With over eight million residents, it’s safe to say that New York City needs all three of its airports. But when flying to or from the Big Apple, it can be all too easy to pick an airport that doesn’t give you what you need.
Each NYC airport has its pros and cons. Unless you’re a seasoned flyer, it can be hard to spot them all at a glance.
Lucky for you, we’re here to help! Read on for the ultimate guide to Newark vs JFK vs LaGuardia – we’ll make sure you don’t get caught short at the airport again.
Airlines and Flights
Which airline are you flying with? This might be the most important factor in deciding which airport is the best fit for you.
JFK is a huge international airport and a hub for big-name airlines like Delta and American Airlines. Long-haul flights arrive and depart from all over the world, and as a result, the airport amenities are great. You’ll also find direct domestic flights to and from every major airport in the US.
Newark might not have JFK’s name recognition, but don’t be fooled! It’s a major hub airport for United Airlines and other Star Alliance carriers from around the world. It also has a surprising number of amenities, including an exclusive invite-only restaurant.
LaGuardia is the only NYC airport offering flights from Southwest Airlines. However, it’s smaller than the other two airports, so domestic flight options can be limited. Amenities at LaGuardia fall short of both Newark and JFK, too – though if your flight is shorter, it may not matter so much.
Distance to Downtown
You’ve just touched down in NYC, and you want to get where you’re going as fast as you can. But how long is it going to take to get there from the airport?
For direct distance via car, LaGuardia is the closest airport to downtown Manhattan – it’s only an 8.5-mile drive! But since it’s NYC, that drive can take you anywhere from 25 to 50 minutes.
JFK is about 18.5 miles from Manhattan by car. On a good day, that’s a 45-minute drive. On a bad day, it can take an hour and a half.
While Newark is further from Manhattan than JFK, the drive can be a tiny bit quicker. You should factor in 40 to 85 minutes if you’re planning to drive downtown from Newark.
All three NYC airports are accessible via public transit. Whether they’re easily accessible is another matter!
LaGuardia doesn’t have a subway station, so you’ll need to make an inconvenient transfer onto an airport bus. Getting to JFK means transferring from the subway onto the AirTrain. While Newark’s subway connections aren’t great, you can always take the one-way Newark Airport Express shuttle bus – though it only goes to and from Manhattan.
If you drive, it can be a smart move to check your options for airport parking. As the airport itself has limited public transit connections, Newark airport parking options are especially worth your time. You’ll save yourself the hassle of public transit, and enjoy some great perks in the bargain.
The Best NYC Airport
The fact is that there’s no one ‘best’ NYC airport. Which airport works for you will depend on your needs – whether that’s the airline you’re flying with or your transportation preferences groundside. Do your research before you fly, and you’ll be fine whichever airport you choose!
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