JFK Airport in New York City serves as the primary gateway for international travel to the USA from Europe. With over 60 million passengers passing through the airport, it should come as no surprise that many trips to the United States either start or pass-through here. If you have any travels to America planned soon with time at New York’s JFK Airport, read our guide so that you are in the know before you go!
The airport’s full name is John F. Kennedy International Airport, in honour of the assassinated U.S. president. Previously it was called New York International Airport, with many people referring to it as Idlewild Airport to distinguish it from others that serve the city. JFK is one of three major passenger airports that give access to or from the iconic city. LaGuardia Airport and Newark Airport also operate many flights, but JFK has the most international routes in New York. Direct flight are possible to and from many major European airports such as London Heathrow, Paris Charles De Gaulle, Frankfurt International, and Amsterdam Schipol.
Both Delta and American Airlines use JFK as a hub airport, which gives SkyTeam and Oneworld airline alliances many codeshare opportunities. Low-cost carriers Norwegian and JetBlue also focus on JFK providing budget solutions into the U.S. for European travellers, and onwards to elsewhere in the country. With over 90 airlines operating routes into and out of New York JFK, you can see why there are so many routes, both international and domestic, that are possible from this airport.
New York JFK Airport At-a-glance
Official Website: http://jfkairport.com
Airport Code: JFK
Address: JFK Airport,
Van Wyck and JFK Expressway,
Terminal Checker: https://www.jfkairport.com/flight/airlines
Contact Number: +1 (718) 244-4444
Timezone: GMT-5 October-March, GMT-4 March-October
Lost Property Contact:
Phone: +1 (561) 408-0101
Map: https://www.jfkairport.com/at-airport/airport-maps A zoomable map which shows the airport overview, as well as terminal by terminal maps with optional PDF downloads.
WiFi: Free WiFi is available throughout the airport. Connect to the “_Free JFK WiFi” network
Apps: There are no official apps for New York JFK Airport, though many airlines will provide gate and baggage information in any of their apps giving necessary information.
New York JFK Airport Facilities
New York JFK Airport has almost everything that any traveller would require across the six terminals. However, it’s important to note that the offering of each terminal varies greatly. If there is a specific service or shop that passengers require, they should ensure it is available at the terminal they are flying to or from to avoid disappointment. Travel is, of course, possible between each of the terminals for free. But some services may only be available airside (i.e. past security) which will limit their accessibility to those flying from that terminal.
Nonetheless, travellers will be able to find ATM’s currency exchange, airport lounges, sleep pods, water fountains, spa services, duty-free shopping, fast food, restaurants, cafes, bars, luggage storage, electronic device charging stations, multi-faith centres, pet relief areas, free WiFi, family play areas and baby rooms for families in most terminals. Shopping options are particularly plentiful in the airport for those looking to spend money. Swatch, Hugo Boss, Victoria’s Secret, Swarowski, Michael Kors and many, many more all have a presence at JFK Airport.
Aside from shopping and eating, unless passengers would like to pamper themselves at one of the airport spas, there are relatively few activities possible to kill time. For those travelling with longer layovers that would usually be an issue when passing through most cities. This city, however, is New York City! Travelling to Manhatten via the subway is easy and relatively cost-effective, without needing to worry about the notorious NYC traffic. Just walking around New York City is an activity in itself with its significant influence in popular culture. There are countless museums, tours, and landmarks to check out once in Manhatten before catching any onward flight.
Sleeping on a budget is not one of JFK’s strong points. The airport is bustling throughout the day, and comfortable seating options are few and far between. If a passenger is passing through terminal 5, then they can make use of the handful of the GoSleep pods for a nap if they are lucky enough to find them not in use. For a day or night of proper sleep, though, a hotels/" 3142 target="_blank">hotel will be necessary.
The TWA hotels/" 3142 target="_blank">Hotel, also at terminal 5, has day rooms available for anyone not looking to stay overnight, but at eye-watering rates. For a 4-6hr stay, customers will be looking at at least $149 for the privilege. Several hotels are available off the airport premises but nearby, however. Household names like The Hampton, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza and Days Inn have hotels a few minutes away with some having free shuttle pick-ups possible. A further selection is possible throughout New York too, albeit with a longer distance to travel. For the lowest prices, enter your travel dates here and find the best hotels/" 3142 target="_blank">hotel for you.
Shower facilities are not possible for free or even for a price in any public areas of JFK Airport. Instead, any passenger looking to freshen up before or after their flight(s) will need to make use of one of the many airport lounges. There is a list at the bottom of this guide which details the lounges that have shower facilities available. Some airline lounges may require the passenger to be flying business class with them or an alliance partner for access. However, several allow a ‘pay at the door’ fee for entrance.
