With 128 gates, more than 90 airlines, and flights to over 50 countries, John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) can be understandably overwhelming and intimidating to fly in and out of. Finding your way to the correct terminal can be difficult. Even navigating your way from your vacation rental in New York City to get to the airport can be a challenge. Here’s everything you need to know about JFK Airport.
1. Transportation to JFK
Your most cost-efficient way of getting to JFK, aside from walking, is public transportation. You can take the subway on the A train going Far Rockaway or Rockaway Park-bound or take the E, J, or Z Jamaica Center-bound. During rush hours these trains come between every five and 10 minutes. To ride the subway, you need to get a MetroCard, which is $2.75 for one ride. Note that transfers between subways and buses are free. After you get off of the subway, hop on the AirTrain JFK for $5. The AirTrain comes every four to 10 minutes and is then a 12-minute ride to the airport, so make sure to plan accordingly. If your vacation rental is in Queens or Brooklyn, there are several options for taking the bus and then transferring to either the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) or to the subway.
2. Transportation from JFK
If you are planning to rent a car to explore the Big Apple, you can find either a courtesy phone with instructions for calling car rental companies or a rental car counter by the baggage carousel at Arrivals for most terminals. JFK has several major car rental companies for you to choose from, including Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, and Avis. Make sure to inquire about the company’s policy for paying for tolls, since some cars come with E-ZPass transponders while others may not so you’ll have to bring cash for the toll booths.
If you’d prefer to let someone else do the navigation so that you can relax, consider taking a taxi. There’s a taxi stand outside of each terminal or you can go to the Port Authority Welcome Center for help. If you’re headed to Manhattan from the airport, there is a flat fare of $52 and an additional surcharge of $4.50 during peak hours. If you’re traveling with your family, note that four passengers are the limit for taxis in New York City unless you can find a minivan, which fits five.
Alternatively, you can arrange for private car and limo services at JFK. Connecticut Limousine and Dave’s Best Limo are both authorized airport vehicle services. For a private car, you can use either ExecuCar or Carmel Super Saver. These services are available at self-service kiosks or at the Port Authority Welcome Center, which is by the Arrivals section.
There are six terminals at JFK. Terminal one has 11 gates and includes a variety of airlines including Norwegian Air, Lufthansa, Air China, and Turkish Airlines. Terminal 2 is exclusively for domestic Delta flights, except for flights to San Francisco International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, which are in Terminal 4.
Terminal 4 is also for international Delta flights, as well as other international flights. Terminal 4 also has a mall, three levels, and 38 gates. At Terminal 5 you can find gates one through 31 and several airlines, with JetBlue Airways being the largest one. Are Lingus, TAP Portugal, and Hawaiian Airlines also fly into Terminal 5. Terminal 7 has several airlines, including Qatar Airways, Icelander, British Airways, and more.
Last but not least, Terminal 8 has 29 gates as the largest passenger terminal in the airport. You can find American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Air Berlin, and several other airlines here.
No matter which terminal you find yourself in, you’ll definitely have a wide variety of dining choices to accommodate everyone during that late night meal before a redeye or during that seemingly infinite layover. Terminals 4, 5, and 8 have the most options. Terminal 4 has popular dinner spots such as Buffalo Wild Wings and Panda Express as well as plenty of caffeine with choices such as Peets Coffee & Tea and Dunkin’ Donuts. In Terminal 5 you can find dining locations such as Famous Famiglia Pizzeria, New York Sports Grill, and give Steak. Terminal 8 has restaurants such as Au Bon Pain and O’Neal’s Restaurant as well as food court classics such as McDonald’s and Auntie Anne’s.
JFK has a variety of amenities available to meet the needs of every traveler. Many terminals have charging stations, medical offices, pet relief areas, and baggage storage. There are also many ATMs and Currency Exchange locations. For shopping, you can find everything from Harley-Davidson to Coach and Michael Kors. Additionally, all terminals have a Welcome Center outside of the Arrivals Area. If you need assistance in any way, look for the red jackets of the airport staff.
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