JFK

John F. Kennedy International Airport (T1)

New York, US

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Getting around the airport

JFK

John F Kennedy International Airport is located in Queen's, New York City, 20km south-east of lower Manhattan, and is the busiest international gateway to the US.  

It has six separate terminal buildings, numbered 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 8 (Terminals 3 and 6 were demolished) and laid out in an anti-clockwise circle:

  • Terminal 1: European and some Asian airlines
  • Terminal 2: Delta Airlines flights only
  • Terminal 4: Delta Airlines, many Asian airlines and some European airlines
  • Terminal 5: JetBlue only
  • Terminal 7: Mostly British Airways flights, plus some international and American carriers
  • Terminal 8: Mostly American Airlines, plus some European, Asian and American carriers

Note: If you're connecting between terminals, you'll mostly need to exit security, then walk or use a shuttle bus or train to get to the other terminal, then re-clear security - so make sure you allow plenty of time to get your connecting flight.

Travelling between terminals

The landside AirTrain JFK shuttle takes you between terminals, car parks, hotel shuttle areas, rental car centre and to the external Jamaica and Howard Beach stations for connections to public transport. It's free for trips within the airport, but you'll have to pay for connections to other rail stations. There are stations across from all terminal buildings, except in Terminal 4 where the station is inside the building.

Trains run 24 hours a day, every 7-12 minutes at peak times, and every 10-15 minutes at off-peak times.

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Getting into New York

Get on the AirTrain and change

There are buses (JFK airport bus to Port Authority Bus Terminal) and plenty of taxis, but the best way to travel to the city is by train.

Train

The AirTrain airport shuttle connects you with MTA New York City Transit subways, buses and the Long Island Rail Road.

Get off at Jamaica Station and change to the NYC Subway's E Train for midtown Manhattan and western Queens, or the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) for Penn Station, Queens and Brooklyn. Or, get off at Howard Beach Station and change to the A train for southern Queens, Brooklyn and lower Manhattan. Journey time is around 50 minutes.

Tip: The LIRR is more expensive than the subway, but is a more comfortable and quicker way to get to Manhattan.

Cost: USD 5 for the AirTrain plus USD 2.75 for the subway (USD 1 extra if you buy a MetroCard), or USD 15 for the combined AirTrain/LIRR ticket 
Buying tickets: Don't buy your ticket before you board the AirTrain, but when you get off at Jamaica or Howard Beach 
Location: 
Get on the AirTrain at any station in your terminal or car park

Taxi

New York's famous yellow cabs offer a more convenient but far more expensive journey into the city. All cabs now accept credit cards, so even if a driver asks you to pay in cash, feel free to insist on paying by card. Journey time to midtown Manhattan can range from 35-90 minutes, depending on traffic.

Cost: USD 52 flat-fare to Manhattan (plus tolls and 15-20% tip)
Location: Taxi ranks outside each terminal (don't accept offers from anyone in the terminal)

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Get through passport control faster

No TSA Pre-Check

The TSA Pre-Check for expedited screening is not available in Terminal 1. The shortest line for passport control is Line 3 – it’s hidden behind a pole so passengers tend to miss it.

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Eat before arriving

Mediocre food options

Travellers consistently rate Terminal 1 as the least appetizing for food. Eat before arriving or plan on travelling to Terminal 4 or 5 for better dining options. You can also try Eat & Go Istanbul (between Gate 5 - 7); they serve primarily Turkish food and on their best days manage to satisfy customers.

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No hotels at JFK

No hotel shuttle service to terminals

All hotels at JFK are located outside of the airport, scattered randomly around a neighborhood that isn't on most visitors' to-do lists.

In addition, hotels are not allowed to offer shuttle service to the terminals, instead stopping outside of the center of the airport at the Federal Circle AirTrain station, a bit of a walk from some terminals.

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Lounges

Wait in comfort

The following airside lounges are available:

Available to non-members

  • Delta Sky Club, Terminal 2, mezzanine level. Cost: USD 50. Hours: 05:00-20:45.
  • Delta Sky Club, Terminal 4, Concourse, near Gate 31. Cost: USD 50.
  • The JFK Lounge, Terminal 4. For select first-class passengers, or USD 40 per person (USD 20 for children) for other passengers. Hours: 04:00-01:30 daily.
  • Airspace Lounge, Terminal 5, between Gates 24-25. Showers available. Cost: USD 25. Hours: 04:00-23:00.
  • United Club, Terminal 7, above Gates 7 and 8. Cost: USD 50. 
  • American Airlines Admirals Club, Terminal 8, international departures, Concourse B, mezzanine level. Cost: USD 50. Hours: 04:30-23:30.
  • American Airlines Admirals Club, Terminal 8, domestic departures, remote Concourse C, Level 3, across from Gate 42. Cost: USD 50. Hours: 04:00-21:30.

