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How to Get from JFK to Manhattan

If your plane lands at JFK, New York's international airport, and you want to go to Manhattan, take note of all the possibilities to get there.

María Cano

María Cano

7 min read

How to Get from JFK to Manhattan

Landing at JFK | ©Miguel Ángel Sanz

John Fitzgerald Kennedy Airport (JFK) is the most important and well-known airport in New York City. It is located in the borough of Jamaica, Queens, about 20 miles from Manhattan.

It usually takes about an hour to get there unless it is rush hour and traffic prevents it. I explain in detail the different possibilities, taking into account the duration, comfort and, of course, the price.

1. From JFK airport to Manhattan in a private shuttle transfer or shared with other travelers

Terminal 1 of JFK airport| ©Doug Letterman
Terminal 1 of JFK airport| ©Doug Letterman

If you are looking for comfort at a reasonable price, the most practical way is to hire a transfer between New York and the airport, either exclusively or with other travelers. You will travel comfortably in a modern and fully equipped minivan. Below, I will give you all the details on how to book it so that you will not have any doubts about it.

This type of minivan has capacity for approximately 11 passengers. It will pick you up right when you land at the airport and take you to the door of your hotel. You will not have to make time. This is one of its main advantages.

Regarding luggage, each passenger can carry one suitcase and one carry-on bag. In case you carry more luggage, you will have to pay an additional supplement.

How this service works

To hire this shared transportation service, you only have to make the reservation online. To do this, you will be asked for detailed information about your flight (company, flight number, schedule), so that the company can monitor it and have more details about whether it suffers any delay or, on the contrary, be aware that it arrives on time.

In addition, you will have to tell him the address of the hotel so that the driver knows where he has to go and, in this way, prepare the most comfortable route taking into account the location of the accommodation of the different passengers.

Once the reservation is made, you will receive a confirmation email. And... you're all set! When you get off the plane, all you have to do is go to the Ground Transportation Desk, located in the terminal where you land, and present your printed ticket. There you will be given all the information about where you will have to go to catch the minivan.

Schedules

The shuttle transfer has an uninterrupted schedule. It operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So no matter what time you arrive, you will have a driver waiting for you - peace of mind!

How long does it take to get there

Regarding the travel time from JFK airport to your hotel in Manhattan, it is expected to be between 60 and 90 minutes. The airport is located in the Jamaica neighborhood in Queens, about 20 miles from downtown, so one hour should be enough. But New York is a city that during rush hour can have a lot of traffic and bottlenecks, so this journey can take up to 90 minutes during rush hour.

Prices

The shared transport is a service that has good value for money. It ranges from 18-20€. In addition, one of its main advantages is that it has a fixed price. You will pay at the time of booking a fixed amount and the amount will not increase due to traffic, time or distance to your hotel. However, if you carry more luggage than recommended (one suitcase plus a hand bag), you will have to pay an additional supplement. In addition, tips are not included in this service.

Advantages

In case the advantages of car sharing are still not clear to you, here is a list of them:

  • Reservation: Making a reservation is very convenient. You can do it comfortably from your computer.
  • Schedule: It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Door to door: It is a direct service from the airport to the hotel.
  • You will not waste time: You will avoid all those extra turns so typical when you arrive to a new place and you know the transport network (looking for the stop or station, fighting with the ticket machine, seeing where is the platform from which the subway or bus leaves, making transfers...). It doesn't seem complicated but when you come from a long flight of more than seven hours, it becomes quite tiresome.
  • Duration: The journey takes about 60-90 minutes depending on the traffic at the time the trip takes place. You will not gain much time compared to other alternatives.
  • Price: It ranges from 18-20€. In addition, it is a fixed price and will not suffer any increase due to traffic, travel time or the distance to your hotel.
  • Experienced driver: The fleet of chauffeurs is formed by drivers who know the city inside out and have a long experience behind the wheel.
  • Comfort: There is no doubt that after all the above mentioned, it is a very comfortable option.

Book a private transfer from JFK to Manhattan

2. The subway, the most economical option

Manhattan Subway| ©Malvina Battiston
Manhattan Subway| ©Malvina Battiston

Going by subway from JKF airport to Manhattan is undoubtedly the most economical option. The New York subway strictly speaking does not reach JFK airport, but a monorail system known as AirTrain connects the different passenger terminals with the New York subway.

