How to get from JFK to Manhattan

jfk to manhattan

JFK to Manhattan.

If you’re like me, and you’re always looking to travel reasonably and affordably – this post is for you. There are multiple ways to get around from JFK to Manhattan, some more expensive than others. You can take the Subway, LIRR, MTA Bus, Shuttles or rental car. If you’re like me and trying save a few bucks, especially in NYC, public transport is the way to go.

MTA Card

Whether you’re traveling from JFK to Manhattan, EWR/LGA to Manhattan or within Manhattan you’ll need an MTA Card to use public transport.

  • The MTA Card allows for a free transfer between subways and buses within two hours of payment. Transfers from the Subway/Bus to the Air Train are not valid and you will need to pay for both portions.
  • The MTA Card costs $1 if you don’t have one already and is valid for a year.
  • MTA Cards can be purchased at any subway station at the counter or using a kiosk. Kiosks accept both cash and card. MTA Cards can also be refilled at kiosks.
  • You can load the card with ‘value’ or ‘time’.
    • Time – You can pay a set price for unlimited use of your card for a day, week or month. You will not be able to share the card however (unless you’re willing to wait). You can swipe an unlimited card once per station every 18 minutes.
    • Value – You can load in increments of $2.75, or in increments of $10. You are able to share a card loaded with value as you’re paying per ride.

The Air Train

Air Train Information

  • The AirTrain connects JFK to Manhattan via the Long Island Rail Road, subway,  or local buses. You can also access other terminals within the airport with the Air Train.
  • The Air Train has three routes:
    1. the Airline Terminal Route that stops at all terminals.
    2. The Howard Station Route (A).
    3. the Jamaica Station Route (D).
  • Both the Howard Station and Jamaica Station Routes stop at Federal Circle (C).
  • The Air Train is easy to find on the same level as ground transportation & makes clear announcements of which train (Airline, Howard, or Jamaica) is currently departing.

Air Train Stops

  • Air Train to Howard Station (A) for subway.
  • AirTrain to Lefferts Blvd (B) for Long Term Parking, and buses.
  • AirTrain to Federal Circle (C) for Rental Cars, and airport hotel shuttles.
  • Air Train to Jamaica Station (D) for LIRR, subway and local buses.
  • AirTrain to Terminal 5 for local buses.

Air Train Cost

  • The AirTrain to Federal Circle, and Lefferts Blvd, and various terminals including Terminal 5 are free.
  • The AirTrain to Jamaica for the LIRR and Subway Station costs $5 a person in addition to a $1 fee for an MTA card if you don’t have one already.
  • The fare is paid at Jamaica Station. If you are leaving the airport it will be on your exit, however, if you are heading to the airport it will be on your entrance.

LIRR – Jamaica Station

LIRR Information

To get from JFK to Manhattan using the LIRR, you must take the Air Train to Jamaica Station.

  •  From Jamaica Station get on a train heading to Penn Station for Manhattan. Penn Station is located in Midtown Manhattan at 34st 7th/8th Avenue.
  • Jamaica to Penn Station will take approximately 20 minutes.
  • While operated by the MTA the LIRR does not accept MTA Cards. Your ticket will be specific to LIRR.
  • Fares vary based on time of day (off peak/peak), and zones traveled. Refer to the LIRR Trip Planner for a detailed overview.
    • Peak Fares – any weekday train scheduled to arrive in NYC station between 6am-10am and scheduled to leave NYC Station between 4pm-8pm.
    • Off Peak Fares – any time other than peak, and weekends.

LIRR Cost (Jamaica – Penn Station).

  • Single Peak Fare/person – $10.25
  • Round Trip Peak Fare/person – $$20.50
  • Single Off Peak Fare/person – $7.50
  • Round Trio Off/person – $15.00
  • Purchase tickets prior to boarding the train because they are more expensive on board. Tickets can be purchased at the counter, a kiosk, or using the MTA eTix app, or on board the train.
    • Tickets purchased on board trains are cash only.
    • Kiosks are quick and easy and will provide a printed ticket.
    • If using the MTA eTix app be sure to validate your ticket prior to boarding the train.

Subway (JFK to Manhattan).

Subway Information

To get from JFK to Manhattan using the subway you must take the Air Train to either Jamaica Station or Howard Beach to transfer for the subway.

  1. At Jamaica Station, take the elevator/escalators to the underground level where you can switch to Sutphin-Boulevard Archer Station.E towards World Trade” for Midtown Manhattan and Upper Queens. Total trip should take a little more than an hour to get to Midtown Manhattan.
    • J towards Brooklyn&Manhattan” for Queens, Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan. Total trip should take about an hour and a half to get to lower Manhattan.
    • “J/Z towards Jamaica Center” for Jamaica, Queens. Total trip should take about 5 minutes to get to Jamaica, Queens.
  2. At Howard Beach, you can switch to the Howard Beach-JFK Station.A train towards Brooklyn & Manhattan” for Brooklyn and lower Manhattan. Total trip should take about an hour.
    • “A train towards Far Rockaway” for Queens. Total trip should take about an hour.

Subway Cost

  • Subway swipes are paid using MTA Cards only.
  • Fares cost $2.75/person per ride unless using an unlimited MTA Card. Expect an additional $1 charge when purchasing an MTA Card if you don’t have one already.

Buses (JFK to Manhattan).

Bus Information

To get from JFK to Manhattan via bus you need to first take the Air Train to a respective station. Then you can board your desired bus.

  • Howard Beach (A) for bus Q11.
  • Lefferts Blvd (B) for buses B15, Q10 Ltd.
  • Terminal 5 for buses B15, Q3, Q10, Q10 Ltd.
  • Jamaica Station (D) for buses Q6, Q8, Q9, Q10 Ltd., Q20, Q24, Q25, Q30, Q31, Q34, Q40, Q41, Q43 Ltd, Q44, Q54, Q56, Q60, Q65 Ltd.

Bus Cost

  • Bus fares can be paid using MTA Cards or exact change. Not all buses accept cash.
  • Fares cost $2.75/person per ride unless using an unlimited MTA Card. Expect an additional $1 charge when purchasing an MTA Card if you don’t have one already.

JFK To LaGuardia Airport

Have a connection at La Guardia Airport? No worries, there are a few ways to get there depending on how much time you have!

  • NYC Airporter: $17. Takes about 30-45 minutes.
  • Public Transport: $7.25AirTrain to Jamaica Station ($5). E train towards Manhattan – get off at Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Av ($2.75), switch to the Q70 SBS bus to LaGuardia Airport. The Q70 SBS requires a paper ticket, simply put your metro card in the ticket machine by the bus stop and a receipt will be printed using your free transfer.
    • Takes about an hour.
  • Taxi/Uber/Lyft: Roughly $40
    • Takes about 30-45 minutes


how to get from jfk to manhattan

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