Monday, September 14, 2015

A Comprehensive Guide to New York City Airports

At the beginning of every semester, I anxiously await the final exams schedule’s release. I check flights for price drops rather religiously and think to myself whether or not I should take the plunge. Living cross-country from Fordham most definitely has its drawbacks, but I feel lucky to be able to call two very different places home. Additionally, with all of the flying I have done since I began here, I’ve become an expert of airlines, airports, flight preferences, and packing. So, for all of us who know the struggle of travel all too well, here’s a look at the experience of flying out of NYC’s three major airports.
Hello, JFK!

LaGuardia Airport (Queens, NY): 
Ideal Passenger: Local Traveller, Connecting Flight Traveller
Ah, LaGuardia: outdated architecture, and a beautiful pocket of time travel. The closest airport to Manhattan by distance, the airport is set to be completely overhauled over the course of the next few years. I lovingly refer to LaGuardia as “the maze.” While LaGuardia doesn’t bring the amenities, it does what it sets out to do with moderate efficiency. For all intents and purposes, LGA is a short-trip domestic airport, and probably your best bet if you’re not going too far, or taking a connecting fight within the US. From LC, LaGuardia is accessible by taking the Queens bound Q Train to Astoria Boulevard and transferring to the M60 Select Bus Service for free if you’ve swiped your MetroCard in the last two hours. (Note: This may not be fun if you have lots of luggage because there’s some pretty substantial stairs to climb down at this station) Cabs to LaGuardia from Manhattan run about $45 at a flat rate.

John F. Kennedy International Airport (Queens, NY): 
Ideal Passenger: Long Distance Traveller, Cost Effective Traveller
Aside from the construction occurring on the runways at (most) every given time, JFK proves to be a simple, reliable airport. JFK is probably the easiest to navigate and has lots of options for food and entertainment while you await your flight. Since I fly cross-country and prefer direct flights, JFK normally supplies the highest volume of flights at the cheapest cost. JFK is substantially busier than its smaller Queens cousin LaGuardia, so when flying out of here, it’s essential to account for travel time, check-in, and security to avoid a nervous breakdown in one of the nation’s most high traffic airports. Also note: in cases of bad weather, smaller airports will experience cancellations first, which is where and international airport like this one comes in particularly handy. From Manhattan, JFK is highly accessible via public transportation. But wait! Be careful! The A train connects to the AirTran at JFK, but it’s essential to choose a Howard Beach-JFK bound or Far Rockaway bound A train, and not a Lefferts Boulevard bound train. Do not board a Lefferts Boulevard bound train. You will not make it to the AirTran, and you will be sad. However, if you have made this error, a connection to the Q10 bus is possible! The A train to the AirTran takes about an hour and ten minutes from Columbus Circle to your specific gate, and the fare for the subway and the AirTran comes to a combined total of $7.75. A cab to JFK from Manhattan will cost you around $60, but traffic at most times will make for a longer trip.

Newark Liberty Airport (Newark, NJ): 
Ideal Passenger: Long Distance Traveller
Newark Airport is located about 14 miles from Midtown Manhattan and claims the title as one of the oldest airports in the nation, and also the busiest in the NYC/NJ Metro Area. Be warned, this place is BIG, so make sure to leave enough time for yourself if you're ever trying to make a connecting flight elsewhere out of Newark, because if you have to change terminals, it will take some time. From Manhattan, Newark has easy access from the west side because of its proximity to New Jersey. However, when travelling back to Manhattan from Newark, be advised that New York City Yellow Cabs are not permitted to pick up, and therefore you will have to use a New Jersey cab as well as cover the charge of the toll to re-enter Manhattan. By public transit, the equation becomes pretty simple! From Penn Station, you can hop aboard a New Jersey Transit train for $12.50, which includes the cost of boarding the AirTran once you enter the airport’s radius. Be sure to ask at the window when the next departing train to Newark Airport is if you are not familiar with NJT’s system. Like JFK, Newark has a high volume of flights and extreme passenger traffic, so plan ahead.

All and all, you'll always be ready when you know what you're getting into! May your travels always be safe and stress free!

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