Three major airports serve New York City: John F. Kennedy International Airport (tel. 718/244-4444; in Queens, about 15 miles (1 hr. driving time) from midtown Manhattan; LaGuardia Airport (tel. 718/533-3400;, also in Queens, about 8 miles (30 min.) from Midtown; and Newark Liberty International Airport (tel. 973/961-6000; in nearby New Jersey, about 16 miles (45 min.) from Midtown. Information about all three airports is available online at Almost every major domestic airline serves at least one of the New York–area airports; most serve two or all three. All are equally lousy in terms of on-time arrivals and departures and facilities. When choosing a flight I'd recommend simply basing your decision on price. LaGuardia is a bit closer to New York City than the other two, but not enough so to outweigh a cheaper fare.

Getting into Town from the Airport

Since there’s no need to rent a car in New York, you’re going to have to figure out how you want to get from the airport to your hotel and back.
Generally, travel time between the airports and Midtown by taxi or car is 45 to 60 minutes for JFK or Newark, and 20 to 35 minutes for LaGuardia. Always allow extra time, especially during rush hour or peak holiday travel times, and if you’re taking public transportation.

Subways & Public Buses

For a major international city, New York’s public transit options to and from our airports are pretty crummy, but not impossible to navigate. The subway can be more reliable than taking a car or taxi at the height of rush hour, but a few words of warning: This isn’t the right option for you if you’re bringing more than a single piece of luggage or if you have young children in tow, since there’s a good amount of walking, including stairs, and usually a subway car that’s too crowded for excess baggage. Also note that, particularly to JFK and LaGuardia, public transport will likely take double the time a car will. That’s particularly true during off-peak travel times.

  • LaGuardia Airport: The M60 bus will take you to or from the city; you’ll board (or debark) at either 125th Street in Harlem, or just down the elevated-subway stairs at the N or Q-train Astoria Boulevard station in Queens. The bus isn’t reliable (I’ve waited over 45 minutes), but if you have the patience, this is the cheapest way, at just $2.75, to get between the airport and the city.
  • Newark Airport: Passengers first take the AirTrain (; tel. 888/EWR-INFO [397-4636]) from their terminal to the Newark Airport train station, where they transfer to a NJ Transit train (; tel. 973/275-5555) heading to New York Penn Station at 33rd Street and Seventh Avenue. (DON’T accidentally board a train to Penn Station Newark, a common mistake). Amtrak (; tel. 800/USA-RAIL [872-7245]) will also connect to this station, but it is far more expensive than New Jersey transit, so I don’t recommend it. From there, catch either a cab, an uber, subway, or a bus to your hotel. A one-way trip costs $15 at minimum for most passengers: $12.50 for the New Jersey train and then another $2.75 for the bus or subway in Manhattan to your hotel. Unlike the M60 bus to LaGuardia, service on NJ Transit is relatively frequent, with trains running at least six times an hour from 6am to 9pm and four times an hour from 9pm to midnight (there’s no service from 2am–5am). NJ transit tickets can be purchased from vending machines at both the air terminal and the train station. There are discounts for children and seniors.
  • JFK Airport: If you take an AirTrain from the airport, you have a choice of two options: The cheaper, but slower, method is to take either the A, E, J, or Z subway at Jamaica Station and the Sutphin Blvd.–Archer Ave. Station; or the A subway to Howard Beach. Either way, it’s $7.75 total fare; the Howard Beach route is usually the fastest from midtown Manhattan. Complete info on the subway/AirTrain link can be found at You can also take the Long Island Railroad from the AirTrain to Penn Station in NYC (total fare $15), which is less than the cost of a shuttle bus—see below—but not very convenient, unless you’re staying close to Penn Station.

Taxis & Uber/Lyft

Both taxis, and such ride sharing services as Uber, Lyft and Via, are quick and convenient ways to travel to and from the airports—though they ain’t cheap.

If you go the taxi route they’re available at designated taxi stands outside the terminals, with uniformed dispatchers on hand during peak hours at JFK and LaGuardia, around the clock at Newark. Follow the GROUND TRANSPORTATION or TAXI signs. There may be a long line, but generally those lines move quickly. At LaGuardia, because of construction, you may be required to take a (free) bus to the taxi stand. Fares, whether fixed or metered, do not include bridge and tunnel tolls ($5.76–$8.50, if applicable) or a tip for the cabbie (20% is customary). They do include all passengers in the cab and luggage—never pay more than the metered or flat rate, except for tolls and a tip (8pm–6am, a 50[ce] surcharge also applies on New York yellow cabs). Taxis have a limit of four passengers, so if there are more in your group, you’ll have to take more than one cab or try to hail a minivan taxi.


