Getting to JFK Airport to and from Manhattan

5 Best Ways to Get to Manhattan from JFK Airport (and back to JFK from NYC!)

Getting to JFK Airport to and from Manhattan

5 Best Ways to Get to Manhattan from JFK Airport (and back to JFK from NYC!)


I just recently flew back to France for the summer and realized how well I had my airport routine down. I take the train to Grand Central and hop on the NYC Airporter bus from there. It’s easy, cheap and convenient. I realized others might not know of all the different ways to get between the airport (JFK) and Manhattan so I thought I’d share the ways that I know of so you can decide what’s right for you!

There’s a few different ways you can get to the city from the airport. I’ll go over the main 5 ways here:

Getting to JFK Airport from Manhattan

1. NYC Taxi

Back in the day, a NYC yellow cab taxi to the airport was the only option you really had. Luckily, fares are fixed between the city and JFK airport, and you pay $52+ tax, tolls, and tips between anywhere in Manhattan and JFK. This comes to about $70-80 total. There are no additional charges for the number of people in your party, or the number of suitcases you have. There is a $4.50 surcharge if you ride during peak hours (4-8pm on weekdays).

2. Uber

Uber is the most convenient and cost friendly option for getting to the airport. An Uber Pool from Manhattan will cost you around $30-50 (depending on demand) while an UberX is around $60, again depending on demand.

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3. NYC Airporter

Sadly, the NYC Airporter is no longer in service. I really hope another bus company comes along and takes its place!

If you’re looking to save money, try taking the NYC Airporter (operated by Golden Touch Transportation). A one-way trip to JFK will cost just $18, while a one-way ticket to LGA will cost just $16, from the Grand Central area. The NYC Airporter pick-up stop is on the corner of Lexington Avenue and 41st Street. The bus drops you off at all terminals of JFK Airport, however, for the reverse route, they only pick-up from Terminals 1, 4 and 8! So you’ll need to take the free AirTrain between those terminals if you arrive to another one.

There is a small discount for round-trip tickets when both are used within 30 days. You can also get a discount by downloading their app and purchasing within it. NYC Airporter is a great way to save money on airport transportation, while avoiding schlepping your bags through the subway.

…Which bring me to the next, most economical way to get to the airport: the subway!

4. Subway

New York City is famous for it’s 24-hour subway system, which comes in handy for off-hour flights. I took the subway to JFK for most of my journeys to the airport during college, as it’s cheap and pretty convenient if you don’t have a ton of luggage. This option will cost a total of $10.75: $8 for the AirTrain, and $2.75 for your normal subway fare.

From Midtown

The blue E train going uptown/to Queens will let you transfer to the AirTrain at the Sutphin Boulevard/Archer Avenue/JFK Airport stop. It takes about 45 minutes total to get from Midtown Manhattan to JFK terminal 4 including a short walk from the subway station to the AirTrain stop. Many others were making the trip when I did around 2PM.

From Downtown

The blue A train going downtown brings you to/from Manhattan and JFK, with a quick transfer to the AirTrain.

Be sure you take the A Train with final destination marked “Far Rockaway,” and NOT “Lefferts Boulevard” and get off at the Howard Beach station. From there, you can purchase a ticket to board the AirTrain. There’s usually quite a few other people with suitcases doing the same thing, so you can just follow them!

This journey can take over an hour from Manhattan so it’s best to depart your residence at least 1.5 hours ahead of when you’d like to arrive at the airport.

5. Car Service

Lastly, if you’re with a group of people or don’t want to deal with unpredictable taxis, the last way I’d recommend your airport transfer is to hire a car service to assist you. Carmel Limo is a trusted company for this type of service and rates will be competitive, depending on your needs!

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