Luggage storage is available for passengers in terminals 1, 4, and 8. If a passengers flight is departing from another terminal, all the luggage storage services are landside (i.e. before security). This means any traveller can store their luggage, regardless of their arrival/departure terminal. Access between terminals is possible thanks to the AirTrain service that is free to use within the airport. The storage facilities are open between 7AM and 11PM with rates starting from $4 for a small item, or $11 for a large bag.
New York JFK Airport Terminal Layout
Just like the city of New York that it serves, JFK is a sprawling airport with distinct areas. There are six active terminals, though the numbering system goes all the way to Terminal 8. However, Terminal 3 and Terminal 6 no longer exist following their demolitions in 2013 and 2011.
The six remaining terminals now circle a central car parking area. Terminal 1 is to the west, with Terminal 2 to its south-east, Terminal 4 and 5 are to the east, 7 to the north, and finally, Terminal 8 to the north-west. Aside from Terminal 2, each terminal has immigration facilities allowing international flights arrivals. Airlines and airline alliances mostly have their operations restricted to a single terminal, meaning flight connections are generally simple to transfer between.
Terminal 1 serves mostly international flights. The terminal is home to only 11 gates so passengers shouldn’t have much difficulty navigating their way around. Gates 1, 2, and 3 are to the right-hand side when exiting security, with gates 4-11 down the concourse to the left of gate 3.
Terminal 2, together with Terminal 4, is operated by Delta. The airline has exclusive use of T2 which it uses for domestic flights. Once past security, passengers will find that the gates circle the central food and shopping area. Gates 60-65 are to the left when exiting security, with 66-70 to the right. If passengers have a connecting flight in terminal 4, they can transfer airside (i.e. without passing through security) by way of the “Jitney” shuttle bus that departs near gate 60.
Terminal 4, together with Terminal 2, is operated by Delta. Delta shares Terminal 4 with several SkyTeam partners, some Star Alliance airlines, as well as unaffiliated carriers. T4 is the only terminal which has the AirTrain system that carries passengers between terminals inside the terminal itself. Gates A2 to A7 are to the left when exiting security in a short concourse, with B gates (B18-B55) to the right down a long pier.
JetBlue is the primary user of Terminal 5, though some other international carriers do have operations at T5 too. The gates in the terminal are numbered from 1 to 30, with gates 8-21 down a concourse in the centre of the terminal building. Gates 1-7 are to the right of this, and to the right when leaving security, with gates 22-30 to the left.
Terminal 7 is currently the only terminal in the entire USA which has a foreign entity operating it. British Airways runs T7, and together with some other non-US airlines fly from the terminal and will do so until 2022. After 2022 the airport owners will demolish Terminal 7 and construct a replacement Terminal 6. Until then, Terminal 7 houses 13 gates once past security, with gate 1 to the left, ascending in numbers to the right until they reach 11, 11A, and 12.
American Airlines and other Oneworld alliance members operate out of the large terminal 8 building. There are two concourses with 29 gates across them both. Concourse B is where passengers enter once they’ve made their way through security. Gates 1-12 are to the left in this concourse, and gates 14 and 16 are to the right. To get to concourse C where gates 31-47 are, passengers should head through the underground tunnel that is straight ahead of the security checkpoint exit.
New York JFK Airport Connections
New York City is a sprawling metropolis, and though Manhatten is the leading tourist destination, there are many other areas of the city where travellers may be looking to head. Nonetheless, as you are reading our New York JFK Airport Guide on Flynous, a flight deals website, we imagine Manhatten will be the target and the below information details how to get to that densely populated island.
JFK Airport is around 25km to the south-east of central Manhattan, in the Jamaica neighbourhood of the Queens borough of New York with many options to get to Manhattan
Bus: The cheapest but slowest transport method to get to Manhattan is the MTA bus at just $2.75, plus $1 for the “MetroCard”. Buses depart from Terminal 5 and travel through Queens. Locals mainly use the service, so travelling with many items of luggage may seem obtrusive. The quickest bus routes to Manhattan will differ depending on the time of day. Using a travel app such as Google Maps would be advised for any passengers looking to make exclusive use of the public bus system.
Alternatively, the “NYC Airporter Bus” is one of several private companies that offer a direct route to Grand Central Station in Manhattan for $16 one way. The journey will take up to 90 minutes, with the bus stopping at all the terminals at the airport taking up some of that time.
