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New York City JFK Airport Guide

new york city jfk airport guide

In this section you will find traveller airport reviews as well as our New York City JFK Airport Guide with info on WiFi, lounges, facilities and services....and yes, even the names of some airport hotels in case you decide that sleeping in the airport is not for you!

The TSA agent told me about the 24-hour Dunkin Donuts in the baggage claim area, as well as making some suggestions of where I can grab a snooze. - TheInfamousJ

Featured Review

jfk airport
Terminal 1. Photo by SleepingInAirports.net

by Flash
Stayed here recently. Many others have commented about the Free WiFi and 24 hour Dunkin Donuts in Terminal 5. I'll mention that when I bought six donuts at night I was told that it was 2 for 1 at night time so I ended up with 12 donut for the price of 6! A good thing to have to share with other airport sleepers and travellers.

Terminal 5 has the food and the Wifi but only has armchair seats. You could sleep on the floor around here pretty easily, I saw someone in a sleeping bag on the second floor near the elevators having a good old snooze. I would reccommend heading over to T-4 and grabbing one of the comfortable bench seats in the food court for a sleep. You'll be covered slightly by a table so not everyone will be looking at you. I slept here during the day (lunchtime!) and nobody bothered me. The cleaning staff in T-5 ignored me but drove their loud cleaning machines pretty close to me and the announcements here were quite loud. I felt very safe with my belongings and would sleep here again anytime.

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New York JFK Airport Information

In this guide we may refer to locations as "landside" and "airside". Landside is the public area of the terminal located in the non-secure zone, before security. Airside is the secure area of the terminal that you must reach by going through security.

jfk foodcourt
Terminal 1 Food Court

The conditions and facilities of each terminal vary.  Terminal 5 currently receives the best feedback. In June 2012, I explored all of the landside areas of each of the terminals and made a tonne of notes, but here is a summary of my observations:

  • Terminal 1 - If you have a long wait at any of the terminals, I suggest you take the AirTrain to Terminal 1 and hang out on the upper level food court. You can grab something to eat and watch the planes coming and going. The food court has a Starbucks, McDonalds, Wok and Roll, Greenvich Village Bistro, Sbarro, Hot Dog NY Coffee, Jikli (Japanese food). This was the largest landside food court in any of the terminals. What I liked was that it (1) had seats and (2) was nice and bright. There were some charging stations in the food court and on the Arrivals Level. There were 4 long benches on the Arrivals Level, but it was cold, so bring warm clothes.
  • Terminal 2 - The Arrivals area is very small with only a few seats and a Starbucks playing loud Jazz music. There was 1 bench on the Arrivals Level and 5 on the Departures Level. This terminal is a long uncovered walk from the AirTrain station, so dragging your luggage through rain and snow will be problematic. You will be better off going to Terminal 3 and walking to Terminal 2 from there.
  • Terminal 4 - On the Arrivals Level, there were birds flying around. Seating is limited and many people were stretched out along the window sills. The seating situation was no better on the Departures Level. I don't recall seeing any seats and again people were stretched out along the window sills. There were 4 or 5 multi-faith prayer rooms. There was a lot of construction at this terminal, but I think there will be a large food court/shopping area in the future.
  • no seats at jfk terminal 8
    Unless you are disabled, there will be no seats for you on the Departures Level at Terminal 8. Everyone has to sit on the floor.
    Terminal 5 - This is the cleanest and most modern of all the terminals. I spotted a few birds flying around the arrivals area. Loud late 70's music played (Hall & Oates). Very cold, so bring a sweater. Many people were sitting on the floor near outlets charging their phones and laptops.
  • Terminal 7 - This terminal had lots of tall, high back seats with armrests. Some seats had little desks but no electrical outlets nearby. Very cold, so bring a sweater.
  • Terminal 8 - There was not one seat on the departures level with the exception of a roped off senior citizen/disabled seating section guarded by a security officer. Why they don't have any seats is beyond comprehension! On the Arrivals level there was a section of wired metal seats. The area was dark, but crowded and noisy as the seats are in tight clusters.

