Traveling between terminals at JFK can be a bit confusing, especially if it’s your first time. The good news is that it’s possible to do, and with a little bit of know-how, it can be easy. Here are some tips to help you make the journey between terminals with ease.
JFK Terminal Map
First, let’s understand the size of JFK and how far the terminals are spread out. JFK has 6 terminals that are spread out over 4 miles. It’s important to plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to make your connection – at least an hour, if not more.
The map below displays JFK airport, with Eastern terminals 4 and 5 on the left side and Western Terminal 1 on the right.
Can you walk between terminals at JFK?
While it is technically possible to walk between terminals, this is not recommended. The distances are too far and it would take too long to get from one place to another. For example, it will take you very long to walk from Terminal 5 to Terminal 1 but may be possible to walk from Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 as they are located close to each other.
It is important to note that JFK Airport’s management does not encourage people to walk between terminals as this adds traffic to the already busy loop which can become congested and cause serious security issues.
See the AirTrain schedule here.
What the PANYNJ Rules Say:
In the Rules published in 2009 by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey which manages the airport, it states that “No person shall travel on any portion of an Airport except upon the roads, walks or places provided for the particular class of traffic, nor occupy the roads or walks in such manner as to prevent their proper use.”
In other words, walking across the tarmac or in restricted areas is forbidden. PANYNJ wants to reduce foot traffic and maintain proper security.
About JFK Ground Transportation:
JFK has an AirTrain network which is a free monorail that links all terminals and parking lots, as well as the Federal Circle station. It runs 24/7 and leaves every 4 minutes during peak hours and 10-15 minutes during off-peak hours.
AirTrain follows a rectangular route and has parking and vehicle access on the inside of the loop. The ‘insides’ of the airport (closer to land) are pre-security, where anyone can go, while the ‘outsides’ of the airport (further from land) are post-security areas only accessible to those with boarding passes.
If you’re taking the train, remember that it goes in the opposite direction of the outer loop. So, if your final destination is Terminal 8 at JFK, you should get off at Terminal 1 and switch to an inner loop train. That way, terminal 8 will be the next stop instead of 5 stops away.
can you move between terminals at JFK after security?
Once you have gone through security, it is possible to move between terminals but might need to use the AirTrain. JFK has a dedicated Air Train which operates 24/7 and takes passengers from one terminal to another in just 5 minutes. The cost of the Airtrain is $7.75 per person and tickets can be purchased at the vending machines located inside the station or online.
Bear in mind that if you’re changing terminals, you’ll have to go through security screening again. Make sure to leave a buffer of time so you don’t miss your next flight.
How do I get from Terminal 2 to Terminal 4 at JFK?
The quickest way to get from Terminal 2 to Terminal 4 is on the JFK AirTrain. To get there, simply follow the signs for the AirTrain on the lower levels of each terminal. From here, you can take the JFK AirTrain from the Terminal 2 Stations located at the Southernmost part of the Airport. To avoid a long ride, take the AirTrain from the Federal Circle Station and exit at Terminal 4. The ride should only take about 5 minutes.
Once you’ve arrived at Terminal 4, you can go up to the Departures level for check-in and boarding.
As shown in the map below, you can AirTrain moves clockwise and you can easily get to Terminal 2 as it is the next stop when you board at Terminal 4.
You can also take Jamaica Train or Howard Beach Train from Terminal 2 to Terminal 4.
How to get to terminal 4 from terminal 5 JFK:
Use trains moving in the anti-clockwise direction, especially the Jamaica and Howard Beach Trains that run opposite to the AirTrain. You can find these trains located at the central terminal area between terminals 4 and 5.
The Jamaica train goes to Terminal 4 in around 8 minutes while the Howard Beach Train takes 10-12 minutes.
You can also use the AirTrain to move from Terminal 4 to 5 which departs every 5 minutes but remember that the AirTrain goes clockwise.
After you pass through security at JFK, the only way to transport yourself between terminals is by Jitney shuttle bus. The Jitney shuttle bus is a free service that Delta provides for its passengers. The shuttles are located near Terminal 2 at gate C60 and also near Terminal 4 gates B54 and B18.
Can I walk from Terminal 4 to 5?
Yes, Terminals 4 and 5 are very close to each other and you can easily walk between the two.
The distance between these terminals is around 600 meters according to Google Maps and should take about 10 minutes at most. An AirTrain, however, will be faster and more convenient.
Remember that the AirTrain goes clockwise and you can easily get to Terminal 5 as it is the next stop when you board at Terminal 4.
My name is Alex Mutuma and I founded this blog, Airport LLC as a way to document and engage with clients in my travel consulting business. Airportllc.com is the only source of over 2,000 fun things flyers could do during layovers.
Over the past 7 years, I have designed and planned tour packages for hundreds of clients and have recently focussed on the mission of changing boring layovers to excellent mini-vacations by giving you the best suggestions on must-do activities when flying over different airports.
Next time you or your friend are looking for suggestions on what to do in some airport, remember Airport LLC or Airportllc.com. On this site, you’ll get the best suggestions available on the internet regarding hand-picked activities that will fulfill your airport experience.
I currently reside in New York City and have obtained a license to provide professional tour guidance at Airports in the US and across the world. Why should you listen to my suggestions? I have flown through more than 100 airports in the world and fortunately, I have pictures, stories, and tips to share with you regarding all the fun stuff you can do as you wait for your next flight.
Aside from gaining thousands of flying miles, I am also a travel consultant assisting clients with bookings and specifically advance tour bookings of things to do at airports when the layover is longer than 5 hours.
To make a 15-minute free things-to-do consultation with Alex, use my email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is only recommended for flyers with long layovers of over 5 hours. If your layover is 3+ hours, you can still reach out but we cannot guarantee the ideal package that will change your layovers to mini-vacations. I only support clients flying through US airports and a select number of cities across the world.
Name: Alex Mutuma
Profession: A professional travel consultant with a focus on airport activities to do during layovers
Phone: +1 945 348 889
Location: 322 Main Packway Street, Boston, US