In fact, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), over 104 million passengers moved through New York Metropolitan airports in 2011 alone!
However, while many cities have one large airport through which the majority of visitors travel, New York is served by a number of airports. The one you end up using typically depends on your destination or airline of choice.
That’s why we decided to put together this guide to New York’s various airports. Navigating air travel through the Big Apple can be difficult, so we want to help alleviate some of the confusion. Within this guide we will discuss the sizes of the various airports, their locations relative to NYC and places of interest near the airport, along with food and other services within the airport.
Lastly, we want to spend some time discussing the best way to travel to and from the airport, especially if you’re here on business. By exploring such things as Newark airport executive car service, EWR airport limo transportation and JFK airport limousine service, we will help make your journeys through New York’s airport system and the city itself significantly less stressful.
So, with that in mind, here is our guide to the various New York City metropolitan airports!
LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
LaGuardia Airport began as a publicity stunt performed by New York mayor, Fiorello La Guardia. As the story goes, in 1934 the mayor, after flying from Pittsburgh to Newark New Jersey, demanded that he be taken into New York proper, as his ticket listed his destination as New York, not Newark.
His goal was to draw attention to New York’s lack of airport facilities. At the time, Newark was the only commercial airport servicing the New York Metro area. The stunt worked, and soon New York broke ground on a new airfield located in Flushing, Queens.
Now over 75 years old, LaGuardia holds a special place in New York aviation history.
Air Travel Through LGA:
Air travel through LGA is defined by its perimeter rule. Simply put, no flights of longer than 1,500 miles are permitted at LGA — although an exception is made for flights to Denver, which is just outside the radius. This means LGA is reserved for domestic flights exclusively. In fact, it is the busiest non-international airport in the country. More specifically, PANYNJ reported that about 31.4 million passengers used LGA in 2014, representing an increase of 14.2% over the previous year.
One reason there are no international flights is because LGA’s runways are shorter than most and cannot be expanded, since the airport is surrounded by water on three sides. That means larger aircraft that also need to carry large amounts of fuel in order to make trans-oceanic flights don’t have enough room on the runway to get airborne.
Things to Do in and Around LGA:
One of the biggest perks of LGA is that — unlike most airports — LaGuardia is within walking distance of things to do. In fact, there is a footpath that leaves the Delta terminal that allows you to explore Flushing Bay and even walk to Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets.
If you have a long layover, don’t be afraid to actually leave the airport and spend some time in the open air.
If you’re on a tighter schedule, however, there are plenty of great restaurants in the airport, including Custom Burgers, Taste of Tagliare and Figs. There’s also an excellent Museum of Modern Art gift shop if you’re looking to buy a souvenir that is distinctly NYC.
However, while there are plenty of great restaurants and shops, one of LaGuardia’s central problems is that it wasn’t built to house the kind of security infrastructure that is now required in every airport. That means there’s very little space for retail past security check-in. And considering how long security lines can be, it can be frustrating to get through security only to find a limited number of things to do on the other side.
For those who travel for business and depend on Wi-Fi to get some in-airport work done, it should be noted that Wi-Fi in LGA costs $4.95 per hour.
Getting to LGA:
Another drawback of LGA is that it is difficult to get there using public transportation. Essentially, there is one bus route and that’s it. While the bus route makes an effort to connect with many area subway stops, if you have luggage, navigating this system can be frustrating.
That’s why so many people turn to either taxis or a LaGuardia Airport limo company to get there. As the premier LGA airport limousine company, all of us at Majestic are dedicated to helping our customers get to LaGuardia conveniently and comfortably.
John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK)
Almost immediately after the completion of LaGuardia, New Yorkers realized it wasn’t big enough to support the number of travelers coming in and out of New York. In response, they began work on Idlewild Airport. After the assassination of president John F. Kennedy, the airport was renamed.
Air Travel Through JFK:
As opposed to the other airport actually in the city of New York, JFK focuses on international travel. That means those doing business overseas are likely to end up here. In fact, JFK has non-stop flights to all six inhabited continents in the world!
It’s a hub for both American Airlines and Delta. More recently, the low-cost airline JetBlue has increased its presence, as JFK serves as the airline’s base of operations.
As such, it is the busiest of the New York airports, with PANYNJ reporting that over 53 million passengers traveled through JFK in 2014.
Things to Do in and Around JFK:
JFK is a little harder to access than the other Queens airport, so there is less to do in the immediate vicinity. However, one exception is Rockaway Beach. Although the boardwalk can get crowded, it holds an important place in New York and is worth at least one visit. It has only recently been reopened after the destruction of Hurricane Sandy.
