The connections are excellent, and while this route is not luxurious, it is cheap. You can make a one-way trip for the price of a subway/bus ride per person: under $3!
Plan on Transfers
No single bus, subway, or rapid rail directly connects Brooklyn and LaGuardia. However, you can get a bus at the airport and then connect with a subway that comes into Brooklyn. Or, going from Brooklyn to the airport, hop a subway in Brooklyn that takes you to one of two buses that stop at LaGuardia Airport terminals. All it takes is time and a MetroCard fare. (Which buses? See list items 6 and 7 below.)
Schedule Enough Time
Allow a minimum of 75 minutes from Atlantic Ave/Barclays Center subway station in Brooklyn to LaGuardia and vice versa. Your trip will be longer if you are going deep into Brooklyn, or if your Brooklyn address is far from the subway station.
If you use public transit, be aware that not all subway stations have escalators and elevators, so you may have to drag your suitcases up and down stairways in some subway stations. If you're carrying a backpack and small hand luggage, that might not be a problem. Also, be aware that pickpockets do look for people who are carrying a lot of loose items, whose stuff can be jostled easily, and who look uncertain.
Trains Connecting to the LaGuardia Buses
Easy connections can be made from 4, 5, 6, E, F, M, R, 2, 3 trains to the M60 or Q70 buses that go from Queens into LaGuardia, and vice versa.
Cost of Getting to LaGuardia
If you are using the MetroCard, you get free transfers between buses and subways. The bus fare is $3 (MetroCard or exact change required), whenever a single-ride ticket is purchased. When coming into Brooklyn, if you don't have a Metrocard handy, you can get one at a MetroCard vending machine in the airport.
Buses to Take
The M60 bus stops at all terminals at LaGuardia. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with varying frequency. It goes to 106th and Broadway via 125th Street in Manhattan and Astoria Blvd. in Queens. You can connect to good trains that will take you to Brooklyn: the Q subway trains at Hoyt Avenue/31st Street in Queens, and the 4, 5, and 6 subway trains at Lexington Avenue in Manhattan.
Or, take the Q70 Limited or Q47 buses. Connections to the E, F, M, R and 7 trains on the New York City subway at the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue/74 St-Broadway. (If you need the 2 or 3 trains, then take the 7 train to Manhattan and connect with the 2, 3 line at Times Square.) It's fast; the trip between Jackson Heights and LaGuardia Airport is about 10 minutes, and the trains into Manhattan take about 10 minutes. So, within 20 minutes of getting on this express bus, you're in Manhattan and you can hop on your subway to Brooklyn.
As every New Yorker knows, mass transit can be the fastest, cheapest way to go—especially when there's a lot of holiday car traffic. Bus drivers can help you navigate and once you are in the subway system, you can check the maps.
If you need to get to or from LaGuardia late at night, for instance, to take or meet an international flight, check the late night bus and subway schedules to make sure you get there on time. Also, on busy holidays and at rush hour, factor in the possibility that a bus (like any cab) might experience traffic jams and delays, and that subways can be packed during peak hours.
More info/Trip Planner
Call 511 or (888) GO511NY or, better, visit the MTA's Trip Planner which offers real-time travel options, with estimated times depending on the day and hour you'll be en route.
Edited by Alison Lowenstein