John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is one of the busiest airports in the United States. It is also the first taste of New York City that most passengers get when flying to the United States. The airport is located in Queens and is 20km (12 miles) from Manhattan, where most tourist attractions are located.
JFK Airport is well stocked with every type of amenity a passenger could ask for. There are loads of shops, restaurants and bars at the airport, as well as hotels, parking and public transport facilities. However, busy airports often forget the finer details and JFK is no exception. Passengers may find it less than user-friendly at times, mostly due to its large size, and the enormous volume of passengers filing through on domestic and international flights (more than 46 million each year).
With eight terminals, flights to John F Kennedy International Airport are easy to come by on most major airlines. Passengers booking flights with American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue and Evergreen International Airlines should find it easy to get a flight to JFK Airport as all these airlines use the airport as a regional hub.
John F Kennedy International Airport is not only a gateway to the Big Apple – for many, it is a gateway to the United States. Although big, the airport is well equipped to deal with loads of passengers and using JFK should not be a daunting experience.
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The fastest, cheapest and easiest way to transfer between terminals at JFK International Airport is by AirTrain. The AirTrain connects to all the terminals as well as car parks, hotels, rental facilities and even to parts of New York City in general. It is free to use the AirTrain in and around the airport, but a charge is levied when using it to get to other parts of the city. The trains leave every ten minutes and it takes two minutes to get from stop to stop.
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Train: Passengers taking the train at JFK have two choices: the AirTrain or the NYC Subway and Long Island Railroad. The AirTrain connects to different parts of the airport free of charge; it also connects to three stations in Manhattan and costs between $7.25 and $13.75. The NYC Subway connects to all parts of the city. It is run by the MTA and tickets start at $2.25. JFK Airport is located at both Jamaica Station and Howard Beach Station on New York’s subway lines. The subway operates around the clock, but passengers arriving at odd times should be wary of taking the subway to outlying areas or potentially unsafe parts of the city.
Taxis: Some would say New York is known for its feisty taxi drivers and the airport is no exception. Taxis can be booked through the Transportation Information Counters on the arrivals level of each terminal. Taxis operate between the terminals at fares between $4 and $12. Passengers should always tip taxi drivers in New York (or risk some degree of verbal abuse). A peak time surcharge of $1 applies for trips from the airport between 4pm and 8pm, while a $0.50 surcharge is added for trips between 8pm and 6am. Taxis also add a state tax of $0.50 for most trips within NYC. Passengers can expect to pay a flat fare of $45 for trips to Manhattan, trips to the Bronx range from $39 to $55 and trips to Brooklyn cost $34 to $52. A cab to Queens will set you back $20 to $27 and Staten Island taxis cost $54 to $64. Passengers taking a cab to LaGuardia Airport generally cost between $28 and $32 and taxis to Newark Liberty International Airport attract a $15 surcharge on top of the $78 to $82 fare. Passengers are expected to pay all tolls en route to or from the airport.
Bus: The MTA operates a number of bus services to and from JFK International Airport. The bus fare, like the subway fare, starts at $2.25 and passengers are required to produce the exact change. Bus stops can be found on the east side of Terminal 4’s arrivals roadway. Buses Q10, Q3 and B15 all operate from JFK International, as does the NYC Airporter Bus, which runs every 30 minutes between the bus terminal, Grand Central Station and Penn Station. The Airporter bus costs $15.75. Many of the nearby hotels also offer courtesy shuttles to and from the airport.
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While there is no parking in front of the terminals for pick-ups and drop-offs, there is a cellphone car park just five minutes from all the terminals. Parking options at JFK International Airport range from Short-term (daily) parking to long-term parking. The daily parking garages, known as the Green, Blue, Yellow, Orange and Red parking lots, are adjacent to each of the terminals. Short-term parking costs $3 for the first 30 minutes, $6 for one hour and $3 per hour thereafter up to $33 per day. The long-term parking is located 4 miles (6km) from the terminals, but it is connected to the terminals via the AirTrain service. Long-term parking starts at $18 for the first day and then $6 per day thereafter. Passengers with disabilities can park in the short-term parking lot and the same short-term rates apply except that the daily rate is $18 rather than $33. Concessions are available for EZ Pass holders.
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An information counter is located in the arrivals lobby of Terminal 4 and Terminal 5’s arrivals area has a Welcome Centre. Staff generally speak English and Spanish. Port of Call management kiosks or information desks are located in each terminal and the red-jacketed staff are always willing to offer assistance and advice. There are also Travellers Aid services in Terminal 4, 6, 7 and 8.
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Money and communications: ATMs and currency exchange facilities are available in all the terminals. Public telephones and post boxes are also available at the airport.
Luggage: All the terminals have baggage trolleys. The JFK Police Desk handles lost-and-found queries; it is located in building 269. Lost-and-found desks are also located in arrivals in a few of the terminals, such as Terminal 4. Baggage storage is available in the arrivals areas of Terminal 1, 3, 4, 5 and 8 as well as at the hotels counter in area B of Terminal 3. Secure Wrap offers baggage-wrapping services in Terminal 4 on the departures level.
Conference and business: Business facilities at JFK International Airport include fax, photocopying and FedEx services. Conference facilities at the airport are best booked via one of the airport hotels such as the Sheraton JFK Airport Hotel or the Marriott. Terminal 6 and the lounges only allow business services to passengers with membership cards.
Other facilities: Interfaith chapels, first-aid facilities, baby-changing rooms, paging services, shoeshine services, manicures, showers, power outlets, vending machines, phone rental kiosks, airline lounges and spas.
Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi is available on a pay-as-you-go system costing $4.95 per hour or $7.95 for a day pass lasting 24 hours. Monthly subscriptions are also available. Boingo also provides Wi-Fi through hotspots at the airport, such as in the British Airways lounge. JetBlue Terminal 6 provides free Wi-Fi to passengers.
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