It’s kind of wild to admit, but I barely traveled out of JFK in the thirteen years I was living in NYC.

I’m sure anyone who knows about my travel addiction knows it wasn’t because I wasn’t traveling during that time.

It’s simply because I would book myself in and out of LGA since it was super easy to get to from my home on the Upper East Side.

I could get a ride from an Uber or cab and they would drop me off at the airport in about 25 minutes.

It wasn’t until I left the city and began scheduling flights to come in to work and see friends that I ended up learning to adore flying into JFK.

I especially love how easy and cost effective it is to take public transit into the city.

I realize taking the public transit can make a lot of travelers nervous, especially if it’s their first visit, but I promise, it’s really not that bad.

Hopping on the AirTrain to the subway gets me into midtown fairly quickly, for a fraction of what a cab would cost.

To me, it’s so worth it, and not dangerous or overly confusing.

I bet I’ve done this routine about 10 times in the last three years alone.

In fact, I’ll even be doing it again in less than a week when I return to the city to celebrate a friend’s birthday and hit up a few cool work events.

I’m a total expert at navigating the airport and getting into New York, so take notes, because I’m about to tell you everything you need to know about how to get from JFK to Manhattan.

How to Get From JFK to Manhattan on Public Transit

AirTrain and Subway

How to Get From JFK to Manhattan: Your Quick Transit Guide!

One of the easiest and most affordable ways to travel from JFK to Manhattan is through a combination of the AirTrain and subway.

First, take the JFK AirTrain from your terminal to Jamaica Station.

The fare for the AirTrain ride is $8.25, but you won’t don’t stress about paying before getting on the train, they don’t charge you until exiting.

You need to go to Jamaica Station, then follow the signs to Sutphin Boulevard/Archer Avenue/JFK Airport.

Once you get off at Jamaica Station, you’ll see some metro machines near the exit.

You need to put money on a metro card to pay for the AirTran (charged when you exit), and some money toward taking the subway into the city.

It’s important to know if you’re planning on getting an unlimited ride card it will not work when you scan to exit. You’ll need to add the amount of the AirTrain to your unlimited card.


Simply use your credit card to tap your way through. This is my go-to way to use public transit so I don’t have to buy a metro card.

Here, you’ll hop on the E train, which takes you directly to various parts of Manhattan. The subway ride costs an additional $2.75 paid with a MetroCard or OMNY.

Long Island Rail Road (LIRR)


If you prefer a faster option, consider taking the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) from JFK to Manhattan.

Once you’re off the AirTrain at Jamaica Station, follow the signs to the LIRR platform.

The LIRR offers a quick and comfortable ride, taking you to Penn Station in the heart of Manhattan.

Ticket prices for the LIRR vary depending on the time of day and the day of the week.

During peak hours (weekdays, 6 AM to 10 AM, and 4 PM to 8 PM), the price for a one-way ticket varies depending on the time of day.

The LIRR has stops near popular destinations like the Empire State Building, World Trade Center, and the Financial District.

Floyd Cabin Luggage

This retro luggage come in a rainbow of colors and is so under-the-radar cool, that I can almost guarantee they won't see another person at the airport sporting this unique bag.

Check Best Price
If you click this link and make a purchase, I earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

How to Get From JFK to Manhattan Using Private Transportation

Taxi and Rideshare Services


One of the most popular options for getting from JFK to Manhattan is by taking a taxi.

The flat fare from JFK to Manhattan is $70, not including tolls and tips.

Taxis are available 24/7, making them a easy choice for most people.

If the line is massive, you can also use rideshare services like Uber and Lyft.

These apps can help you find a ride and estimate fares based on current traffic and demand.

I’ve noticed over the years that rideshares are an affordable and flexible option compared to traditional taxis.

Private Shuttle and Car Services


Another option for traveling from JFK to Manhattan is a private shuttle.

NYC Express Bus and New York Airport Transfer offer regular shuttle services between JFK and locations in Manhattan.

I used to use this all the time when I was living in midtown because it’s super easy, affordable, and stops at Grand Central and Penn Station.

Shuttle fares typically range from $19 to $30 per person.

For a more personalized experience, you may opt for a private car service. Companies like Carmel, and Dial 7 offer a variety of options, from sedans to SUVs and limousines.

Car services can be tailored to your needs, whether you’re traveling solo or with a group. Fares will vary depending on the vehicle type and distance traveled.

Convenience, cost, and travel time are important when making a choice for private transportation.

Just keep in mind that travel times will depend on traffic conditions, which can be notoriously unpredictable in New York City.

Lundi Weekender

This travel bag is spacious enough to work perfectly as a weekender bag.

Discover More
If you click this link and make a purchase, I earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Tips and Additional Information

Travel Time Estimates


Depending on how you decide to travel from JFK into Manhattan, the transit time could be vastly different.

Here are some general travel time estimates for different modes:

Subway: approximately 60 minutes

Commuter train (LIRR): approximately 35 minutes

Taxi: approximately 45-60 minutes

Helicopter service (BLADE): approximately 5 minutes, but costs around $195 one-way 1

Remember that these are just rough estimates and may vary depending on traffic, weather, and other factors.

Navigating JFK Airport


JFK Airport is one of the busiest airports in New York, so it’s important to know how to navigate the airport and find the transport option that works best for you.

Here’s a step-by-step walkthrough of everything you need to do to find the JFK Airtrain to Jamaica Station.

Identify your terminal: JFK has six terminals, numbered 1 through 8 (there is no Terminal 3 or Terminal 6). Check your airline ticket or itinerary for the correct terminal number.

Purchase a MetroCard: If you decide to take public transit, it’s best to buy a MetroCard from a vending machine in the terminals or at Jamaica Station.

One subway ride costs $2.75, and a new MetroCard costs $1, but adding more money is free. Contactless payment systems are also available on some modes of transport.

Follow signs: Look for signs directing you to the various ground transportation options at JFK, such as the AirTrain, subway, or taxi.

Welcome to New York, It’s Been Waiting For You


I hope this helps you navigate the chaos of JFK and find the perfect route into Manhattan.

Let me know in the comments below if there’s anything else about traveling from the airport into the city that you’d like answered.


Leave a Comment