Transfer from JFK airport to Manhattan

How to get to Manhattan from JFK airport?

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Still not sure how to get to Manhattan from JFK airport? Never you fear – there are several ways to reach downtown New York from JFK airport. In this article, I explain all the pros and cons of the different transfers from JFK airport to Manhattan 😊

On your trip to New York City, you will probably land and take off at JFK Airport, which is located about 20 miles from Manhattan – the hyper centre of the Big Apple. No matter whether you are arriving or departing, it is very important to know the different ways of getting to the airport from Manhattan, and to Manhattan from the airport. Especially because it is often best to book this transfer trip in advance!

To help you better prepare your stay in New York City, I will explain everything you need to know in this article. Follow the guide! 😁

Is the shuttle the best choice for a JFK airport to Manhattan transfer?

This is the option that will be the most interesting for many people. These shared shuttles can get you to and from JFK and Manhattan for less than $50 per person, tolls included.

go airlink shuttle

With the shuttles, you and other travellers will sit in a minibus that will take you to your destination. Each person making the journey is picked up or dropped off directly in front of their accommodation, so the trip often takes longer than by taxi. But taking a shuttle is also a good opportunity to meet people who, like you, have just arrived in New York, or are in the last days of their stay. That’s the perfect moment to exchange information and meet new people!

Note that it is necessary to book your seat in order to take the shuttle. Don’t wait until the last minute – you can start planning your trips from and to the airport as soon as you know the dates of your stay in Manhattan 👍

Advantages & drawbacks



  • Good value for money: about $50 per person to be dropped off in front of your accommodation.
  • Possibility to book in advance to leave for your stay in the Big Apple with peace of mind.
  • Meet other people who will have the same experiences as you.

  • You will have to wait some time at the airport while your shuttle arrives and you may not be the first to be dropped off at your hotel. That will depend on the other travellers on the shuttle. The closest will be dropped off first.


  • Un bon rapport qualité / prix : environ 50 $ par personne pour se faire déposer devant son hébergement.

  • Possibilité de réserver à l'avance pour partir le plus sereinement possible pour votre séjour dans la Big Apple.

  • Rencontre avec d'autres personnes qui vont vivre les mêmes expériences que vous. 


  • Vous perdrez un peu de temps à l'aéroport le temps que votre navette arrive et vous ne serez peut-être pas les premiers déposés à votre hôtel selon les autres voyageurs avec vous dans la navette.

When you make your reservation, you will also need to provide all your flight details, date and time of arrival, as well as the number of adults and children who will be travelling (the transfer is free for children under 3 years old). You will be offered several types of vehicles, after which you can confirm your booking of the journey.

This shuttle service is a great way to arrange your transfers between JFK and the city well in advance, so you can leave with peace of mind. If you're not travelling with three people (in which case a taxi will be the best option) and you want to be sure to enjoy some comfort, the shuttle will be the cheapest way to make the trip, and its only drawback is that it's not the fastest! 🙂

For my part, I most often choose this option when I want a JFK airport transfer to Manhattan 🙂

The JFK – Manhattan private shuttle

A private shuttle offers the same services as a shared shuttle. The only difference is that you will be alone in the vehicle. If you're the introverted type, this might be a better choice – especially since you'll be arriving directly at your hotel!

You can book this type of shuttle through this booking link for the JFK – Manhattan airport transfer by private shuttlefor £61 per person.


Yellow taxi from JFK airport to Manhattan

yellow cabs new york city

New York's famous yellow cabs are often the most obvious way to get into the city once you've landed at JFK. As you will see once at the airport, you’ll merely have to step outside to find plenty of them!

These taxis are regulated by the New York City local authorities, and offer a flat rate of $52 (£40) to Manhattan, no matter where in the district you decide to go. However, if your destination is outside Manhattan, you will have to pay by the metre.

In addition to the fare, you'll have to pay the toll ($9.50 or £7.50) and an additional fee if the ride happens during rush hour (between 4 pm and 8 pm Monday through Saturday) or if you're going south of 96th Street.

Taking all of this into account, a taxi ride in the city will cost you between £42 and £50. In New York, it is customary to tip the driver 15-20% of the fare, which in this case represents about £8.

Advantages & drawbacks



  • The most economical way if you are travelling with 3 people (maximum capacity of a taxi).

