If you fly into or out of New York City internationally, sooner or later you end up going through sucky JFK airport. (It’s also where JetBlue flights arrive.) If you take a cab to or from Manhattan, it’s $45, which is a chunk of change. There are other options though–if you have plenty of time.
I spent the past few days in New York City, attending a European travel conference. While there, I sampled two methods of getting to and from JFK airport to see how they stacked up: a SuperShuttle van and the subway to the AirTrain.
Heading into Manhattan I took the SuperShuttle van, which is $19 plus tip. In theory it’s “door to door service,” but in reality the van stops at every single terminal in the airport then stops at every single stop for the people in the van. So if you’re heading way downtown, as I was, it can take over two hours end to end. (I finally hopped off at 23rd and Broadway and took the subway.)
We should be thankful for the subway to AirTrain option, even though the last little leg to the terminal costs 2.5 times what the long subway ride does. Still, at $7 total, it’s by far the cheapest way to get there. (If you use the Long Island Railroad from Penn Station instead, it’s $12.) I was told it would take an hour to an hour and a half. Fortunately I left plenty of time, as here’s how it really went.
12:35 Enter the subway station at 14th St. and 1st Ave.
12.40 Board the L train to head to Queens
1:03 “Last stop, Wyckoff Station” says the conductor. Crap. Get out to change trains
1:25 Another L train finally arrives
1:32 Arrive Broadway Junction station, transfer to Rockaway A train
1:40 Board Rockaway-bound A train
1:53 Arrive at AirTrain station
2:01 Board Airtrain
2:14 Begin walk around the car-dodging detours of the permanent constuction zone known JFK airport
2:20 Check in at Delta counter
Total travel time: 1 hour, 45 minutes. Your mileage may vary, but this was a pretty straight shot from the east side of Manhattan. Allow longer if you’re uptown and west.
I then sat on the runway for four hours before getting airborne, but that’s another story…