John F. Kennedy International Airport

Airplanes waiting to take off at JFK

John F. Kennedy International Airport (IATA: JFK) is in the borough of Queens, New York. As one would expect of the main airport of a city like the Big Apple, JFK is one of the busiest airports worldwide and also the busiest airport in the USA in terms of international passenger traffic.

There are six terminals that are not so close to each other, so it is important to note which terminal your flight leaves from.


Landing or taking off from JFK has been much improved in recent years by the addition of the multibillion-dollar Bay Runway, but due to sheer volume, it remains the worst airport in the country in terms of flight delays. If possible, do not connect using JFK, especially when switching terminals. If you must connect via JFK, make sure you have sufficient time: For connections from domestic (US or Canada) flights to other destinations in the US or Canada, allow 2–3 hours; for transfers from domestic-JFK to international destinations, allow 3–4 hours; for international-JFK to domestic, 3–5 hours; and for international-JFK to international, 3–6 hours. International travelers other than those from Canada, Bermuda or Visa-Waiver Program countries are most strongly advised to avoid connecting in JFK to other international flights, as the security and immigration procedures for non-US citizens are monumentally time-consuming and tiresome.


With six terminals, the airlines that serve JFK are spread across the airport. Delta Airlines operates a major international hub out of Terminals 2 and 4, while American Airlines has a hub in Terminal 8. Terminal 5 serves as the base of operations for low-cost carrier JetBlue. Most of the international airlines which serve JFK are split between Terminals 1 and 4, though there are also some operating out of Terminals 5, 7, and 8.

With the exception of Terminal 2, all the terminals at JFK have customs and immigration facilities to process the arrival of international flights. As a consequence, all Delta international flights, with the exception of those from Canada, arrive at Terminal 4.

Ground transportation

To travel between the city and JFK:

Note that transfers from the B15 to the subway are in some of Brooklyn's roughest neighborhoods, so this route is not recommended at night or for people unfamiliar with the city.

JFK AirTrain

Get around

Airport map, including terminals and AirTrain system

The free AirTrain connects the terminals.

Within terminals, if your flight leaves from or arrives at a high-numbered gate, consider using a free motorized shuttle, especially if you are carrying heavy or bulky luggage or would otherwise have trouble walking long distances. Some gates are really quite far from the security check area and the baggage claim area. Drivers do not expect to be tipped for driving you.


Eat and Drink

All terminals have extensive choices for food post-security. Only Terminal 1, however, has a dedicated food court pre-security, with many well-known chains such as Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, McDonald's and Sbarro's.


Wi-Fi is available throughout the airport provided by Boingo, but for a fee. You can buy a pay as you go plan for $4.95 or a Day Pass with unlimited access $7.95. If you're willing to buy a Day Pass and know you'll be staying in JFK more than a few days within the month, you could also buy a month pass for only $9.95. JetBlue offers free Wi-Fi in Terminal 5, although there are no outlets there for you to charge your device.



While there aren't any hotels on the grounds of JFK, plenty of chain motels of all service levels are located just past the edge of the airport in the neighborhood of Jamaica, with most running shuttle buses to/from the airport. Hotel shuttles pick up from the Federal Circle station on the Jamaica and Howard Beach AirTrain lines, which is free within the airport.

If you're really short on cash, sleeping in the airport is an option, although not an overly pleasant one. Seating can be limited depending on which terminal you're in, the terminals can get cold (so bring a sweater at the very least) and while the cleaning staff generally won't bother you, their loud machines can wake you up. If you're worried about your bags getting stolen, luggage storage is available for a fee in Terminals 1 and 4, although the one in Terminal 4 is the only one open 24 hours a day, in case you need to access your bags before 7AM.


The only neighborhood that's really nearby is Jamaica.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, February 19, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.