How to Get to and From NYC Airports

NYC Gude: Getting to and from the Airport

In the next few months as New York City begins its winter thaw and the city comes alive again, friends and family will be  visiting us in this crazy city we call home. From the very start, there’s a lot to get used to — the sights, sounds, smells (both good and bad), and transportation. The sights, sounds, and smells come later, but you’ve gotta figure out transportation before you even leave the airport. It can all be a bit overwhelming — not to mention pricey. So we wanted to break down all the different options for your next trip to the Big Apple.

NYC Taxi 

Cost to/from JFK: $52 flat rate (plus tolls, the 50-cent MTA State Surcharge, the 30-cent Improvement Surcharge, and tip)

Cost to/from LaGuardia: It depends, although you can kind of figure it out this way: the initial charge is $2.50, plus 50 cents per 1/5 mile or 50 cents per 60 seconds in slow traffic or when the vehicle is stopped. If that just confused you more (like it did me), we paid our cab driver about $30 to make it to the UWS on the day we moved in.

Convenience leaving the airport: It doesn’t get more convenient than taking a cab from the airport. The cabs are all lined up right outside, just waiting for the next passenger.

Convenience going to the airport: Depending on the time of day and your location, it may be hard to find a cab driver to take you to the airport. If you plan to go this route, have a plan B just in case.


Cost to/from JFK: Depending on which Uber car you choose (uberX, uberXL, uberBLACK, or uberSUV), it will cost you anywhere from $60 to $125.

Cost to/from LaGuardia: It depends, but plan on spending between $30 and $90, depending on the car and the time of day.

Convenience leaving the airport: It may require more wait time leaving the airport than other options would since you may have to wait for your driver to arrive.

Convenience going to the airport: At least for a ride to the airport, it doesn’t get much more convenient (and pricey) than Uber. If you’re unfamiliar with Uber, it’s a driving service all done through an app. You set your pickup location, a driver will accept it, and it will show you where your driver is and the expected arrival. When you’re in the car, you can follow the route and ETA on your phone as well.

Car Service

Cost to/from JFK: The starting price is $52, plus tip.

Cost to/from LaGuardia: The starting price is $34, plus tip.

Convenience leaving the airport: It may require more wait time leaving the airport than other options would since you may have to wait for your driver to arrive.

Convenience going to the airport: With a car service, you’re able to call in advance, even the night before, and your driver will call you when he arrives at your pick-up location. This option is especially convenient if you’re leaving for the airport in the wee morning hours.

Public Transportation

Cost of subway to/from JFK: $2.50 or metro card (plus $5.00 for AirTrain)

Most convenient if… you have a lot of time. The route to JFK can get long and complicated, and no matter where on the island you’re coming from (or going to), you have to take the JFK AirTrain as well. If you search the public transit route to JFK on Google Maps, it will show you the way. I wouldn’t recommend this option for people visiting the city for the first time since it can get a little hairy.

Cost of M60 Bus to/from LaGuardia: $2.50 or metro card

Most convenient if… you’re staying near an M60 bus stop. We lucked out in having one just a five-minute walk from where we live. The best way to know if there’s a stop near you? Search LaGuardia in Google Maps and have it show you the public transit route. You can also take the subway to an M60 stop. Depending on your starting (or ending) point, the route will vary, so rely on Google Maps to show you the way.


NYC Airporter

Cost to/from JFK: $16 one way

Cost to/from LaGuardia: $14 one way

Convenience going to/from the airport: The NYC Airporter shuttle picks you up from the airport and then takes you to any of one of the following locations: Grand Central, Penn Station, and Port Authority. If you can easilyt get to one of these locations, this could be an option worth considering. The buses leave the airport and the locations in Manhattan every thirty minutes between 5:00 a.m. and 11:30 p.m., so keep that in mind when making your decision. You can purchase your tickets in advance or at the location.


Cost of SuperShuttle to/from airports: $15-$30, depending on your location in Manhattan

Convenience going to/from the airport: SuperShuttle picks you up directly from where you’re staying in the city. The only downside is that it’s picking up other passengers as well, which can add to your commute time. Since you’re at the mercy of their timing, you may also arrive at the airport much earlier than you normally would like to on your way home. If you choose this option, you’ll want to making online reservations in advance.

What We Do

We’ve done it all, but 90% of the time, we take public transit to and from the airport since it saves us a good $50. When we moved out here, we used a cab, and Johnny and I have both used Uber and a car service for business trips. But the $50+ price tag is a hard pill to swallow, so we almost always opt for losing some time and convenience and saving a good chunk of money instead.

The next time you’re headed to the city, we hope this guide will help at least a little in getting you to your destination. And then let the NYC sightseeing begin!

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  • Reply Marcie January 30, 2015 at 8:15 am

    Don’t forget the $5 for the AirTrain! And if you have an unlimited MetroCard, you still have to pay the $5 (annoying). I still prefer the subway (JFK) to the bus (LaGuardia) though.

    • Reply Joanna January 30, 2015 at 9:15 am

      Oh yeah! Good call. We haven’t done the subway to JFK in a while since we usually fly out of LaGuardia. Thanks!

    • Reply NZ Muse January 31, 2015 at 3:31 am

      AirTrain + subway FTW!

      Bonus: our Airbnb was literally 30 secs from the subway. In fact the tracks whizzed by our room’s window 🙂

      • Reply Joanna February 1, 2015 at 12:42 am

        Nice! That makes all the difference… that’s very, very close!

