Can you Travel Between Terminals at JFK?

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.

JFK AirTrain Schedule, Hours and Other FAQs

At JFK, you can transfer to your next flight using an air train which is an on-airport rail service. The air train runs 24 hours a day and makes stops at each JFK terminal as well as the Howard Beach station for the A subway line and the Lefferts Boulevard station for the Long Island Rail Road. If you’re going to Manhattan, you can take the air train to Jamaica Station where you can then transfer to the E subway line.

The ride from JFK to Jamaica Station takes about 15 minutes and costs $5 USD. If you’re going to Penn Station, you can take the air train to the Sutphin Boulevard station where you can transfer to the E, J or Z subway lines.

The AirTrain system at JFK connects passenger terminals to airport parking lots, shuttle pick-up areas, parking lots, hotel shuttle pick-up area, car rental pick-up areas, and to the NYC’s public transportation network at Jamaica and Howard Beach Stations.

JFK AirTrain Cost:

If you board JFK AirTrain outside the JFK airport at Howard Beach and Jamaica Stations, you’ll have to pay $8.

If you board JFK AirTrain at any of the 6 Terminals namely, 1, 2,4,5,7 and 8, you don’t get charged at all.

The map below will give you an idea and locations of where the terminals and stations are;

JFK AirTrain Map:

The map of JFK’s AirTrain shows all the 6 terminals that the air train covers including its services to Howard Beach, Lefferts Blvd, Jamaica and Federal Circle.

Image - AirTrain JFK

JFK AirTrain Schedule:

The JFK AirTrain Schedule operates 24/7 at all 365 days of the year. It runs every other 15 mins but during peak hours, you’ll be able to board the air train every other 7 minutes.

image showing JFK AirTrain Schedule for a full day during the week and on weekend.
An image showing JFK AirTrain Schedule for a full day during the week and on weekends. Credit:

12 am. to 6 am. Schedule:

Between 12 am to 6 am, JFK train is available every other 15 to 20 mins which is considerably lower frequency compared to peak periods.

6 am to 11 am Schedule:

Between 6 am to 11 am, JFK train is available to take passengers every other 7 to 10 mins during weekdays and can be up to 15 to 20 mins during weekends.

Peak period schedule:

Between 11 am to 10 pm, JFK train’s schedule is available for boarding every other 4 to 6 mins throughout the week.

10 pm to 12 am:

From 10 am to 12 am, you can expect to catch JFK Airtrain every other 7 to 10 mins throughout the week.

Between each terminal at the Airport, it takes just 2 minutes for the train.

How to get a JFK AirTrain Metro Card?

If you don’t have a metro card, you can easily get one at any of the MetroCard Vending Machines (MVMs) that are located throughout the airport. If you want to find an MVM, just look for signs that say “MTA Metro-Card” or “AirTrain.”

You can use your credit or debit card to buy a Pay-Per-Ride or Unlimited Ride MetroCard from the vending machines. The amount of money you’ll need on your card will depend on how many rides you plan on taking and whether you want an unlimited ride card.

If you’re only taking the AirTrain once, you’ll need $5 on your card for the ride from JFK to Jamaica Station or $7.75 from JFK to Howard Beach. If you’re planning on taking the AirTrain more than once or if you want an unlimited ride card, you can get a 7-day unlimited ride card for $32 or a 30-day unlimited ride card for $127.

You can also get a Pay-Per-Ride card, which will deduct $2.75 from your card each time you take the AirTrain.

JFK AirTrain Contacts/Customer Support: