For those visiting Manhattan, getting to the airport in time for their flight can be a daunting task. Traffic jams can cause significant delays in taxi rides. The subway can be too difficult for some people. While helicopters can be fast, getting to the airfield in time can be difficult. Then there is the Long Island Railroad, which confuses many.
To take the stress out of Manhattan airport transfers, the travel experts at The Points Guy determine which mode of transportation is best for an out-of-town getaway. They did a four-way race from Times Square to the new JFK Airport Terminal 8 using yellow cabs, subways, the Long Island Railroad and helicopters.
The competition will be documented and participants will share their thoughts on the ups and downs of their journey. The Points Guy's race coverage gives you an inside look at this exciting race.
New York subway
The hotel's editor-in-chief, Melanie Lieberman, was one of the participants who found the best way to get to JFK from Manhattan. He decided to take the subway and pay the $2.75 one-way fare to Sutfin Archer Avenue Boulevard. There I upgraded to AirTrain for $8.25, so a total of $11.
Lieberman spoke to MailOnline Travel and shared his thoughts on the experience. He points out that the subway is the cheapest option for those on a budget. It is also convenient because there are many metro stations in the city. I mentioned that even during rush hour it's faster to take a train than to be stuck in traffic.
However, the subway also has disadvantages. Lieberman mentioned that navigating the many platforms, stairs, and crowds with luggage can be difficult if there is no access to the station. If travelers aren't careful, they might end up on the wrong subway platform for a while.
Lieberman also suggested that passengers preload their MetroCard to pay for AirTrain, as unlimited monthly access or click-to-play access options are not accepted. If not, they will need to allow extra time for ticket purchases.
Madison Blancaflower, World Feature Editor William Spencer took a cab for $98.16.
The duo has a hard time finding one of New York City's famous yellow cabs, but when they do, everything goes smoothly.
On the positive side, taxis are "very convenient, especially if you have luggage" and "you don't have to travel any further," they say.
They assured: "Once you get into a taxi, you will be dropped off right in front of your stop." Also, they say, "You are in your own timeline because you don't have to arrive at a train or subway station at a specific time, and you don't have to wait for a train or stop along the way….
Convenience is also a factor. They added: "You're alone in the cab, not crammed into the train, which gives you a chance to stretch and relax during the ride."
What about disadvantages? Price for an item.
“We ended up paying about $100. It's definitely a cheaper way to get to the airport than using public transport or the train."
The man added: "Sometimes you can have fun because the streets are empty. But construction work, an accident or just a busy day can cause significant delays.”
Long Island Railroad
Editor-in-Chief Tanner Saunders chose the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) for the airport. Paid only $13.25 – $5 for train to Jamaica then $8.25 for AirTrain.
According to Tanner, the convenience and comfort of LIRR are the top two positive aspects of his trips. He praised Madison's new Grand Central Station for its cleanliness and beauty, and Grand Central's direct train made the journey very convenient, quick, and easy.
Tanner noted that traveling with luggage on the LIRR was a great experience because he was able to find a seat on an almost empty train that was clean, comfortable, and spacious compared to the subway. However, there were also disadvantages that he pointed out.
Saunders mentions that Madison's new Grand Central Station can be difficult to find and requires the use of multiple escalators. He also noted that traveling on the Long Island Railroad in Jamaica can be stressful. Also, AirTrain requires a subway card with preloaded money to get in or has to queue to buy it.
After disembarking from the AirTrain, passengers have to walk a long way to the airport terminal. Despite its shortcomings, Tanner's work on the LIRR is comforting and enjoyable.
The Points Guy UK leader, Nicky Kelvin, was lucky enough to test himself aboard the luxury Blade helicopter, which costs $295 including $100 ground transfer. The helicopter flight is quick, according to Nikki, and Kennedy Airport is just five minutes away.
The Blade Lounge is also comfortable, with complimentary drinks, and the Helicopter offers stunning views of Manhattan and the airport, perfect for those who love planes.
However, this luxurious stroller also has its disadvantages. Nikki mentioned that it can take a long time to get to the departure point if it's far from the Manhattan helipad. Also, the experience is much more expensive than other modes of transport, but taxis cost about the same, if not more, during peak hours. Additionally, Nikki points out that these transfers may not be suitable for nervous travelers.
Related: How to Navigate a Short Stay in NYC