Members only

  • KAL Business Class Lounge, Terminal 1, across from Gate 3. Available to Priority Pass members. Showers available. Hours: 14:00-20:30.
  • Lufthansa Lounge, Terminal 1.
  • Wingtips Lounge, Terminal 4. Available to Priority Pass members. Hours: 24 hours.
  • United Services Organization (USO) Club, Terminal 5, near baggage claim. For members of the military and their families. Hours: 05:00-23:00.
  • British Airways Lounge, Terminal 5. Hours: Sat-Thu 05:00-00:00, Fri 05:00-00:15. 
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Baggage Storage

Store your luggage in JFK

If you’re looking to store your bags and head in to the city, then there is luggage storage located in Terminal 1 Arrivals on the first floor, Terminal 4 Arrivals on the first floor and Terminal 8 for passengers of American Airlines.

Call ahead for hours of operation and rates.

T1 - (+1718) 751-2947)

T4 - (+1718) 751-4020)  

T8 - (+1718) 995-9292)

Luggage wrapping is also available in Terminal 4 in the Arrivals Lobby.

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Showers

Head to the lounges

You can freshen up in these two lounges:

  • Airspace Lounge
    Showers available. Cost: USD 25.
    Terminal 5, airside, between Gates 24-25.
    Hours: 04:00-23:00.
  • KAL Business Class Lounge 
    Available to Priority Pass members. Showers available. 
    Terminal 1, airside, across from Gate 3
    Hours: 14:00-20:30.
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Power outlets

Charge your devices for free

JFK now provides 44 new power stations, located at:

Terminal 1, airside, gates 5, 7 and 8

Terminal 4, airside, all gates

Terminal 7, airside, arrivals

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Save on Your Car Rental

Lowest Price Guaranteed

There are rental car desks and courtesy phones on the Arrivals level of each terminal, near baggage claim.
To pick up your car, you'll need to take the free AirTrain to Federal Circle Station.

You can rent from these companies (with phone numbers):

  • Advantage: 800 777 5500
  • Alamo: 888 233 8749
  • Avis: 718 244 5406/800 230 4898
  • Budget: 718 656 1890/800 527 0700
  • Dollar: 800 800 4000
  • Enterprise: 718 553 7013/800 736 8222
  • Hertz: 718 656 7600/800 654 3131
  • National: 718 632 8300/888 826 6890
  • Payless: 800 729 5377
  • Thrifty: 800 331 3550

Note: It's worth finding out if your car will have an E-ZPass installed, for automatic toll payments, as that will make life a lot easier when driving on toll roads in the area.

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Plane Spotting

Viewing point with food

If you have a long wait at any of the terminals, we suggest you take the AirTrain to Terminal 1 and hang out on the upper level food court.

You can grab something to eat and watch the planes coming and going across all runways.

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Bird Watch in Jamaica Bay

Long layover

JFK Airport perches on the northeastern edge of Jamaica Bay, part of Long Island. Part of the bay is protected by the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, which covers over 9,000 acres of salt marsh, grasslands, fresh and brackish ponds, and open water. Here, you can spot birds from some 330 species - like osprey and bald eagles, known to frequent the area.

You won't be able to take public transportation here, so hail a cab or car service outside the terminal and travel the 5km to the refuge's Visitor Center. Here, you can hike trails alone or participate in a ranger-led programme.

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Queens Botanical Garden

Long layover

Eight miles north of JFK is the Queens Botanical Gardens, part of an exhibit for the 1939 World's Fair.

The gardens contain 39 acres of roses, herbs, perennials, seasonal gardens and bee habitat. Several walking paths wind through the area, making for a relaxing way to take in natural surroundings before or after time in the concrete jungle.

Travel here by cab or via the Q44 or Q20 buses, both of which connect to the JFK AirTrain.

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Visit Rockaway Beach

Long Layover

How about a day (or an hour, at least) at Rockaway beach? From the A train station in Howard Beach - easily accessed via the AirTrain from your terminal - it's just two stops to Beach 90th Street, where you can hop off and enjoy the sandy beaches of New York. The summer is very much in full swing, with portions of the famous boardwalk restored after Hurricane Sandy.

Hungry? Grab a bite at Rockaway Taco, a charming shack that managed to survive the storm. Located on Beach 96th Street, between the train station and the beach, it is popular with local surfers and hip young things who've been making The Rockaways their summer hangout in recent years, bringing a cool new vibe to the area.

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