Trains from and to New York Airport
Although JFK Airport doesn’t house a train station inside or adjacent to its terminal premises, it is well connected to the city of New York via the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). Offering direct transfers to midtown Manhattan, the LIRR departs from the nearby Jamaica Station, lying only a 15-minute ride in the AirTrain away from JFK. Despite being costlier than the subway, LIRR has more space for luggage, and it is considered the fastest transit option for journeys from JFK to downtown NYC.
LIRR is the busiest commuter train in the northern part of America, with 735 everyday routes. When traveling with lots of luggage, however, it may not be the ideal way of transport, as some stations in the city (just a few of them to be exact) don’t have elevators, but are only served by stairs. What’s more, if traveling with a company or children, LIRR may not be the best value-for-money option. Verily, a NYC taxi will end up somewhat pricier than LIRR, when splitting the fare or buying more than four tickets. For instance, a family of 4 will have to buy 4 tickets paying 57$/57€ in total, while a taxi ride to Manhattan and a JFK private transfer will be slightly costlier.
The JFK Airport Train
If you opt for the fast and quite convenient Long Island Railroad for your transfer from JFK Airport to your destination in New York, you’ll have to first take the AirTrain. The AirTrain calls at all JFK terminals on a 24/7 basis, with routes every 7 minutes during peak hours and every 15 minutes when the airport’s passenger traffic is low. Hence, you won’t face any difficulties in reaching the terminal’s AirTrain stop after retrieving your luggage or finding an available route either. The traveling time from JFK terminals to Jamaica Station is around 15 minutes. Even though AirTrain is free for inside-the-airport transfers, rides to Jamaica Station cost 8$/8€.
After reaching Jamaica Station, you’ll hop on the Long Island Railroad to Penn Station in midtown Manhattan. The train passes through Brooklyn and also calls at Long Island City Station while providing connections to Atlantic Terminal. With an almost 3-minute frequency during rush hours and a 5-20-minute frequency during off-peak hours, LIRR operates around the clock and needs around 20 minutes to reach Manhattan, making the total duration (including the AirTrain transfer) from the airport to downtown 35 minutes.
Our Tip: Fortunately both Jamaica and Penn Station are accessible, being equipped with elevators.
JFK Airport Train Ticket Fares and Prices
The AirTrain rides from either of the JFK terminals to Jamaica Station cost 8$/8€. On the other hand, the Long Island Railroad’s tickets vary depending on the time of the day. Thus, during peak hours (06:00 am – 10:00 am on weekdays), an LIRR ticket is priced at 10.75$/10.75€, and the total cost of the airport transfer to NYC is 18.75$/18.75€. During off-peak hours, on weekends and holidays, the LIRR ticket price is 7.75$/7.75€, and the total cost of the transfer is 15.75$/15.75€. During the same time, passengers can opt for a one-way City Ticket costing 5$/5€ (making the transfer fare 13$/13€). However, City Tickets can be used only on the day of the purchase, and they don’t allow a change of train lines (with the same ticket).
A Metrocard, priced at 1$/1€, will be needed for your AirTrain transfer. You can buy one rechargeable Metrocard right before the exit of the AirTrain at Jamaica Station and load it with money. You should use the station’s LIRR ticket machines and not the automatic subway machines (having the word “cheaper” displayed on their upper side). Although Metrocards can’t be used in the commuter train, they can be bought by the LIRR vendors. Using the automatic subway machines in Jamaica Station, you’ll also buy your LIRR ticket. Please keep in mind to save the ticket as you’ll be asked to hand it over to the train conductor.
Our Tip 1: Tickets are also available onboard, but they are pricier, and you’ll have to use the automatic machines for your Metrocard anyway. City tickets can’t be bought onboard.
Our Tip 2: Tickets are also available through the MTA TrainTime App.
Our Tip 3: Children under 5 years of age travel for free, while kids aged 6 to 12 pay half the ticket.
Can I take a train from JFK to the city?
As soon as you reach the AirTrain stop of your landing JFK terminal, you’ll follow the Jamaica Line to Jamaica Station. There, you’ll find the Long Island Railroad, the commuter train that heads to Brooklyn, Long Island, and midtown Manhattan.
How much is train from JFK to Manhattan?
One one-way LIRR ticket costs 10.75$/10/75€ during peak hours, 7.75$/7.75€ during off-peak hours, weekends, and holidays, while the cost of the AirTrain is 8$/8€. Thus, the total cost of your JFK airport train ride from JFK Airport to NYC will vary from 15.75$/15.75€ to 18.75$/18.75€. Moreover, an LIRR City Ticket at 5$/5€ is also available on slow hours, holidays, and weekends. Nevertheless, it doesn’t apply to line changes.