Airports in New York City - Which Airports Should You Choose in NYC

Flying into New York for the first time? Well, as much as it is exciting, let’s face it, NYC has the busiest airports in the US and no wonder why.

Handling the air travel to and from NYC are three airports – namely the John F. Kennedy International (JFK) in Queens, primarily for the international flights, LaGuardia Airport (LGA) – mainly for domestic, and Newark International (EWR) in New Jersey which handles both international and domestic air travel.

New York City Skyline
New York City Skyline

So, which airport should you pick to travel to? The answer lies in ‘where exactly in NYC are you planning to go?’ because it is a big place after all. While JFK will connect you to the world, LGA is probably the better choice if you’re planning to travel within the US (and if you’re flying into NYC from within the US, you’re more than probable to land at LGA).
Now, let’s take a deeper look at the pros and cons of the busiest airports in the US.

1. John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Queens

John F. Kennedy International Airport
TWA Center at the JFK International

JFK is by far the ‘best’ and ‘the Airport’ in New York. For many New Yorkers, JFK is the definite go-to for some obvious reasons:
  • It has the widest range of flight options and times.
  • Connects you to the world
  • Well connected by the subway (A and E lines and the AirTrain)
As an international hub, JFK is well at par with most other major global airports such as the Dubai Intl. or London Heathrow.

There are a whopping number of non-stop flights available from this world-class hub to take you to major destinations around the globe with Carriers like British Airways, Lufthansa, Delta, and Turkish Airlines – all operating from this airport.
The only major airline that doesn’t operate out of JFK is the United, which operates from Newark as its main hub.  

Main Highlights of the JFK Intl. Airport

  • One of the highlights of John F. Kennedy is the glamourous TWA Hotel, near JetBlue’s Terminal 5. This is a good place to pay a visit to grab a meal or a drink, or maybe even a better place for an overnight stay before or after your flight over most lounges.
  • Speaking of Terminal 5, it has the most modern design and the youngest of them all, and it also sports an outdoor roof deck.
  • On the other hand, Terminal 1 is the home of major international carriers and you can gain entry to several of the lounges with the Priority Pass (an annual fee-based membership).
Overall, JFK serves almost every destination of the world and is your sure-shot go-to option for all your international flying needs, being well connected with the subway, taxi, and other ride-sharing services.

2. LaGuardia Airport (LGA), Queens

NYC Airport
Not the first of your choices? Don’t underestimate the LGA, as it is undergoing heavy renovations and by the time it completes by 2022, this airport will boast the newest terminals and gates of the three NYC airports.
Also, LGA is the closest to Manhattan among the three airports of NYC, making it the strongest USP of the not-so-popular airport.
Mostly handling the domestic flights of New York, top destinations from the LaGuardia airport are Florida, Chicago, and Atlanta.

Although, having said that, it is not to be mistaken that LGA only flies within the US, and not being connected to a direct public transport system is a big downside for an international airport. The subway stops around a mile before the airport and the most common options from Manhattan or Brooklyn are a taxi, rideshare, or a paid van service.
LGA International Airport
La Guardia International Airport

Major Highlights of the LGA Airport

  • Terminal A is the home to JetBlue. Although it is on the other side of the airport from Terminal B, which is the main terminal and is in no way connected to the other terminals. Despite the isolation, this terminal is the quietest, and getting through the security is much less of a headache.
  • Terminal B is the LGA’s main terminal and is under a massive renovation to revive the LGA as a major hub. Many new sections are opening, and old ones closing in order to bring out the best of LGA.
  • Terminals C and D are run by Delta Airlines, making a merry out of their operations from the hub. Delta’s new gates offer an enjoyable view around the airport, more of which may be expected when the existing terminals will be replaced by modern ones and will be connected to the main terminal.
To finish it off with, the renovation of the LGA will bring it closer to the highway, which will give taxis and rideshare vehicles easier access to the terminals. This airport, post-renovation, is soon going to the talk of the fliers – both domestic and international.


3. Newark Airport (EWR), New Jersey

Newark Airport, New Jersey
Newark Airport, New Jersey

Newark Liberty International is a New York City Airport even though it is in a different state altogether! But it offers its fair share of international flights, minus some of the chaos of its more popular counterpart – the JFK.
Moreover, if you’re flying with United or a United partner airline, you will be flying out of this airport. So, being less popular, though it has its reasons, can be preferable for people at times.

Reaching this airport is slightly faster than JFK by car, although being similar in distance from Manhattan. But where EWR really lags behind is its public transport options despite having the shuttle service – the Newark Airport Express, which is the best way to get from Newark to Manhattan.

Highlights of Newark International

  • Terminal C is the main terminal of Newark, being home to the United, with a sleek design and great dining options.
  • There are many different food options all throughout Terminal C, with changing cuisines, keeping the food options fresh and coming.

To wrap it all up, as for most people, JFK is the best airport to fly into and out of NYC, with the widest range of flight options as well as being the easiest to get to/ from the subway.

LaGuardia (LGA) can be the second choice (or maybe even the first if you’re flying within the US) to avoid the havoc rush of JFK.

Newark (EWR), on the other hand, is well short of the rush from the others and also has lower airfares. So, you might want to go for EWR for a budget trip, although you may end up paying the difference in high tolls getting to/from Newark and Manhattan.

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