Airport Lounges

If you are an economy class traveller, you can enter these lounges at New York City JFK airport either by purchasing a day pass or through a membership program. Visit the individual lounge page for more details (ie. facilities, hours, pass and membership information):

  • Airspace Lounge - Location: Terminal 5, Airside, Gate 24. Free Showers are available. Hours: 4:30AM - 11:00PM. Lounge Access: Pay at the Door (US$ 25.00).
  • American Admiral's Club - Location: Terminal 8, International Departures, Airside, Concourse B, Mezzanine Level. Lounge Access: Pay at the Door (US$ 50.00) • Admiral's Club Membership.
  • American Admiral's Club - Location: Terminal 8, Domestic Departures, Airside, remote concourse C, 3rd Floor, across from Gate 42. Lounge Access: Pay at the Door (US$ 50.00) • Admiral's Club Membership.
  • Delta Sky Club - Location: Terminal 2, Airside, Mezzanine Level. Lounge Access: Pay at the Door (US$50.00) • Delta Sky Club Membership.
  • Delta Sky Club - Location: Terminal 4, Airside, Concourse B near Gate 31. Lounge Access: Pay at the Door (US$50.00) • Delta Sky Club Membership.
  • United Club - Location: Terminal 7, Airside, above Gates 7 and 8. Lounge Access: Pay at the Door (US$ 50.00) • United Club Membership.

Other airline lounges that are accessible through a membership:

Additionally, there is a USO Center for members of the military and their families. The lounge features entertainment, food, and free WiFi. Location: Terminal 5, across from baggage carousel 2. Hours: 5am - 11pm.

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Airport WiFi / Internet

Free WiFi is available at New York JFK Airport for 30 minutes. Beyond the given time limit, you can purchase additional time through Boingo.

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Airport Hotels

There are no hotels at or connected to any of the terminals. So if sleeping in New York JFK Airport does not appeal to you, there are hotels near the airport:.

To find a cheap room, there is a list of hotels near JFK Airport on Tripadvisor that can be sorted by price.

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More Services, Facilities & Things To Do On A Layover At The Airport

  • ATMs / Cash Machines - Yes, throughout all terminals (landside and airside).
  • Chapel: Terminal 4 - Landside, Departures Level
  • Cots - In the event of bad weather or massive flight cancellations, this airport has a supply of cots for stranded travellers. If you are stranded during a weather delay, contact an airport employee to find out when the cots are located. Unfortunately, the cots are not available for travellers who simply decide to spend the night in the airport. Due to the amount of wacky email I receive about this, I'll also let you know that cots cannot be "reserved" and I don't know where they are kept.
  • Currency Exchange - Locations: Terminal 1 (Landside, Arrivals West • Airside, Concourse W, Gates 1-3) • Terminal 4 (Landside, Arrivals Hall • Airside, Gate B32, B22, A4 & the Retail Hall) • Terminal 5 (Airside, Marketplace) • Terminal 7 (There are 4 foreign currency ATMs, as well as 3 kiosks located Landside, Arrivals • Airside, Food Court and Retail Hall) • Terminal 8 (Landside, Arrivals • Airside, Gate 4, 10, 39 and the corridor to Concourse C).
  • Food & Drinks -There are many dining options landside and airside. There is a 24 hour Dunkin Donuts airside in Terminal 1. In Terminal 4, you'll find a 24 hour McDonalds (landside). Vending Machines can be found in Terminal 4, Arrivals Hall East • Retail Hall East • Airside, Gate B23.
  • Information Desk - Welcome Centres can be found in the Baggage Claim area of all Terminals. Hours: unknown.
  • Luggage Storage & Lockers - Terminal 1 - Arrivals (Landside) • Terminal 2 - Arrivals (Landside) • Terminal 4 - Arrivals (Landside) • Terminal 5 - Arrivals (Landside) • Terminal 8 - Arrivals (Landside). Rates from: $4.00 (up to 20") - $11.00 (27"-32"). Hours: No access to bags overnight. The office is open 7am - 11pm.
  • Mobile Charging - Located both Landside and Airside in all Terminals.
  • Rest Zones - Not available
  • Showers - Showers are available in the Airspace Lounge [ see Airport Lounges above ]
  • Spa - Xpress Spa. Locations: Terminal 1, Near Gate 6 and near Gate 3 • Terminal 4, Near A2, B24 and in the Retail Hall East • Terminal 7 in the Retail Hall.
  • Traveler's Aid - This is a non-profit organization that assists stranded and distressed passengers. Volunteers assist passengers with general airport and destination queries to assisting with situations such as transportation assistance, lost or stolen money, wiring money, emergency housing, etc. Location: Terminal 1 - Arrivals (Landside) • Terminal 3 - International Arrivals (Landside) • Terminal 4 - Arrivals (Landside) • Terminal 4 - Retail Level • Terminal 7 - Arrivals (Landside) • Terminal 8 - Arrivals (Landside) • Terminal 8 - Departures Level (Landside) • Terminal 8 - (Airside). Hours: 10:00AM - 6:00PM.