  • Reply Heather January 30, 2015 at 10:17 am

    I thought you didn’t have to tip for Uber. It’s never asked me to tip, so I never have. Uber is usually cheaper than a cab in Minneapolis, MN, and if you think they’re going to use surge pricing, it warns you ahead of time, and you can request a fare quote. I also prefer Uber or Lyft (similar service) to cab drivers because you pay through credit cards saved on the app, and I seldom carry cash. Plus, cab drivers in MN don’t like to accept credit cards.

    • Reply Joanna February 1, 2015 at 1:04 am

      Oh you’re right! A 20% gratuity is automatically included in the fare. I’ve used it only once out here, ha, so thanks for the reminder! Sometimes it’s a better deal than a cab here, too, just depending on the day and time.

  • Reply Suzanne January 30, 2015 at 11:05 am

    Check the Value Pac coupons that come in the mail – there is usually a flyer or two for car service to the airport at a cheaper rate. They are great. Tip is supposed to be included in Uber. I would be wary of the UberX – people’s personal cars. I’am a big fan of the Airporter.

    • Reply Joanna February 1, 2015 at 1:02 am

      Good call. We always got Value Pac coupons in other places we live, but we haven’t gotten any out here for some reason! And you’re right about Uber… it’s included with the price… show’s I’ve only used it once! 🙂

  • Reply dojo January 30, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Our friends always picked us from the airport, but we can get home easily with the MTA buses and subway. Hope we’ll get back there in few year’s time, when our daughter is older, it’s an amazing city.

    • Reply Joanna February 1, 2015 at 1:01 am

      I have younger sisters who still haven’t seen this grand city, and I’m dying for them to come out! Everyone needs to experience it at least once!

  • Reply Madison January 30, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    Oh man, even before I had a baby in NYC, I usually took cabs. The super shuttle was awful since they pick up 3-4 hrs before your flight ( it felt like). I did the subway once or twice and hated how many transfers I had to do while carrying luggage up and down stairs. You guys are hardcore!

    • Reply Joanna February 1, 2015 at 12:59 am

      No, they really do pick up that early. It’s not worth it… We live right next to an M60 bus stop and it’s a straight shot to LaGuardia, so our route via public transit isn’t too bad. But once we have a second kiddo? We’ll see how hardcore we are then!

  • Reply Petrish @ Debt Free Martini January 31, 2015 at 6:31 am

    My family lives in New Jersey so I do use Kennedy Airport from time to time. My way to the airport is returning the rental car that I rented from the airport. That way I don’t have to bug anyone to give me a ride and skip the sad and long goodbyes.

    • Reply Joanna February 1, 2015 at 1:00 am

      That’s super convenient! And I applaud you for driving in the traffic out here… I never have, and I probably never will.

  • Reply Michelle February 2, 2015 at 4:22 am

    I think I usually take the Super Shuttle in new cities because I find myself so disoriented upon arrival after a long travel day. I like knowing that I will get exactly where I need to go with very little fuss. If I normally lived in the city though, I would opt for the public transit option every time. This post is awesome! Is it hard for you to do public transit with Sally?

    • Reply Joanna February 8, 2015 at 8:36 pm

      Super Shuttle is a good option for tourists… some of our family members have opted for that when they’ve come out here. Public transit is definitely more complicated with Sally!! We just have to keep our fingers crossed that she doesn’t have any meltdowns :).

  • Reply Sarah February 3, 2015 at 1:54 am

    If you’re on the UWS, the LIRR from Penn Station is key! It’s around $7 (off-peak) per adult ticket + subway fair, making it around $10 (plus AirTrain, but you’d have that with the subway too). But there are really frequent trains from Penn Station and it’s <20 min to JFK. I don't know how having kids changes things (might be easier to hop on just the subway and stay put?).

    No way to solve the LGA problem though…

    • Reply Joanna February 8, 2015 at 8:38 pm

      Awesome. Thanks for the tip. The shorter the better when it comes to getting anywhere with kid… they only last so long before a meltdown is imminent!

  • Reply Kristina February 4, 2015 at 8:09 am

    I live super close to Laguardia, so I try to fly out of there when possible. However, it’s not easy getting there on mass transit. If I’m at work, I can take the Q72 directly there. If not, I have to get an Uber (or some other car service) to pick me up, and I always have to get one to get home.
    I’ve found Uber works best for me. On a recent return trip, it cost me less than $20 (tip included) from LGA to my house. All the other car services that were approaching me quoted nothing less than $35.
    But for day-to-day travel, I use the subway and buses. It’s the most cost effective and I get a ridiculous amount of use out of my 30-day unlimited Metro card.

    This post was great, by the way. I don’t think many people factor in getting in and around NYC, especially those who don’t live here.

    • Reply Joanna February 8, 2015 at 8:49 pm

      That’s a great deal. It sounds like you’ve found your method of choice from the airport. We are all about the subways and buses for the day-to-day (as well as just walking with the stroller). As much as I’d love to take Sally in a cab everywhere, it just adds up too fast!

  • Reply How to Save Money In New York City September 28, 2015 at 7:02 am

    […] (LaGuardia and JFK). Shared shuttle services like the NYC Airporter and SuperShuttle also provide budget friendly alternatives to a cab or car […]

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