My distinctly non-existent psychic powers are telling me that you are here to learn exactly how to get from JFK (AKA John F, Kennedy International Airport) to Manhattan.
Am I right?
Of course, I am! Because truth be told, the oh-so-informative title of this aptly named article kind of gave it away.
What I lack in title originality, I more than makeup for with my super savvy, wicked awesome, local knowledge about how to get from Manhattan to JFK.
Which makes sense since well:
I was born and raised in New York City, have lived there practically my entire life (20+ years), and have traveled from JFK into Manhattan more times than I care to count.
I am the most perfect person to sit here and discuss the finer details of exactly how to get from JFK to Manhattan.
And, added bonus?
In my humble opinion, JFK is definitely the BEST airport to fly into.
Sorry LaGuardia and Newark but you guys just aren’t as good. Especially since Newark is all the way in New Jersey and LaGuardia, welp, it just has terrible service and wicked awful delays, even though it is conveniently located in Queens.
So, yes my friend. You choose wisely when deciding to fly into JFK.
Getting to Manhattan from JFK can be quite confusing, especially if it’s your first time in New York City.
When landing in JFK, you’ll basically end up in southeast Queens. A part of the city that can feel like it’s light-years away from Manhattan, even though it’s a mere 16-miles away from midtown.
Which is why:
I’ve created this handy dandy, incredibly detailed, easy-to-understand, local’s guide.
Continue onwards my friend and you’ll discover step-by-step instructions on how to get from JFK to Manhattan.
Information that will help you decide exactly what the best way to get from JFK to Manhattan is for you!
Because contrary to popular belief, New York airport transfers really don’t have to suck.
I pinkie promise.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.
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How long does it take to get from JFK to Manhattan?
Not surprisingly, that really depends on a bunch of different factors.
Yeah, sure, JFK is a mere 16 miles from midtown, making it this closest airport in the tri-state area to Manhattan.
It can take anywhere between thirty minutes (driving) and an hour and a half (using the subway and AirTrain) to get from JFK to Manhattan, depending on your method of transportation, where your hotel is located, and the date/time of your arrival.
Choosing the best way to get from JFK to Manhattan really depends on how much luggage you have, the size of your budget, when you arrive, and how quickly you want to get into Manhattan.
How to get from JFK to Manhattan by Taxi
First thing’s first.
Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT get into a car with any of the overly aggressive touts that will try and convince you to ride into the city with them.
The ones who desperately offer you their services near baggage claim and who fervently proclaim that they’ll give you a “really good deal”.
It’s a total scam, is not safe, and you should avoid them like the plague.
If you’re looking for a taxi, just head to the nearest designated taxi stand and catch an iconic, NYC yellow cab from there.
I know the line may look line but trust me, it’ll move pretty quickly.
Most taxis can accommodate up to four people, five if its a mini-van, which is good since that means you can split the fare four or five ways.
Unless you hire a limo or book a ridiculously expensive UberX, a taxi is the most expensive way to get from JFK to Manhattan.
It is also the fastest since taking a taxi from JFK to Manhattan will typically take around thirty minutes, at least if you’re not traveling during rush hour and are lucky enough to hit almost no traffic.
Something that is pretty dang rare in New York City.
That’s why, in actuality, most taxi rides from JFK to Manhattan will take anywhere between 40 minutes and an hour.
And the total cost?
Well, thankfully, there is a set fare of $52 for any taxi traveling from JFK to Manhattan (this includes a $0.50 New York state tax). This, however, does not include any bridge or tunnels tolls.
If you’re traveling between 4:00 pm and 8:00 pm on weekdays, then add an extra $4.50 to the cost of your taxi ride since there is a peak time surcharge.
And just in case you were wondering:
Yes, you should absolutely tip your driver around 15% of the total fare, or about $8.00
On the plus side though:
Basically every single taxi in NYC takes cash and credit cards. So, at least you don’t have to pay this mammoth fee in cash.
Because here in New York, we’re all about the little wins.
***Want to make things even easier? Then you can always book a private, pre-arranged care service from JFK to Manhattan. This way, you don’t have to wait in line for a taxi and will have a driver waiting for you, even if your flight is delayed.***
Can I use Uber to get from JFK to Manhattan?
The short answer is yes my friend, you absolutely can.
You can only catch an uber from designated waiting areas and pick up areas.
If you’re looking for a place where you can find Uber drivers who are waiting to pick you up, then head to one of two waiting areas in JFK that are designated specifically for, for-hire-vehicles. One is called the Cell Phone Lot and the other is the Limo Lot.
Both are more than a little difficult to get to.
If you really want to take an Uber from JFK to Manhattan, then head to a designated pick-up area instead, which is basically the arrivals area of any terminal.
These areas are also usually beyond busy. That’s why you should definitely keep your eyes glued to your Uber app. This way, you’ll know exactly when your driver arrives.
You should also call your driver if you can’t seem to find them – a scenario that is highly likely when desperately seeking a driver in any JFK Arrival area (FYI, this is the ONLY place where Uber drivers can legally pick you up. Meeting them anywhere else could result in a fine that YOU will have to pay for).
