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How To Get From Manhattan to New York’s JFK Airport [2024]

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James Larounis
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James Larounis

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James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in...
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New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is one of the world’s busiest airports. It serves as a major hub for domestic flights, as well as a key gateway city for international departures. There are a variety of ways to get from Manhattan to JFK — explore each method, the pricing, and which mode is best in this post.

Subway

AirTrain JFK ticket purchase
Image Credit: Metropolitan Transit Authority

By far the cheapest way to get to JFK is the subway, departing Manhattan every few minutes. You’ll want to take the subway to Sutphin Boulevard – Archer Avenue – JFK Airport, on either the A, E, J, or Z trains.

Once you arrive at Sutphin Boulevard (commonly known as Jamaica Station, where the Long Island Railroad arrives), you’ll head up the elevator to the connected AirTrain station, and then take the Air Train to the various terminals of JFK.

To purchase a subway ticket, you can either purchase an MTA card in each subway station at a machine or you can use your phone’s mobile pay feature to tap on at the turnstiles. Major credit cards are accepted and the fare is automatically charged to your card without having to purchase a separate ticket.

Purchasing both a subway ticket and AirTrain ticket will cost approximately $10.75.

Bottom Line: The subway is by far the cheapest way to get to JFK from Manhattan. If you’re on a budget, taking the subway and AirTrain is the way to go.

Train/Long Island Railroad

Long Island Railroad
Connecting to the AirTrain from the Long Island Railroad is very easy. Image Credit: Metropolitan Transit Authority

One of the fastest public transit options to get to JFK is using the Long Island Railroad (LIRR), departing from New York’s Penn Station at the new Moynihan Train Hall. The Long Island Railroad is a commuter train service running from Manhattan to various points on Long Island. Most trains transit through Jamaica Station, which is the location you catch the AirTrain from.

Long Island Railroad trains depart approximately every 20 minutes for Jamaica Station, and while almost every line passes through here, you’ll want to pay attention to the signage in Penn Station to see which trains do (usually marked with a plane symbol to denote the ability to go to the airport).

Tickets can be purchased from a kiosk or ticket counter at Penn Station. Like most trains, your ticket is collected onboard by the conductor. The ride to Jamaica Station lasts approximately 20 minutes.

The total fare from Penn Station to JFK using both the Long Island Railroad and AirTrain is approximately $13.25, though it could be higher during peak periods.

AirTrain

John F. Kennedy International Airport AirTrain
John F. Kennedy International Airport. Image Credit: mindconcepts via Pixabay

If you’re taking the subway or Long Island Railroad into the airport, you’ll have to switch over to the AirTrain to actually take you to the terminals. Unfortunately, the AirTrain has a separate fare.

The AirTrain stops at a number of stations after departing Jamaica Station, including parking lots, the rental car facility, and each of the terminals. You must pay if you’re departing from Jamaica Station or Howard Beach Station, though you do not have to pay if you’re simply taking the train to and from airport terminals internally (such as transiting from one terminal to another from a connecting flight).

On its own, the AirTrain runs $8, assuming you get on at either Jamaica or Howard Beach stations.

Bottom Line: While AirTrain can be expensive, you do not have to worry about fighting traffic. It’s a great option to have a “guaranteed arrival” to JFK at around a particular time.

Taxis

Taxis have a fixed fare of $70 between Manhattan to JFK, however, there are several things you should be aware of:

  • There is s $5.00 surcharge added to your fare from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays
  • Additional fees include tolls, a $0.50 New York State tax, and a New York State congestion surcharge of $2.50 to $2.75 for any trip that goes south of 96th Street
  • You’ll want to tip on top of your fare

Taxis can be hailed from almost every street in New York City, and although they are starting to become less prevalent than rideshare cars, taxis are still an efficient way to get to JFK, albeit very expensive. Taxis are good for when you have luggage and want to avoid traversing the public transit system, or when you have multiple people riding with you.

Rideshare

While rideshare pricing depends on traffic and demand of vehicles, it’s a near ubiquitous form of transportation that almost every consumer has access to on their phones.

Pricing varies depending on the vehicle you’re calling, but generally hovers around $75 for the cheapest car, to north of $125 for larger vehicles.

When you exit the airport terminal and call your ride, you’ll be presented with accurate fare information taking into account the landscape at that time.

Private Buses

If you have multiple people with you or are in a small group, you may consider renting out a van to take you to the airport. There are several companies that have this service.

While these are expensive options, if you are filling each van to the maximum capacity, you’re getting a great deal to move your group to and from the airport.

Parking

If you’ve got your own vehicle, you may consider parking at JFK, though this certainly comes with a steep price tag.

Assuming you park at the cheapest on-site long-term parking lot, you’ll pay $20 for the first 24 hours and then $10 for each 12-hour increment above that. If you have a long trip or will be gone for multiple days, you’ll probably want to avoid this option.

BLADE Airport

BLADE Helicopter Take-Off from Manhattan
BLADE Airport helicopter take-off from Manhattan. Image Credit: Greg Stone

If you’re really up for an adventure, you can take a private BLADE Airport helicopter for $195 from West 30th St. to JFK, bypassing all traffic. Departures run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays.

This is one of the fanciest options to get to JFK. You’ll be dropped right in the center of the airport where you’ll then be transferred to your terminal of choice. Depending on traffic volume, this can be a great option to get to the airport, especially if you have a flight you are running late for. With traffic being unpredictable, having a near-guaranteed arrival time may be worth the price.

Hot Tip: For first-time BLADE Airport flyers only, you can save $50 with promo code: UPGRADED (Upgraded Points will receive a $25 credit when you land, which we’re very grateful for!).

Final Thoughts

You can get to JFK Airport by pretty much every method imaginable, making JFK one of the easiest airports to access. Each option has different pros and cons, and not all methods are equal. The Long Island Railroad offers a relatively quick public transit but is higher priced than the subway, which is slower. For vehicles, taxis will be one of your most efficient ways to get to the airport — because they’re nearly everywhere and offer a guaranteed fare, it’s an option you can certainly rely on.

It’s nice to have so many options to get to and from JFK, and before you arrive, make sure to check out our ultimate terminal guide to JFK!

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to get to JFK from Manhattan?

Depending on the form of transport you use, it can cost anywhere from around $10 to over $200. The cheapest way to get to JFK from Manhattan is the subway and one of the most expensive ways is utilizing a shared helicopter.

Is there an express bus from Manhattan to JFK?

There is no public bus that directly serves JFK from Manhattan, though there are several private bus services that offer expedited service from the airport to several points throughout Manhattan.

How much is Yellow Cab from Manhattan to JFK?

Without adding in tolls and tip, taxis follow a standard $52 fare to JFK from Manhattan.

Is it cheaper to take a taxi or Uber in NYC?

In most cases, it will be cheaper to take a taxi than do rideshare or Uber from JFK airport to Manhattan.

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About James Larounis

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.

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