Deciding which airport to fly in or out of in New York City isn’t a new question, but there are some new considerations right now as far as construction.
As if you didn’t have enough to worry about when traveling, like taking rideshare safety measures and ensuring you give yourself enough time to get through security, now in New York, you can also factor in the extra time construction is going to add to your trip.
If you’ve never been to New York, deciding where to fly in or out of can be especially tricky.
What Are Your Choices?
There are three options, which are John F. Kennedy International Airport or JFK, which is in South Queens.
Newark is located in New Jersey, and then there’s LaGuardia, which is in northern Queens.
In general, a few things to think about:
- Newark is pretty “blah” as far as food and other in-airport amenities go, but it is a United Hub. Newark can also be the best option if you’re going to the west side of Manhattan, but if you’re going to Queens or Brooklyn, choose another airport. If you want to take public transportation you can use Penn Station and there are the Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast Lines that will take you to and from Newark. There’s also the Newark Airport Express shuttle from midtown Manhattan to all Newark terminals. If you’re doing a taxi, you’ll probably pay anywhere from $50 to $70 to get to Manhattan, and you can get an Uber ride for cheaper in most cases.
- LaGuardia is undergoing renovations, which we’ll get into later. It’s good for domestic flights, and it’s the closest airport if you’re going to parts of Brooklyn as well as uptown and midtown Manhattan. If you’re relying on public transportation, skip LaGuardia. You’ll need to take a bus.
- JFK provides close proximity to lower Brooklyn and eastern Queens. JFK also works for people who like lounges and dining at the airport. Plus, JFK is JetBlue’s home base airport. JFK is also undergoing renovations to the tune of $13 billion, and they’re going to be adding two new international terminals as part of that project. If you’re traveling by public transport to or from the airport, JFK makes it easiest. There’s the AirTrain, which will connect you to Manhattan’s Penn Station for under $10.
Traveling to or from LaGuardia is particularly challenging and confusing to navigate right now.
First, give yourself plenty of time to get in and out of the airport once you land or before you take off. Construction traffic is terrible.
If you’re arriving at LaGuardia, you’ll have to follow lines to find your rideshare vehicle. There are usually sections that are dedicated to different rideshare companies and where they depend on your terminal and sometimes the time of day. You’ll have a long walk to wherever your car is waiting too.
Then comes the even more confusing part—cabs.
You currently can’t walk outside the airport and grab a cab. If you want a yellow cab, you instead have to take your luggage and get on a shuttle. The shuttle then takes you to an area well away from terminals where you can line up for a yellow cab.
This applies to all terminals right now.
On days when there’s not a lot of volume, you may be able to get a taxi at Terminal B without using the shuttle, but it just depends on what’s going on at any given time.
Which is the Worst NYC Airport?
So, if we’re going to start really calling airports out, may people feel LaGuardia is the worst. The construction is that bad right now, plus this airport has some of the most delays and cancellations of any airport in the country. It’s also only reachable by bus, and if you’ve ever traveled in NYC by bus, you know that in and of itself is a challenge.
JFK is okay with some good restaurants, but customs and passport control may take you longer than you’d like.
Newark isn’t bad because you can reach it fairly quickly via Penn Station, and Terminal C was refurbished and is a nice modern place to wait for our plane.
Overall any airport is going to come with its own headaches and challenges, and of course, it’s understandable that New York airports would have their fair share with so many people in and out of the city on any given day.