Uber really isn’t that much cheaper than a traditional taxi.
Because depending on whether you opt for an UberPOOL (the cheapest option where riders can carpool and share the cost of a car) a traditional Uber, an UberX (a “low-cost” private car service), and UberSELECT (a luxury sedan service), your Uber ride from JFK to Manhattan can cost as little as $35 and as much as $163.
You can also use the Lyft rideshare app to get private car service from JFK to Manhattan for as little as $48 and as high as $76 with Lyft plus.
How to Get From JFK to Manhattan by Airport Shuttle
Taking an airport shuttle from JFK to Manhattan is probably the best option if you’re traveling alone and don’t really have the time, or energy, to traverse public transportation with all your luggage in tow.
And with prices that start at just $17 per person, the fare is pretty reasonable too. You can also book your shuttle ahead of time, purchase round trip tickets, can enjoy direct service to your hotel (minus stops to pick up/drop off any fellow passengers), and can rest easy knowing that shuttles are available to pick you up twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
I’ve used Go Airlink NYC and have had zero problems with them (there are a ton of companies out there so feel free to choose the one that is best for YOU).
Just go to their website and upon booking, enter your arrival time/day, pick up/drop off location, tell them if the flight is international or domestic, and they’ll take care of the rest.
You will have to call them once you arrive. This way, the driver isn’t sitting there, waiting around if your flight is delayed.
The actual wait time and time it takes to get into Manhattan can be quite long since any shuttle service you choose will probably have to pick up additional passengers at other terminals and drop everyone off at their final location.
It could easily take well over an hour just to get into Manhattan when using an airport shuttle.
Using an airport shuttle is cheaper than a taxi and requires minimal effort on your part.
If you’re traveling in a party of two or more, you may want to just splurge and get a taxi.
Taking a taxi will save you a lot of time and costs just $30 per person when the fare is split between two passengers.
As a result:
When you take an airport shuttle, you really only save yourself about $13 per person at most – a saving that can sometimes be even less since shuttles can cost between $20-$25 per person.
If you’re traveling as part of a group and can afford it, then definitely opt for a taxi.
How to get from JFK to Manhattan Using the AirTrain and Subway
There really is no direct way to get from JFK to Manhattan using public transportation.
If you’re short on cash and have time to spare, then you may want to consider using the AirTrain and subway to get into Manhattan since this method will cost you just $10.50 per person (You pay $7.75 per person by Metro Card for the AirTrain if you get off at Jamaica or Howard station. Otherwise, the AirTrain is free. You’ll then pay $2.75 for a single ride on the subway),
And just so you know:
The AirTrain itself is pretty easy to use and connects to all JFK terminals and parking lots, several hotel shuttle pick-up areas, the rental car center, and NYC’s public transportation system at Jamaica Station and Howard Beach Station.
There are two separate lines that go to Howard Beach Station and Jamaica Station respectively. So, be sure to look at the final destination of your AirTrain BEFORE you get in.
Howard Beach station will connect you to the A train, which you can use to get into Manhattan.
Jamaica station will connect you to the E train and the LIRR (taking the LIRR, Long Island Rail Road, will be more expensive but will take you directly into Penn Station), both of which can both take you into Manhattan and beyond.
The AirTrain and subway also have the added benefit of running twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year. So, you’ll never be stranded and always have a way to get into Manhattan.
The journey will take between an hour and an hour and fifteen minutes and can be challenging if you have a lot of luggage or are traveling during rush hour.
Some other things you might want to consider are:
- Arrival Time – You may not want to take the subway late at night (for safety reasons ) or during rush hour when it’s incredibly crowded.
- Luggage – If you opt for the subway, make sure you can carry your luggage all by yourself, through crowds, up and downstairs. Because truth be told, you’ll really only find elevators and escalators inside JFK itself.
- How Many People are You Traveling With – If you’re traveling alone, using the AirTrain/Subway is a great way to save money. Otherwise, you may just want to split the cost of a taxi with your travel companions.
***Want to learn more about the NYC subway? Then check out my insider’s guide on how to use the NYC subway like a local!***
How to get from JFK to Manhattan: Everything You Need to Know About the AirTrain
Okay, more about the AirTrain.
It has three specific lines – the All Terminals Loop, he Howard Beach Station Line, and the Jamaica Station Line. And I’ll discuss each one in-depth so that you understand exactly how to get from JFK to Manhattan.
The All Terminals Loop
As the name suggests:
This loop of the JFK AirTrain connects to all of the airport terminals in JFK.
It is also free to use and can take you to any JFK parking lots that you might need to access, as well as hotel shuttle pick-up areas, and the JFK rental car center.
This line of the AirTrain will only shuttle you around the airport and will not connect you to any New York transportation services.
For connections to the LIRR or the NYC subway, you will need to board an AirTrain that is not on the All Terminals Loop but that is destined for either Jamaica Station or Howard Beach Station.
The AirTrain Jamaica Line
If you want to use the AirTrain when deciding how to get to JFK from Manhattan, then this is one line you use.