  • From JFK: A flat rate of $52 to Manhattan (plus tolls, tip, and $4.05 in NY state fees) is charged. The meter will not be ticking up as you go, but will start and end at that price (plus the surcharges listed above). If you are traveling between 4pm and 8pm on a weekday, a $4.50 rush hour surcharge will also be added.
  • From LaGuardia: There's no set fare, but you can expect the meter to run about $35, plus tolls, tip and a $4.05 state tax surcharge. Rush hour surcharges (see above) also apply to trips to and from LaGuardia.
  • From Newark: The dispatcher for New Jersey taxis gives you a slip of paper with a flat rate ranging from $50 to $75 (toll and tip extra), depending on where you’re going in Manhattan, so be precise about your destination. New York yellow cabs aren’t permitted to pick up passengers at Newark. The yellow-cab fare from Manhattan to Newark is the meter amount plus $17.50 and tolls (about $69–$75, perhaps a few dollars more with tip). Jersey taxis aren’t permitted to take passengers from Manhattan to Newark. 
Uber, Lyft and Via -- If you decide to use one of the ride sharing services, arrange your ride as you’re getting off the plane (it will usually take a good ten minutes, if not more, for drivers to make it to the airport). Then exit at the arrivals area, NOT departures, as that’s where these cars liason with passengers. The cost of getting into New York is roughly the same as by taxi, though it will vary a smidge depending on where in the city you are going, and what time of day it is.

Private Car & Limousine Services

Private car and limousine companies provide convenient 24-hour door-to-door airport transfers for roughly the same cost of a taxi.
Or at least that’s the case for those who choose curbside pickup at the airport. Being greeted by a driver holding a sign with your name on it as you exit the baggage area is a service that comes at a premium. The advantage of indoor pickup is that you’ll avoid the hassles of taxi lines. Frankly, I don’t see much advantage to arranging for curbside pickup from the airport as the wait can be up to 30 minutes (you’ll call the dispatcher when you arrive) and the taxi line is never that long. My advice: Use car services to get to the airport, but simply hop a cab or Uber when coming into the city.

The companies with the best reputations are Carmel (; tel. 866/666-6666), Allstate (; tel. 800/453-4099 or 212/333-3333), and Tel-Aviv (; tel. 800/222-9888). (Keep in mind, though, that these services are only as good as the individual drivers. If you have a problem, report it immediately to the main office.) Ask when booking what the fare will be. There may be waiting charges tacked on if the driver has to wait an excessive amount of time due to flight delays, but the car companies will usually check on your flight to get an accurate landing time.

Warning: When you leave the terminal, you may be approached by a private car driver trying to get a fare back to Manhattan, or a driver without a taxi/livery license looking to make extra money. It’s illegal, as well as more expensive than doing Uber, taking a taxi, or using one of the services listed above. And you may be taken advantage of if the driver thinks you’re a NYC newbie. Don’t negotiate with them. Grab a cab, order a car, or take a bus or shuttle..

Private Buses & Shuttles

Buses and shuttle services provide a comfortable and less expensive (but usually more time-consuming) option for airport transfers than do taxis and car services.

SuperShuttle and NYC Airporter serve all three airports; Neward Airport Express serves Newark.

The familiar blue vans of SuperShuttle (tel. 800/258-3826; serve all three area airports, providing door-to-door service to Manhattan and points on Long Island every 15 to 30 minutes around the clock. You don’t need to reserve your airport-to-Manhattan ride; just go to the ground-transportation desk or use the courtesy phone in baggage claim and ask for SuperShuttle. Hotel pickups for your return trip require 24 to 48 hours’ notice; you can make your reservations online. Fares run from about $19 to $35 per person, depending on the airport, with discounts available for additional residents in the same party.

NYC Airporter (tel. 718/777-5111; buses travel from JFK and LaGuardia to the Port Authority Bus Terminal (42nd St. and Eighth Ave.), Grand Central Terminal (Park Ave. btw. 41st and 42nd sts.), and Penn Station (Seventh Ave. btw. 31st and 32nd sts.). Look for the uniformed agent near the airport’s ground transportation center. Buses depart the airport every 20 to 30 minutes (depending on your departure point and destination) between 6am and 11pm. One-way fare from JFK to Manhattan is $19, $35 round-trip; from LaGuardia it’s $16 one-way and $30 round-trip. You save 10% if you use the Airporter app.

Newark Airport Express (; tel. 877/894-9155) provides service every 15 minutes (every 30 minutes from 6:45 a.m. to 11:15 p.m.) from Newark Airport to Bryant Park (at 42nd St. and Fifth Ave.), the Port Authority Bus Terminal (on 42nd St. btw. Eighth and Ninth aves.), and Grand Central Terminal (on 41st St. btw. Park and Lexington aves.). Call for the exact schedule for your return trip to the airport. The one-way fare runs $17, $30 round-trip; $5 one-way for children 5-11, $10 for kids 12-16, $8.50 for seniors over 62.

Getting to the Other Boroughs, Cruise Terminals & the ‘Burbs

If you’re traveling to a borough other than Manhattan, call ETS Air Service (tel. 718/221-5341; for shared door-to-door service. For service to Westchester County or Connecticut, contact Connecticut Limousine (tel. 800/472-5466 or 203/974-4700;

If you’re traveling to points in New Jersey from Newark Airport, call Olympic Airporter (tel. 800/822-9797; for Ocean, Monmouth, Middlesex, and Mercer counties, plus Bucks County, Pennsylvania; or State Shuttle (tel. 800/427-3207; for destinations throughout New Jersey.

Additionally, Go Airlink express buses (; tel. 212/812-9000) serve the entire New York metropolitan region from JFK, Newark, and LaGuardia, offering connections to the Long Island Rail Road; the Manhattan, Brooklyn and Cape Liberty cruise line terminals; the Metro-North Railroad to Westchester County, upstate New York, and Connecticut; and New York’s Port Authority terminal, where you head for New Jersey.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.