Train: The subway and rail system in New York is a little tired, but serves the city well enough, including access to JFK Airport. Passengers will need to make their way to Jamaica Station via the airports AirTrain system first. Although the AirTrain is free within the airport, it will cost $5 when exiting at Jamaica Station. From Jamaica station, it will cost $3 for a one-way ticket to Manhattan, or $2.75 if using a Metrocard, with a journey time of roughly 30 minutes, depending on how far ‘up’ the island the desired destination is. For any travellers looking to stay in New York for several days or longer, then an unlimited travel Metrocard may be a cost-effective purchase.
Car: Travelling around New York via car is slow and expensive. Traffic can be awful depending on accidents and the time of travel, and parking spaces are at a premium on Manhattan plus there are tolls to pay on specific routes. However, for those looking to travel elsewhere in the country or state, a car may offer the most flexibility. All car rental companies have either a courtesy phone or a presence at the arrivals area at each terminal. International companies such as Avis, Budget, Hertz, Thrifty, Enterprise and more are available with a full guide available on the New York JFK Airport website.
Taxi: What is more New York than a yellow taxi riding around Manhattan? The NYC Taxis are plentiful in the arrivals area and offer a flat fare to anywhere in Manhattan for one to four passengers. It costs a flat fare of $52 when travelling between JFK Airport and Manhattan (excluding tolls). But as with many services in the USA, tipping is customary, so be sure to have another 15-20% available. Depending on the traffic conditions, the journey time could be as quick as 40 minutes.
American travel revolves around aviation and connections are standard practice for many travellers at JFK. Nonetheless, the size of the airport doesn’t lend itself to a quick transfer when different terminals are involved. However, for passengers who purchased a single ticket via the airline or an Online Travel Agent, any transfer time will be factored in so that travellers won’t miss any connecting flight. The airline will transfer any checked bags onto the next plane automatically without the passenger needing to collect them, saving further time. If there were to be any delays outside of the passenger’s control, the airline is obliged to provide onward travel and/or accommodation.
However, for those who are performing a ‘self-transfer’, when two separate tickets use JFK as a connecting point only, each flight is independent of one another, and the airlines won’t assist if a passenger misses a flight from a delay. In these situations, any checked luggage a flyer is travelling with must also be collected at baggage reclaim and checked in once again ahead of the subsequent flight. Immigration into America can take a long time, especially if several international flights land simultaneously, creating additional delays.
There is a free AirTrain system that connects all the terminals. However, this train operates landside (i.e. before passing through security), meaning passengers must clear security once again. The only exception to this is between terminal 2 and 4, which has an airside (i.e. after security) bus service which Delta run. The minimum connection time at JFK Airport varies greatly depending on which terminals the passenger must travel between and whether the arriving/departing flights are domestic, international, or both. For Flynous travellers arriving from or departing to Europe, we recommend allowing 1hr45mins for immigration, plus a further 2 hours if transferring to another terminal.
New York JFK Airport Lounges
There is no shortage of airport lounges at JFK Airport, with many airlines offering their customers somewhere to relax and wind down. There are many independent lounges also which have pay-at-the-door access for anyone to enter. Every terminal has several lounges for passengers, aside from Terminal 2, the domestic Delta-ran terminal, which has a single Delta Sky Club lounge.
Terminal 1 Lounges
Lufthansa Business Lounge
Located to the left after the TSA checkpoint
Primeclass Lounge (this lounge has shower facilities)
Located near gates 8 & 9
Casa Italia New York (this lounge has shower facilities)
Located near gate 3
Terminal 2 Lounges
Terminal 4 Lounges
To the right after security, and walk approximately 90m
The Emirates Lounge (this lounge has shower facilities)
Located near gate A5
The Residence by Etihad Suite (this lounge has shower facilities)
Located to the left of security towards the end of the terminal
The King David Business/First Class Lounge
Located to the right after security
Air India Maharajah Lounge
Located near gate 5
Virgin Atlantic JFK Clubhouse (this lounge has shower facilities)
Located near gate A5
The Centurion Lounge
Located past the escalators after the TSA checkpoint
Terminal 5 Lounges
Aer Lingus Lounge (this lounge has shower facilities)
Located across from gate 26
USO Center T5/JFK
Located opposite carousel 2 in baggage reclaim
JetBlue Rooftop Terrace (no free food/drinks)
Located opposite gate 28
Terminal 7 Lounges
British Airways Club Lounge/First/Concorde Room (this lounge has shower facilities)
Located to the left after security escalator
British Airways Galleries Club Lounge (this lounge has shower facilities)
Located in the central terminal area
Alaska Airlines Alaska Lounge
Located on the mezzanine level after security
Terminal 8 Lounges
Bobby Van’s Grill
Located opposite gate 14
American Airlines Flagship Lounge/Admirals Club (this lounge has shower facilities)
Located in concourse B, after the TSA checkpoint