Monday, August 20, 2007

Arriving in NYC: From Airport to City Basics

There are three major airports that service New York City:
- John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
- Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
- LaGuardia Airport (LGA)

Your airline carrier and their routes will determine at which airport you arrive and depart. Only one airline flies non-stop from Honolulu to New York. Continental Airlines has that honor with a daily flight to Newark and back. All other major carriers require a layover or change of flights at one of their hubs. If you’re counting miles, you’ll earn approximately 10,000+ from the round trip from Hawaii.

I’ve noticed that on American Airlines, flights from the west coast arrive at either JFK or Newark. Flights from hubs closer to NYC, such as Chicago and Dallas/Ft. Worth, tend to arrive at LaGuardia.

The distance to Manhattan from each of the three airports are:
- JFK 15 miles
- Newark 16 miles
- LaGuardia 8 miles

One option of getting to Manhattan is via taxi. You’ll easily find taxi stands outside airport terminals with dispatchers on hand during very busy periods. Don’t forget to tip your diver 15%-20% and always use an authorized taxi at the designated area outside the terminal.
- From JFK, the charge is flat fee of $45 not including tolls ($4-$5) and tips.
- From Newark, give the address to the dispatcher and you will be quoted the exact fare ($30-$38).
- From LaGuardia, you pay by the meter ($17-$27) plus tolls and tips.

With bags in tow, the alternative is a shuttle van service. If you are a party of two or more, the cost for a taxi is probably more economical than paying for the fare per passenger and tips for a shuttle van. Super Shuttle is one such company. Advance reservation from the airport is not required. A reservation is a must 24 hours in advance for the return trip back to the airport. Fares range from $15-$19 per person not including tips.

Ground transportation desks are found at each terminal at all three airports. The staff can answer all your transportation questions and help make arrangements for shuttle service.

The decision you make will likely be based on both cost and time. In the time category, by taxi to Manhattan:
- From JFK 45-60 minutes
- From Newark 35-50 minutes
- From LaGuardia 20-35 minutes
Note: adjustments need to be made for peak traffic hours

The time via shuttle to Manhattan will be determined by several factors:
- The number of stops for the passengers in the shuttle
- The distance between those stops
- The traffic
- Your location on the route determined by the shuttle driver
Being a solo hopeful traveler, I’ve usually taken the shuttle to Manhattan and back to the airport. Only once did I take a taxi from JFK and that was because I was feeling truly ill. If I depart from LaGuardia, I am more likely to use a taxi rather than a shuttle just to get an extra hour of sleep and get to the airport ASAP. Remember a shuttle makes several stops to pick up other passengers departing that day before finally leaving for the airport. So it’s possible your driver may be coming to your hotel in three hours in advance of your departure time if you are the first pick-up. So if you have an 8am flight, don’t be surprised if the shuttle service requires you be ready for a 5am pick-up.


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