Getting to and from LaGuardia, JFK and Newark airports can be confusing for the first-time visitor to New York. You have many choices: limousine, public bus, private bus (coach) service, subway, taxi, shared van and even helicopter. This page will help you decide which option is best.
For complete information for all five public airports that service New York (JFK, LaGuardia, Newark, Stewart and Teterboro), please visit their official websites. For up-to-date information you may also call toll-free in the continental U.S. and Canada, call 1-800-AIR-RIDE (1-800-247-7433). Live operators are available 8AM-6PM EST, Monday through Friday. Recorded information is available at all other times via touch-tone phone.
Generally, travel time between the airports and Midtown Manhattan by taxi or car is 45 to 60 minutes for JFK, 20 to 35 minutes for LaGuardia, and 35 to 50 minutes for Newark and 1.5 - 2 hours from Stewart. Always allow 30 extra minutes in case of heavy traffic, especially during rush hour, peak holiday travel times, or if you're taking a bus.
If you need information on the transportation services available for people with disabilities, click, HERE.
While public bus service is available to all three airports, most first-time visitors will find it a bit difficult to carry their luggage to the bus stop; learn how to make the connections required; and find out how to pay the fare. Moreover, this option is never very fast, but it is indeed the cheapest. (You'll find more about this in our New York on a Budget Guide.)
Private bus or coach service is available at all three airports to and from hotels as well as several Satellite Airline centers in Manhattan (Grand Central Station, Penn Station and the Port Authority Bus Terminal). In addition, service is available between airports. While the fare ranges from $8 to $13.50, travel time is quicker, more direct to and from convenient tourist locations, and the coaches are far more comfortable than public buses.
Amtrak and NJ Transit rail serve Newark airport, and the subway and Long Island Rail Road serve JFK airport; you'll need to connect via the light-rail AirTrain at Newark and JFK that serve all airline terminals. At JFK, the AirTrain stops at both Howard Beach and Jamaica subway stations; from Jamaica station you can also take the Long Island Rail Road to Penn Station in Manhattan, which offers discounted fares on weekends. (See our New York on a Budget Guide for more airport tips.)
Taxi service, except at peak travel hours, generally seems to be the easiest way to get to and from the airports, although it can be the most expensive. A flat fare of $52 plus all tolls applies at all times to or from Manhattan and JFK airport. Tip is not included! Note that if your taxi makes more than one stop in Manhattan, the driver will charge you $52 after the first stop, then turn on the meter. The last passenger must pay the amount on the meter. In all other cases, taxi fares are $2.50 initial charge, plus 40 cents per 1/5 mile traveled, plus 40 cents for every 60 seconds in stopped or slowed traffic (under 12 mph). There is a 50-cent surcharge after 8 pm and before 6 am, as well as a rush hour weekday surcharge of $1.00 between 4 pm and 8 pm. (However, these surcharges do NOT apply between JFK and Manhattan.) Ask your driver for a receipt, which lists the taxi's license number. Call 311 with any complaints. Note: there is never any charge for luggage or additional passengers. For additional information about New York City taxi fares, visit our taxi guide and New York on a Budget Guide.
Newark taxis charge rates different from New York City taxis, and fare structure is complex. Ensure that the taxi dispatcher at Newark Airport gives you a yellow brochure and writes down the taxi medallion number and estimated fare before you leave the airport. There may be additional charges per passenger or piece of luggage. For NYC taxis to Newark airport, in addition to the metered fare, there is a $10 surcharge plus round-trip tolls to AND from the airport. You might do better in a limousine.
Limousine services need not be expensive. In fact, NYC.com has partnered with LimoRes to get you excellent rates and superior service. By making an advance reservation here or calling 888-478-6949, you ensure the driver will meet you where you want, and you need not wait in a long line.
Helicopter: for the busy executive, rock star, or royalty the fastest and most exciting way into or out of New York's local airports is by helicopter. Both the Midtown East 34th Street Heliport and the Downtown Manhattan Heliport near Wall Street on the East River provide the ultimate in user comfort and convenience. They are just minutes away from Kennedy, Newark Liberty, LaGuardia and Teterboro Airports, making it convenient for busy executives, leisure travelers and sightseers who want to experience the sweeping views of the New York and New Jersey skyline from high above. You can chopper between the East 34th Street Heliport and JFK or Newark and clear airport security in advance when flying out of the Heliport. US Helicopter utilizes Sikorsky S-76 helicopters that operate weekdays only from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and in just eight minutes reach JFK's Delta Terminal 3 (Gate 11) or Newark's Continental Terminal C (Gate 71)! Fares are $165 to $169 each way.