Take the Train to the JFK Plane - How to Get the JFK AirTrain

FAQs About the JFK Airport AirTrain

Delta Air Lines Terminal At JFK Airport
••• Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images

The train to JFK Airport is officially the AirTrain JFK, and it brings riders to and from the airport via two subway stations and the LIRR (Long Island Railroad). There is no subway that stops directly at JFK Airport. You need to switch from the subway (or LIRR) to the AirTrain in order to reach the airport.

No Direct Train Between JFK and Manhattan

There is no direct connection between JFK Airport and Manhattan.

You have to switch from the train that directly serves the airport, to a subway or commuter train (LIRR).

How Much Does the JFK Train Cost?

Cost: $5 one way (not including connecting subway/train)

The train ticket does not transfer to the subway, bus, or LIRR. Subway or bus is another $2; the LIRR cost depends on the train station.

Total Cost From JFK to Manhattan:

  • By AirTrain and subway: $7 one way ($5 + $2)
  • By AirTrain and LIRR (Penn Station): $12.25 peak / $10.25 off-peak ($5 + $7.25/$5.25)

Where Does It Connect?

There are two AirTrain routes. One connects JFK to Jamaica (and the LIRR and E, J, Z subways). The other connects JFK to Howard Beach (A subway).

How Often Does It Run?

About every 10 minutes.

How Long Does It Take?

It's a 10-minute ride from Jamaica to JFK and about 10 minutes from Howard Beach to JFK.

  • To Manhattan - AirTrain and LIRR: 35-50 minutes, depends on schedules and connections
  • To Manhattan - AirTrain and subway: At least one hour

Where Is the Train at JFK?

You can board the AirTrain at each terminal. Follow the signs marked AirTrain. You do not pay when boarding at JFK; you will pay when exiting at Howard Beach, Lefferts Boulevard, or Jamaica. It's free to ride the AirTrain between the terminals or to the car rental at JFK.

Where Is Station C?

Federal Circle and Station C are the same location. Many maps at JFK only mention one or the other, but they are the same location.

AirTrain to the Car Rental at JFK

It's free and very convenient to take the AirTrain to Federal Circle (Station C), where you can find the car rental agencies. If you take AirTrain past Federal Circle, you'll need to pay.

JFK AirTrain to Subway and LIRR at Jamaica Station

At Jamaica Station, connect to the LIRR for the fastest ride to Manhattan. It's also more expensive. Follow the signs to the LIRR platform. The AirTrain and LIRR buildings are connected. You can buy tickets from a machine, or walk across the LIRR platform and take the elevator to the ground floor to the ticket window.

Cheaper, but longer, is the subway. Follow the signs across the LIRR platform and down the elevator to the subway level. The Sutphin Boulevard station is below the LIRR. Take the E (express through Queens) for Midtown Manhattan or central and western Queens. Take the J or Z subways for Brooklyn and lower Manhattan.

Train From JFK to Howard Beach and Lefferts Boulevard

The Howard Beach Route AirTrain stops at both Lefferts Boulevard and Howard Beach. There's long-term parking at both.

From Howard Beach catch the A subway to Brooklyn, Manhattan, Aqueduct Racetrack, or the Rockaways. The Lefferts Boulevard AirTrain stop does not connect to the subway, only to bus B15.

  • Important: Taking the A to the AirTrain at Howard Beach? You must be on an A subway marked "Far Rockaway - Mott Avenue Branch."

Which AirTrain/subway connection is best for going to Manhattan from JFK? I'd say the E, but the A might be okay for lower Manhattan. The LIRR route is the fastest one with the least stops (and therefore the least stress).