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How do I get from JFK Airport to Manhattan?

There are several ways to get from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Manhattan:

  • AirTrain to Subway
  • AirTrain to Long Island Rail / LIRR
  • Car Service
  • Express Bus
  • Helicopter Service
  • Shuttle Van
  • Taxi

The JFK AirTrain is a service that connects airport terminals with each other for free and also connects to either Jamaica Station or Howard Beach Station for a fee, currently $5. The red line to Jamaica Station allows one to transfer to the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and subway trains E, J and Z. The green line to Howard Beach Station allows one to transfer to the A subway train. Travel between the train stations and airport terminal stops takes approximately 15 minutes and all trains can bring one to Manhattan, albeit different places at different times. For more information about the JFK AirTrain, you can refer to the following site. Travel times using the LIRR from Jamaica Station to Penn Station in Manhattan average around 20 minutes and the cost currently ranges from $3 to $7 depending on the day and time of travel. For more information concerning the LIRR, you can refer to the following site. Subway fares are $2 for a one-way ticket, but you may wish to purchase an unlimited 7 or 30 day pass depending on how long you are staying in New York City. Subway trains to Manhattan take approximately an hour plus or minus 15 minutes from either Jamaica or Howard Beach stations.

Car services, otherwise referred to as limousines, are quite numerous and should be arranged prior to arrival. Costs start at around $50 but you will likely be able to use a credit card to pay for it. Currently, New York City taxi cabs are being retrofitted to a carry an integrated infotainment system for passengers that allows for payment via credit card in addition to live maps, weather, restaurant listings and other advertisement-supported features. However, not all taxi cabs have the system and those that do not are not likely to accept credit cards. Travel time varies depending on traffic but you should expect one hour in light traffic and two hours in extreme traffic. The same time constraints apply to both limousines and taxi cabs, the latter of which have a set fee of $45 from JFK to Manhattan not including tolls and tip.

Express busses can take you to either the Port Authority Bus Terminal or Grand Central Station for $15. However, they suffer from the same traffic delays as car services and limousines. Helicopter service gets around this problem by flying over it but is expensive, at roughly $180, does not operate at all hours, has tight baggage restrictions and is subject to weather-based cancellations. Flight time to either of two heliports in Manhattan is roughly 10 minutes but expect delays due to extra security precautions. For more information, please refer to the following site.

Shuttle van service is provided by SuperShuttle and Airlink New York. Travel to Manhattan costs $19, not including tip, and travel times average an hour and a half or more depending on traffic and whether you are the first or last to be dropped off. The advantage of using shuttle van service, car services and taxis is that they are able to bring you directly to your final destination. If your final destination is very close to a train station, however, it may be better to take connecting train service depending on how much luggage you are carrying with you. Please be warned that traffic and road conditions are often bad and that the skill level of most drivers is even worse. Subsequently, we do not recommend renting a car to go to Manhattan for any reason.

last updated 2008.09.04
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