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Airport Hours

The airport is open 24 hours.

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Airport Maps

To download the New York JFK Terminal Map.

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Airport Transportation: Getting To/From The Airport

AirTrain

AirTrain JFK is the easiest way to travel to, from and around Kennedy International Airport. AirTrain connects with MTA New York City Transit subways and buses and the Long Island Rail Road, providing a low-cost way to travel to major destinations in New York and New Jersey.

Around JFK Airport: AirTrain makes frequent stops around the airport: airline terminals, parking lots, hotel shuttle areas and rental car facilities. The service operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And it's free.


To & From JFK Airport: Getting to and from JFK on AirTrain is fast and easy. You can travel to Manhattan's Penn Station on the Long Island Rail Road in 35 minutes and to most parts of New York City on the subway in about an hour.

Travelling from JFK Airport: You have a choice of connections through Jamaica Station to New York midtown and upper Manhattan, or Howard Beach Station below W. 14 St.

Travelling to JFK Airport: Again you have a number of options either by train or subway via the Financial District, midtown Manhattan and NY Penn Station..

Car Rentals

The following car rental companies are available at the airport: Advantage • Alamo • Avis • Budget • Dollar • Enterprise • Hertz • National • Payless. Location: Car rental counters or courtesy phones can be found on the arrivals level near the baggage claim in all terminals. To pick-up the car you will take the AirTrain to Federal Circle Station.  

Buses

Services to and from the airport are available on three NYC bus routes between the airport and nearby areas. These buses stop adjacent to Terminal 5, and can be accessed via a free on-airport AirTrain trip to the Terminal 5/6 station. The bus fare is $2.50.

Shuttle Buses and Shared Vans

NYC Airporter provides express bus service between JFK Airport - Grand Central Station (41st Street between Lexington & 3rd Avenue) - Penn Station (West 33rd Street between 6th and 7th Avenues next to Sbarro’s Pizzeria) - Port Authority Bus Terminal (42nd Street between 8th and 9th Avenues). Free WiFi is available on-board. If you are arriving at JFK and haven't purchased your tickets online, you can purchase tickets at their desk in the Ground Transportation Welcome Center or from a sales agent outside the baggage claim. The bus departs from all terminals. A complimentary van transfer is provided to travellers starying at mid-town hotels between 23rd and 63rd Streets. Hours of operation: 5:00AM - 11:30PM. Frequency: every 20-30 minutes. Travel time: 90 minutes. Fares: $16 per person (one way) or $32 per person (round-trip). The online rate is $30 per person (roundtrip).

Additionally, there are a number of shared van service that will get you directly to your hotel. Go to the Port Authority Welcome Center, located on the Arrivals level of each terminal, to make arrangements.

Taxis

Ignore offers of transportation from solicitors in the terminal as this is illegal and they may be unlicensed and uninsured. To obtain ground transportation information, visit the Port Authority Welcome Center in the arrivals area of each terminal, where uniformed staff will assist you.

Alternately, head directly for the taxi stand located outside each terminal for safe and legitimate transportation. Ignore non-uniformed people offering to assist with baggage. Seek out uniformed porters or airline employees for baggage assistance. For taxi complaints and lost property, call 311

Sample Taxi Fares from JFK Airport:

These samples do not include tolls or tips. Between JFK and Manhattan: Flat Fare is $52 to the first destination (plus tolls and tip).  The taximeter and receipt should reflect this is a flat fare. 

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Last Updated: 09 June 2015

The information in this Airport Guide is based on information collected and/or received from the airport's and their web sites. The information above is subject to change without notice. Use it for informational purposes only to help you during your stay. To report errors, or to add/change any items quoted in the guide, email me.

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