  • It is more complicated to find a taxi for the Manhattan - JFK airport return trip, so it would be better to plan a 2nd type of transfer for your way back.

  • There are a lot of extra costs that can create unpleasant surprises (tolls, rush hour tax, destination outside Manhattan, high tip).


  • Le moyen le plus économique si vous voyagez à 3 personnes (capacité maximale d'un taxi)


  • Il est plus compliqué de trouver un taxi pour le trajet Manhattan - aéroport JFK, il vaudrait donc mieux prévoir un 2e type de transfert.

  • Beaucoup de frais supplémentaires qui peuvent créer de mauvaises surprises (péages, taxe heure de pointe, destination en dehors de Manhattan, pourboire élevé).

The driver can bring you directly to your hotel. Taxis can take up to 3 passengers, and the price does not change depending on the number of people. This means of transport can therefore be particularly practical and advantageous if you are travelling with several people 👌

However, if you are travelling alone or with more than three people, taxis are not the most economical option. Moreover, as I said in the table, even if you definitely will find many taxis in front of each terminal on your way to Manhattan – taxi drivers are usually much less motivated to go from Manhattan to JFK for the return journey. It is therefore often wiser to plan an alternative means of transport for your journey to the airport, at the end of your stay 😕

The AirTrain and the underground

air train airoport jfk manhattan

Here comes the most economical solution of all! It is however not the most convenient (the trip takes 1h15), nor is it the most comfortable. The classic AirTrain JFK New York ticket is $8, but the AirTrain JFK MetroCard allows you to have 10 trips for $25. This card can be used by more than one person on the same trip (up to a maximum of 4, including round trips). So if you're travelling with several people, there’s no way you’ll find a lower fare! 😄

Note, however, that you will need to change from the AirTrain to the underground before you can arrive in Manhattan.

new york metro jfk map

Combined with the AirTrain, the New York City Subway System will undoubtedly be the most economical way to reach your hotel in Manhattan – it will only cost $10.75.

The Airtrain and the underground are often the fastest ways to travel, as you will be assured of avoiding tailbacks. On the other hand, you may be unable to sit  during the journey, especially during rush hour, due to lack of space.

In addition, you will have to keep your luggage with you during the trip, carry it through the changeovers, then all the way to your hotel.

This can be tricky, especially if your luggage is bulky 😅


  1. Take the AirTrain at JFK airport, which connects all terminals to the New York City underground system.
  2. You can choose to go out at Jamaica Station or Howard Beach – I personally recommend Jamaica Station!
  3. From here you will have 3 lines (J and Z on the brown line and E on the blue line) to get to different parts of the city centre.

The brown line will take you to Lower Manhattan, i.e. the south and all the way to Brooklyn. The blue line will take you a little further to Times Square in Midtown Manhattan and into Queens.

Anyway, check out the MetroCard if you plan to use the underground as a means of transportation during your stay. I must say, this really is a pretty cheap way to get around in New York City!

Beware of works at JFK 🚧

In the summer of 2022, renovations and expansion works began at JFK Terminals 1 and 2. This means that there may be frequent delays to airlines arriving at these terminals and you may simply take longer to find your shuttle buses. So allow for extra time in your planning, because these works will not be completed until 2030!

Advantages & drawbacks



  • This is THE most economical way of all to get from JFK airport to Manhattan.

  • The journey will not be a pleasant one as you may find yourself unable to sit and burdened with luggage.

  • The trip can be much longer than if you choose a private shuttle (between 1h15 and 1h30).

  • The journey is made even more difficult by the fact that you will have to change between AirTrain and underground, as well as avoid the airport works.


  • C'est LE moyen le plus économique de tous pour vous rendre de l'aéroport JFK à Manhattan.


  • Le trajet ne sera pas une partie de plaisir puisque vous risquez de vous retrouver debout et encombré par vos bagages.

  • Le trajet peut être beaucoup plus long qu'en choisissant une navette privée (entre 1h15 et 1h30).

  • Le trajet est d'autant plus pénible qu'il faut effectuer des changements et éviter les travaux de l'aéroport. 

