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NYC AirTrain Closures: How to Get to JFK Without It

September 10, 2013 by

Getting to JFK Without AirTrainAsk any New Yorker how they get to John F. Kennedy airport in Queens and they’ll probably mention the convenient AirTrain that connects multiple subway lines and the Long Island Railroad to the airport. But for a six-week period (from September 7 to October 17), you’ll encounter big service suspensions on the AirTrain’s route to the airport. So, how do you get to JFK without the AirTrain? Here are a few ways:

1. Via the subway or LIRR, then connect to a shuttle bus:

AirTrain outages will impact the entire line, or just sections, depending on the day. You can still take the LIRR and A, E, J, or Z subway lines to the Howard Beach and Jamaica stations. From there, connect to shuttle buses that will take you directly to the terminals. According to the Port Authority of NY and NJ, “When the entire system is closed, buses will take travelers between Federal Circle Station and the [terminals] and within the [terminal area] when partial closures are in effect. Customer Care Representatives will help guide travelers onto the buses designated for travel to and from their desired airline terminals.” In other words, you’ll need to take a few extra buses to get where you’re going, but you can still use public transportation. Leave some extra time to get to the airport in case of traffic or shuttle bus delays.

2. Via taxi:

While it’s not the most economical way to get to the airport, it may be the easiest option. Just make sure your driver knows about an additional complication: The JFK Expressway is closed for construction this weekend (September 13–15). All traffic will be detoured to the Van Wyck Expressway, which will add time to your commute. Also, if you’re taking a cab during peak travel times (in the morning or after work), budget extra time to get too or from the airport.

3. Via subway, then connect to a local bus:

Compared to taking the replacement shuttle buses, this bus-subway option will likely provide you with a smoother connection to and from the airport. Local buses from the airport connect with subway lines: the Q10 connects to A at Lefferts Blvd. and the E and F trains at Kew Gardens, the Q3 connects to NYC-bound F trains at 169th St. and Hillside Ave., and the B15 connects to 3 and 4 NYC-bound trains at New Lots and Livonia Aves. At the airport, all buses pick up and drop off at Terminal 5, so you’ll have to take shuttle buses to the other terminals.

4. Via Airporter:

If you’re looking for a fast and convenient way to get to or from the airport from Penn Station, Grand Central, or Port Authority, the Airporter bus is a good option. The coach buses run about every 30 minutes from each terminal; they’re agents can be found outside baggage claim or at their designated desk near the Ground Transportation Welcome Center in each terminal. Tickets can be purchased online or in-person. One-way tickets cost $16, while a round-trip is typically $32, but look for their seasonal promotions. They can save you a few dollars. As an added bonus, all the buses have free Wi-Fi, and if you’re getting dropped off in Manhattan, Airporter provides free transfers to many midtown hotels (located between 23rd and 63rd Streets). Travel time is dependent upon traffic, but generally you can get to or from the airport in about 90 minutes.

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