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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

Airport Overview

jfk foodcourt
Terminal 1 Food Court (landside)

To help you plan your layover or overnight sleepover, we are here to give you the low-down on what travellers have reported back to us during their time at John F Kennedy International Airport.

What to Expect

  • JFK is a large airport comprised of six terminals, connected by AirTrain on the landside.
  • Flight cancellations and delays due to inclement weather, especially during the winter. Some reviewers missed flights because they underestimated the long lines at Check-In.
  • 24-Hour dining is available in Terminals 1 (airside) and 4 (landside).
  • Free WiFi is available for 30 minutes, a major bummer for a major airport! See WiFi in the airport guide below.

Where to Sleep

jfk airport
Terminal 1 (landside)
  • Most reviewers describe JFK Airport as uncomfortable and unwelcoming, with no quiet or comfortable places to sleep.
  • The airport’s seating is mostly cold, hard metal benches with armrests, so have a travel mat or sleeping bag handy and snag a choice spot on the floor!
  • Most areas of the airport are very bright and VERY noisy all through the night, so have a sleep mask and earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones handy. Be advised, one of our reviewers claimed that even his noise-cancelling headphones were no match for the noise at JFK!
  • Dress warm and have a travel blanket handy as the terminals are cold day and night!
  • For uninterrupted sleep, there are hotels near the airport that provide a free airport shuttle. See Airport Hotels in the airport guide below.

Good to Know

  • Economy class passengers can pay to use one of the first class lounges. See Airport Lounges in the airport guide below for locations and rates.

SleepingInAirports Terminal Notes

Based on our May 2012 exploratory visit of the landside areas:

  • Terminal 1 - If you have a long wait at any of the terminals, 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. This was the largest landside food court in any of the terminals. There were some charging stations in the food court and on the Arrivals Level.
  • 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 - Seating is limited and many people were stretched out along the window sills. The seating situation was no better on the Departures Level.
  • no seats at jfk terminal 8
    Unless you are disabled, there will be no seats for you on the Departures Level at Terminal 8 (landside). Everyone has to sit on the floor.
    Terminal 5 - This is the cleanest and most modern of all the terminals. Loud late 70's music played (think 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. 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.

For more information about the services and facilities available, scroll down to continue exploring our New York JFK International Airport Guide. Send us your airport tips to help us keep this information up to date.


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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.

Airport Lounges

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

Terminal 1

  • Air France Lounge - Location: Terminal 1, Airside, near Gate 1. Showers are available. Hours:6:00AM - 2:00PM (Daily).
  • KAL Business Class Lounge - Location: Terminal 1, Airside, Gate 3. Showers are available. Hours: 2:00PM - 8:30PM (Daily).

Terminal 2

Terminal 4

Terminal 5

  • Airspace Lounge - Location: Terminal 5, Airside, Gate 24. Showers are available. Lounge Access: Pay at the Door (US$ 25.00 - US$ 35.00 depending on time of day).

Terminal 8

  • American Airlines 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 Airlines 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.

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 3. Hours: 5:00AM - 11:00PM.

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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 we receive about this, we'll also let you know that cots cannot be "reserved" and we don't know where they are kept. Please speak to a gate agent or an airport employee.
  • 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 7:00AM - 11:00PM.
  • Medical Services - A medical centre is located in Building 22A. Take the free shuttle from the Terminals. Hours: unknown.
  • 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.

Keep in mind that TSA, airline check-in and baggage drop hours vary according the flight schedule. Check these hours with your airline. If you are in the public area of the terminal (landside) you will not be able to get through to the secure area of the terminal (airside) until the morning.

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Airport Transportation: Getting To/From The Airport

AirTrain

AirTrain is an elevated railway system that serves JFK Airport, and connects all airport terminals and parking lots with the Long Island Rail Road and New York City subway lines in Queens. AirTrain service runs 24 hours a day, and is affordable, easy to use and wheelchair-accessible. Three overlapping routes are available: the Howard Beach route, Jamaica Station route and All Terminals loop. Passengers can ride the AirTrain for free around the airport, but must pay if entering or exiting at off-airport AirTrain stations. For more information, visit the Airtrain web site.

Amtrak Connections

From the airport, take the AirTrain to Jamaica Statio, where you can connect to the subway. Take the LIRR Long Beach 855 towards Penn Station. Amtrak is located at Penn Station. Total travel time is approximately 47 minutes.

Of course, you can hire a taxi but plan for at least 1 hour of travel time. Taxi stand is located outside each terminal. It is advised that visitors avoid in terminal solicitations from taxi services as these are typically unlicensed and uninsured.

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). For more information, visit the NYC Airporter web site.

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

Hotel Shuttles

Some area hotels provide courtesy airport shuttle service for their guests. Ask your hotel about shuttle service details and availability. Passengers can take the AirTrain to the hotel shuttles waiting area at Federal Circle station. Here are some hotels that offer airport shuttle service:Best Western JFK Airport Hotel   •   Comfort Inn & Suites Ozone Park   •   Courtyard by Marriott JFK International Airport   •   Crowne Plaza JFK Airport   •   Days Inn JFK Airport   •   Fairfield Inn New York JFK Airport   •   Hampton Inn NY - JFK   •   Hilton Garden Inn Queens/JFK Airport   •   Hilton New York JFK   •   Holiday Inn Express At JFK   •   Holiday Inn New York JFK Airport Area   •   Radisson Hotel JFK Airport   •   Sheraton JFK Airport Hotel   •   Sleep Inn JFK Airport Rockaway Blvd   •   The Five Towns Inn.

Inter-Airport Transfers

The New York City metropolitan area is served by three major airports: JFK International Airport, LaGuardia Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport. Aside from taxis, limousines and hired car services, there are other options for transferring between the airports. The NYC Airporter provides service between JFK and LaGuardia or JFK and Newark Airport (via Port Authority Bus Terminal transfer to a partner service). All County Express and ETS Air Shuttle also provide service between JFK and LaGuardia or Newark Liberty Airport. Contact your service provider of choice for schedules and fares.

Inter-Terminal Transportation

Passengers can ride the AirTrain for free via the All Terminals loop, which circulates clockwise through all JFK Airport terminals.

Taxis

Taxi stands are located outside each terminal. Ignore non-uniformed people offering to assist with baggage. Sample Taxi Fares from JFK Airport: 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: 17 June 2016

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 mentioned in the guide, please email us at guides@sleepinginairports.com.

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