Transfer JFK – Manhattan by bus

There is also an NYC Airporter bus, which runs specially from JFK to two locations in the Manhattan borough: Times Square and Grand Central Station. Free for children under 3, this bus will get you into the city for about £12.50 per person.

bus new york airporter

Unlike the Shuttle, however, this bus will not take you directly to your hotel, which can be very inconvenient if you are carrying luggage. On the return journey, you will also have to go to one of the two stations served to catch the bus. The shuttle is therefore often a better choice, unless your accommodation is very close to one of these two bus stops 😉

Advantages & drawbacks



  • One of the cheapest ways to go to Manhattan from JFK airport.
  • The bus will only drop you off at two places in Manhattan: Times Square and Grand Central Station. The journey is likely to be long and tedious, especially if you are loaded with luggage.


  • L'un des services les moins chers pour se rendre à Manhattan depuis l'aéroport JFK.


  • Le bus ne vous dépose qu'à 2 endroits dans Manhattan : Times Square et Grand Central Station. Le trajet risque d'être long et fastidieux surtout si vous êtes chargés.

Private vehicles

Private chauffeurs will be more than happy to meet you at the John Fitzgerald Kennedy airport and drive you to Manhattan. You will have the choice between limousine companies and UBER or LYFT vehicles.

Limousine transfer: which company?

limousine new york

If you've decided to go all out during your stay in New York City, you can also take a limousine from the airport. The little plus? You will meet your driver at the airport: he will be waiting for you, and holding a little sign with your name on it – enough to feel like a VIP 😎

No surprise there, this is far from the cheapest way to get to New York City proper, but you'll probably remember this drive all your life. Depending on the company and the vehicle you choose, prices vary greatly. The cheapest packages will get you into New York in a luxury sedan for around  £130. To travel in a full-fledged limousineyou will have to pay around £347 – which may actually turn out to be quite affordable, since this vehicle can accommodate up to 7 people! 👀


Advantages & drawbacks



  • A comfortable trip, without any loss of time, that makes you feel like a real celebrity.

  • One of the most economical solutions for large groups of travellers (7 people). The £400 will be divided into 7 which amounts to about £57 per person.

  • Capacity for up to 4 hold luggage and 4 cabin suitcases in the limousine's trunk.

  • Drinks in the limousine's minibar are not included in the price. 

  • The journey may take longer as the vehicle is less manoeuvrable than a car.


  • Un voyage tout confort, sans aucune perte de temps qui donne l'impression d'être une vraie célébrité.

  • Une des solutions les plus économiques pour les grands groupes de voyageurs (7 personnes). Les 460 € seront donc divisés en 7 ce qui revient à environ 65 € par personne.

  • Capacité jusqu'à 4 valises de soute et 4 valise cabines dans le coffre de la limousine.


  • Les consommations mises à disposition dans le mini bar de la limousine ne sont pas incluses dans le prix. 

  • Le trajet peut durer plus longtemps puisque le véhicule est moins maniable qu'une simple voiture. 

Uber and Lyft

The services of the transport companies UBER and LYFT operate in exactly the same way in New York and the United States as they do in other countries. The principle is simple: using the mobile application, you order a ride and a driver will pick you up as quickly as possible.

You can then easily travel to the destination of your choice, with an all-inclusive fare that includes tolls, and no surcharges during rush hour. Prices for these trips vary depending on the type of driver's vehicle, but they are often quite attractive. The main constraint is that you will need to have internet access on your phone, which requires a plan that allows access to mobile data on US soil. But for that too I have a solution! Just read my article on SIM cards in the US 😄

Renting a car in New York City

You can of course decide to rent a car once in the city. This care will make all your trips much easier. However, while this sounds easy in theory, there are actually many things to consider:

  • New York is one of the most expensive cities to rent a car.
  • There is no free parking spaces – they all are very expensive in New York City.
  • If you have never driven in the US before and are used to the European traffic laws, adjusting can take some time – the road signs are different and especially the metric system is not the same. Americans obviously use miles 😉 

In short, it's not really a solution that I would recommend, but if you are ready to spend a small fortune on parking spots and are confident in your driving skills, you can go for it!

Summary of the different transfers from JFK to Manhattan




Shared shuttle

1h - 1h30

From $50 or about £43


Private shuttle

45 min - 1h

From £60 onwards


Yellow cab

45 min - 1h

$52 / £42.50 + additional fees


AirTrain + underground

1h15 - 1h30

$10.75 / £9



45 min - 1h

$75 / £62



1h - 1h30

£400 for 7 people


Rates were updated on 27/02/2023

We are coming to the end of this article! I hope it proved useful for you in planning your trip to New York City. If so, feel free to leave me a review and a rating! 😊

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