffic if you’re traveling in peak hours. Opt to drive to the airport only if you’re traveling with family or have a lot of luggage. Driving to JFK can also be a good option if flying out of the city for a few days! If so, you need to have an idea of JFK Airport parking so that you can park your car securely till you reach back. 

JFK Airport parking 

Getting a parking spot in one of the world’s busiest airports will be a gamble if you don’t pre-book. It is nearly impossible to get a parking spot during holidays or peak seasons as most New Yorkers love to fly out that time. Is it that hard to get onsite parking at JFK? No, if you have an idea about the parking lots. The airport features around six main lots – Green, Blue, Yellow, Orange, Red, and Long-Term, offering around 17,000 short-term and long-term parking spots.  

Where to locate these lots? The Green, Orange, and Red lots are near terminals 1, 2, 7, and 8. The Blue and Yellow lots are close to terminals 4 and 5.  

Long-term airport parking 

Park your car in the Long-Term lot if you’re looking for the most economical long-term parking option at JFK Airport. A day’s parking at this lot costs you $20. At the Green, Orange, and Red lots, long-term parking will cost you $36 per day. The daily parking rate at the Blue and Yellow lots costs you $42. You can use the Long-Term lot if you’re planning to park your car for more than a day. Parking in this lot for an additional day costs you $10 per 12 hours after the first day of parking.  

Short-term airport parking 

Parking at the Green, Orange, and Red lots charge you $4 for the first 30 minutes. The rate surges by $4 for every next 30 minutes till the parking rate reaches the daily maximum of $36. Getting a parking spot costs you $6 for the first 30 minutes if you use short-term parking in Blue and Yellow lots. The rate increases by $6 for every additional 30 minutes till the parking rate reaches the daily maximum of $42. 

Tip: Use the Cell Phone Lot if you want to have free parking while driving to the airport to pick up your friend or relative.  

Alternative parking options near the airport 

JFK Airport parking spots aren’t easy to get, and it drains your wallet if you find one! So, it is always safe to have a backup option if you’re looking for short-term or long-term parking. Considering the offsite garages or hotel parking lots can always be a good option if you want to have long-term parking near the airport starting as little as $8 per day. Guess what? Many of these lots offer free round-trip shuttle services, 24/7 security, and more. Use the Way.com app or website to get affordable JFK Airport parking with added amenities! 

Is there a train that goes directly to JFK Airport?  

The AirTrain connects all JFK Airport terminals to the Jamaica and Howard Beach lines.  

What is the easiest way to get to JFK?  

One of the easiest ways to get to JFK Airport is by using a combination of the AirTrain and the Subway.   

How can I get to JFK without a car?  

JFK is well-connected to the city by public transport, and you can get to JFK Airport by AirTrain, the subway, the Long Island Railroad, or the bus.   

How do I get to JFK without taking the AirTrain?  

You can take the bus, grab a taxi, or drive down to JFK Airport.   

How much is a shuttle to JFK?  

The average cost of a shuttle to JFK is around $30.   

Is it cheaper to taxi or Uber from JFK? 

Taxis from JFK usually charge a flat fare of $52 to Manhattan. An Uber can cost anywhere from $50 to $70, depending on traffic and surge pricing.  

Key info on JFK Airport 

  • The airport belongs to the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens and is around 20 miles from NYC. 
  • Use AirTrain service if you’re looking for the most convenient and affordable way to connect to the airport. 
  • Board the AirTrain from Jamaica or Howard Beach stations to reach JFK Airport. The journey costs you $7.75. All the AirTrain trains and stations are ADA-compliant.  
  • Drive to the airport if you are traveling with family or you have a lot of luggage.  
  • Always pre-book a parking spot if you’re planning to park at the onsite lots.  
  • Use the Long-Term lot at JFK Airport if you’re looking for an economical long-term parking option.  

Check out more blogs for info on finding top-rated airport parking, the best parking spots in your city, the most affordable insurance for your car, and top-rated car washes near you.

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