Below, I give you all the details on how to get from JFK to the subway stop on AirTrain, as well as all the information you need to know to get to Manhattan with this means of transport.

How this service works

The subway does not go to JFK airport, so to get to the nearest subway station you will have to take a monorail system known as AirTrain that connects the different passenger terminals with two nearby subway stations, Jamaica and Howard Beach.

The Jamaica subway station is served by the E, J and Z subway lines and the Howard Beach station is served by the A line. All these subway lines (E, J, Z and A) reach Manhattan. Now you just have to see which of the lines will take you closer to your accommodation.

Check the New York subway map, so you will not have any doubt about which subway line is the most convenient for you to take and know which is the closest stop to your accommodation:

  • Jamaica Station: E (24-hour service), J and Z lines.
  • Howard Beach: A Line (24 hour service).

Schedules

The A and E lines offer 24-hour service so you won't have any inconvenience no matter what time you arrive.

Fares

As expected, the AirTrain service is free to move from terminal to terminal at the airport, but not to go to the nearest metro stations. In this case, it will cost from €6 ($7.75) per person, plus approximately €0.80 ($1.00) for the physical card.

Note that when you buy your subway card, you will have to recharge it from 2,5€ (3$), which is the approximate price of a single subway ticket in New York that will take you from one of the two stations mentioned above to the most convenient stop in Manhattan.

How long it takes to get there

AirTrain will connect you to the Jamaica and Howard Beach subway stations in about 10 minutes. Regarding the travel time from Jamaica and Howard Beach to Manhattan will be approximately 30 to 40 minutes and the total price between the AirTrain ticket, the physical card and the single ticket will be about € 9.

3. The train, the fastest way to get from JFK to Manhattan

Howard Beach Station on the AirTrain to JFK airport| ©Matthew Rutledge
Howard Beach Station on the AirTrain to JFK airport| ©Matthew Rutledge

The train is another option for getting from JFK to Manhattan. It is similar to the subway, although you will get to your destination faster.

How this service works

To go by train from JFK airport to Manhattan you have to take the monorail system known as AirTrain that connects the different passenger terminals with two nearby subway stations, Jamaica and Howard Beach. From one of these stations you will take the train to Manhattan.

How long it takes to get there

AirTrain will connect you to the subway stations, Jamaica and Howard Beach, in about 10 minutes. From there, it will take you only 20 minutes to get from Jamaica to Penn Station in Manhattan.

Price

In this case, and although users compare it with the subway, the price rises considerably, since the price of AirTrain, 6 € ($ 7.75), you have to add the train ticket that has a higher cost than the subway. Moreover, during rush hour it is even higher. The price of the train can reach up to 12 € depending on the time of day.

4. Minibus, one more option to get from JFK to Manhattan

Aircraft of the Delta Companies, an airline from JFK airport| ©Sara Lou
Aircraft of the Delta Companies, an airline from JFK airport| ©Sara Lou

To go to Manhattan, JFK airport also offers a shared minibus service.

Price

The ticket for this minibus is priced from 17 €, about $ 20 approximately. This price may vary depending on the destination.

Schedule

The service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you choose this option you will need to go to the Ground Transportation Desk and present your reservation.

  • You will arrive within.... 60-90 minutes.
  • It will cost... from 17€.

5. Cab or Uber, the most expensive options to get from JFK Airport to Manhattan

Cabs and Buses sign at JFK Terminal 5| ©Michael Gray
Cabs and Buses sign at JFK Terminal 5| ©Michael Gray

Another option to go from JFK airport to Manhattan is to take a cab or Uber. I do not recommend it, as they are the most expensive of all the options mentioned above and there are more comfortable means of transportation.

Duration

The duration of the trip will be the same in Uber and cab, between 60-90 minutes depending on the time and traffic.

Price

Although it may be the most expensive means of transport to move to Manhattan from JFK, in principle you should not have surprises in the price, since the cab ride, as in other Spanish and European cities, has a fixed price from 50 €. To this rate must be added the toll, which has a cost from 3.5 € ($ 4.5) in the central hours of the day and an additional fee of approximately 1 € for the journey to New York.

For its part, the price of Uber is approximately €60.

  • You will arrive in a time of..... 60-90 minutes.
  • It will cost... 50-60€.