Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Why Can't Our Best and Brightest Get to New York's Airports?

There's an epidemic of smart people messing up their travel plans. (To be fair, Felix was not in NYC during that tweet, but he did ask "Is there a good guide for how long it takes to drive from Manhattan to JFK at various times of day/week?" the other day.) Yes, New York City has some airport-getting-to issues. But they are known issues! You do not take a car to the airport on weekdays. Period. The End. No more conversation. The BQE and the LIE and the Belt and the Van Wyck are too unpredictable, and even when they are running well, they are still pretty terrible!

We have talked about this before, particularly in how to get to JFK from Brooklyn. (The appropriate answer: the LIRR from Atlantic Terminal. Unless you're in Greenpoint. In which case, you take the E train. The A train is okay but only if you're right on top of it. You're better off taking a car service from most anywhere in Brooklyn to Atlantic Terminal and hopping the train.)

And from almost anywhere in Manhattan, the appropriate way to get to JFK is to take the LIRR at Penn Station to Jamaica.

The only time on a weekday that you should take a car to JFK is between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.. On weekends, you can take a car prior to 10 a.m. And never take the Belt, even though that seems like it would be faster. It never is!

Other than that? Take a car to the LIRR, and then enjoy the nice train ride. Also don't listen to the "only fly out of LaGuardia" apologists, that airport is terrible.

18 Comments / Post A Comment

lbf (#2,343)

Bike lanes to all airports. The only sensible solution.

camelface (#4,600)

@lbf When I lived in Copenhagen (as one does…) I rode my bike to the airport all the time!

myfanwy (#1,124)

@mcleodglen then you just get more exercise.

Piffle. I always took cars (luggage? on a train? maybe, if it's a pullman car) and only ever almost missed my plane once and that was because of the Belt. That thing is trouble.

Vin (#241,629)

Public service announcement for all North Brooklynites: Best way to JFK is via car, Bushwick Ave. to Atlantic to Conduit. Bushwick can be slow, but it's predictable (WAY more predictable than the LIE or Van Wyck), and I've never had any problems on Atlantic or Conduit. I wouldn't do this at rush hour, but I wouldn't go anywhere in NYC by car at rush hour unless I were forced at gunpoint or had some sadistic wish for frustration or something. Other than that, works great every time – budget about 45 minutes or so, though it usually takes around 35-40.

jfruh (#713)

Whaaat about EWR though? What happens if you take NJT from Penn to the weird monorail thingie? Does this work? Isn't NJT like $25 for some reason? DO ANY REAL NEW YORKERS FLY OUT OF EWR FOR REAL IN REAL LIFE?

jfruh (#713)

@jfruh one time I took LIRR from Ronkonkoma (my grandmother lived out there at the time, don't ask) to Penn Station and then took some special bus to EWR (it was an int'l flight and hundreds of dollars cheaper than JFK, don't ask) and it took FOREVER and I was stressed the whole time. Then they opened the stupid train station there literally TWO MONTHS LATER and I was super jealous.

GailPink (#9,712)

@jfruh I have done it.

Vin (#241,629)

@jfruh Yes. EWR is busier than LaGuardia, and probably has the easiest access to Manhattan out of all of them.

@jfruh – All the time. The only potential inconvenience about the NJT/AirTrain combo (other than if you have more luggage that you can easily tranport in person) is that you may have to wait for up to an hour to catch a train heading in from EWR during off-peak hours. But in that case, I guess you wouldn't have to worry about traffic, just the $80 cab fare. The NJT fare including AirTrain is $12.50 one way, so as to pay for the monorail thingie.

laurel (#4,035)

@jfruh As a non-real New Yorker, I once took a bus from Penn Station to EWR, leaving about two and half hours before my flight. The driver had a nervous breakdown and couldn't bring himself to make the turn into the tunnel. He kept detouring to a multi-level parking garage to turn around and try the approach again, stopping in the darkened garage to get up and address the bus passengers about his ordeal. I did not make my flight.

GailPink (#9,712)

Maybe I just have awesome NY to Airport karma but it has never taken me longer than 45 minutes to go from the east village to ANY area airport, even in a blizzard. If I am flying on a weekday and my flight is at, say, 1 PM, I leave by 10:30 AM and am checking my luggage by 11:15. Always. Maybe the trick is just to leave really super early and then bide your time drinking at the airport? Preferable to a missed flight, I think.

Screen Name (#2,416)

Isn't easier to just tweet: "Guess what? I'm going to fly on an airplane."

Multiphasic (#411)

@Screen Name Tweet? I think we deserve a slideshow.

deepomega (#1,720)

@Screen Name "Take a look at this! [photo of cockpit]"

deepomega (#1,720)

Gonna hang on to this link for the next time people claim we talk too much about traffic in LA.

ericdeamer (#945)

Felix Salmon is losing MINUTES! MINUTES! Think of how many tweets or columns or whatever he could've posted in those minutes (primarily about air travel and air travel-related minor inconveniences of course.)

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