To get to Jamaica station using the AirTrain, you’ll need to pay $7.75 per person with your MetroCard. Trains also depart every 4 to 12 minutes and take 10 minutes to travel from JFK to Jamaica Station.
Once here, you have two options.
- Take the LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) to Penn Station – This is the faster of the two options since it will only take you 35 minutes to ride from Jamaica Station to Penn Station. It is also the more expensive option since a ticket on the LIRR will cost you $4.50 per person on the weekend and $7.75 during any other time. However, this is a major train station so trains will depart from here every couple of minutes.
- Take the E Train to Manhatten – If you have a bit more time and are short on cash, you can take the E train from Jamaica station since a single ride on the NYC subway is just $2.75. However, the journey will take around 40 minutes if you’re going to Midtown. Just be sure to get on a train that is Manhattan-bound since you’ll have several stops in Queens before the train finally enters Manhattan. Of the stops the E train makes, you’ll probably want to get off at 50th Street if you’re hotel is Uptown, 7th Avenue or the 42nd Street & Port Authority station if you’re staying near Times Square, Penn Station if your hotel is near Madison Square Garden, or the Wolrd Trade Center if your hotel is in lower Manhattan (if you need a MetroCard, buy it from an actual human since automated machines charge you $1.00 for a Metrocard. You can also take the AirTrain to Sutphin Blvd/ Archer Avenue station and board the E train from here.
The AirTrain Howard Beach Line
Just like the train route above:
You can also use the Howard Beach Airtrain Line when figuring out how to get from JFK to Manhattan.
Like with the Jamaica Line above:
You’ll pay $7.75 per person to ride the AirTrain to Howard Beach station. Trains also depart every 4 to 12 minutes and take 25 minutes to travel from JFK to Howard Beach Station.
You’ll get off the train and board the A line of the subway that is headed towards Manhattan. The trip to Midtown will cost $2.75 per person and will take around 40 minutes. And depending on where your hotel is, you’ll probably want to get off at either 34th street, 42nd street, or 59th street stations.
If I were you though:
I’d take the Jamaica Line since using the Howard Beach Line will mean that it will take you longer to get into Manhattan. Like around an hour and ten minutes in total (The A Train would be a better option though if your hotel is on the lower west side of Manhattan).
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Is There a Bus from JFK to Manhattan?
There totally is! Granted, it’s not a cheapy cheap public bus but a private, NYC Express Bus, that you can use to get you to LaGuardia, JFK, Port Authority Bus Station, Grand Central Terminal, and Newark.
This bus is only available between 11:00 am and 7:00 pm, seven days a week,. You’ll also need to allow up to 90 minutes to travel to and from the airport. You know, just in case you hit traffic.
That being said though:
Tickets are just $19.00 per person, or $35.00 round trip, when traveling from JFK to either Port Authority or Grand Central Terminal (you can also take the bus between JFK and LaGuardia or JFK and Newark too), making this a great, affordable option if you don’t want to carry all of your. luggage around on public transportation and have a hotel located in midtown.
***Not surprisingly, you can use all of these public transportation options to get from Manhattan back to JFK when you’re traveling home. Just do yourself a favor and compare the price of round trip tickets to one-way tickets since round trip tickets are usually cheaper. ***
So, What is the Best Way to Get from JFK to Manhattan?
If you’re traveling with a group, I’d try and split a cab since that is the quickest and easier way to get from JFK to Manhattan.
If you’re traveling alone, are on a budget, or traffic is really heavy, then definitely try to take the AirTrain to Jamaica Station.
You can either take the slower and cheaper E train to Manhattan (the trip will cost $10.50 per person and take 50 minutes) or hop on the faster and slightly more expensive LIRR to Penn station (the trip will cost between $12.25 and $15.50 per person will take 30 minutes).
How Much Does It Cost to get from JFK to Manhattan?
If you take a taxi from JFK to Manhattan, it will cast around $60.00, which is a set fare of $52.00, plus tip (which should be 15% or $8.00), any bridge/tunnel tolls, and a surcharge of $4.50 on weekdays between 4:00 pm and 8:00 pm.
If you decide to take the Airtrain to Jamaica station though, the trip from JFK to Manhattan will cost $10.50 per person if you take the E train and between $12.25 and $15.50 per person if you take the LIRR from Jamaica Station to Penn Station.
Can you get a Train from JFK to Manhattan? How do I take the Subway from JFK to Manhattan?
Yes! Although, the subway won’t take you directly from JFK to Manhattan. What you’ll have to do is take the AirTrain to either Jamaica Station or Howard Beach Station. Next, you’ll board either the E train at Jamaica Station or the A train at Howard Beach station and then take the train into Manhattan.
And there you have it, folks. Because this just about concludes my insanely comprehensive guide on how to get from JFK to Manhattan.
I hope you found it useful and are infinitely less stressed about traveling between JFK and Manhattan.
Also, if you found this post even a little bit helpful. then feel free to pin it now (hint, hint, so that you can read it again later (insert an obnoxious winkie emoji here).