Other than that, most of JFK’s amenities are located within the airport. For those familiar with New York food chains, the recent arrival of Shake Shack has greatly improved the food options in the airport. There is also great sushi at Deep Blue Sushi and many smaller non-chains that are perfect if you want to try something new. If you happen to be flying JetBlue, their terminal is home to some of the best restaurants.
For souvenir shoppers, there is a Museum of Modern Art shop, along with a hip and fun Japanese store called Muji.
Like LaGuardia, Wi-Fi in JFK costs $4.95 an hour, so keep that in mind if you’re planning on doing any work while you wait.
Getting to JFK:
If you’re a seasoned pro when it comes to navigating New York’s often confusing subway system, you can get a ride straight to the airport. While that makes public transportation a convenient option for those traveling light, the crowds in the subway can often make carrying luggage a nightmare.
Many people opt instead for a dedicated JFK executive car service. Instead of crowded train cars, you can ride to JFK in comfort. Here at Majestic, we are a leading JFK airport limousine company, and have years of experience getting busy travelers to their terminal on time.
Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
Newark Liberty International Airport holds the distinguished honor of being the United States’ first major airport. It opened on October 1, 1928. However, after LaGuardia opened, by all appearances, it looked as if Newark was going to have to close down commercial airline service. In fact, by the mid 1940s, no passenger flights were taking off from Newark.
However, while passenger flights may have ceased, the airport played an important role in World War II, allowing the airport infrastructure to continue to be used and supported. When the war ended, air travel became more popular, meaning New York once again had a need for more airport terminals. Therefore, almost as quickly as they had left, passenger airlines returned to Newark.
In response to the tragedy of 9/11 — in which Flight 93 took off from Newark — the airport decided to rename itself as Newark Liberty International Airport.
Air Travel Through EWR:
Newark Liberty is a full international airport, and while it isn’t quite as busy as JFK, it is still a very popular place for international travel. It is also United’s most important eastern hub, meaning if you usually fly with United, you will most likely be going to EWR rather than JFK.
According to PANYNJ, over 35 million passengers made their way through EWR in 2014, making it the second busiest airport in the New York system after JFK.
Things to Do in and Around EWR:
While it can be hard to get out of Newark Liberty if you only have a short layover, one of the easiest places to get to is the Ironbound neighborhood. This multi-ethnic neighborhood is considered one of the most vibrant in Newark, and is home to many wonderful Portuguese, Spanish and Brazilian eateries. If you are the adventurous type who likes to try new things, this is a great excursion for a lengthy layover.
If you can’t get out of the airport, there is plenty to do and eat within the terminals. Cap’s Beer Garden is a great place to get a sandwich and a craft brew. The Garden State Diner is an EWR mainstay and serves up great diner classics.
And Newark is working hard to further improve its already great offerings, as a new food court is under construction in Terminal C.
It’s also worth noting that, unlike the other New York airports, the first half-hour of Wi-Fi use at EWR is free.
Getting to EWR:
Although Newark Liberty is outside the reaches of New York City’s metro system, there are public transport options — especially AirTrain Newark, which eventually connects to Manhattan’s Pennsylvania Station. However, if you are in the city, the many connections and train switches needed to get to EWR can be hard on a traveler with any amount of luggage.
Car services are the most convenient and least stressful way to get to EWR. As the best EWR airport limousine company, all of us here at Majestic know how to get you to Newark Liberty comfortably and on time.
Westchester County/White Plains Airport (HPN)
Westchester County Airport (which is commonly referred to as White Plains Airport) is definitely the smallest of the New York area airports included in this guide. However, it is rapidly becoming a convenient option for travelers trying to avoid the headaches of larger airports.
The airport was originally built to be used by the Air National Guard during World War II, and American Airlines began using it for domestic passenger flights in 1949.
Air Travel Through HPN:
White Plains is by far the smallest airport in this guide, with the Federal Aviation Administration reporting just under a million passengers in 2010. It also only offers domestic flights, with the most common destinations being along the East Coast.
However, as the airline JetBlue grows, so too have their flight offerings in HPN. They are especially popular for those looking for flights between various cities in Florida and New York.
Things to Do in and Around HPN:
This is definitely a small commuter airport, so it doesn’t have nearly the number of amenities that are available in the larger New York airports. Additionally, all the restaurants, with the exception of the Departure Lounge, are located before the security checkpoint. That being said, while this can be a major inconvenience at larger airports, because of its size, getting through security at HPN is much quicker. The Traveler’s Club Lounge and Purchase Country Diner both offer good meals in a far less crowded atmosphere than most airports. There is also a small gift shop.
While there isn’t much to do immediately around HPN, because crowds and lines are so much more reasonable at the airport, if you do have a long layover, simply exploring the surrounding towns is a worthwhile adventure!
Getting to HPN:
As far as public transportation, HPN is served by both bus lines and the Metro-North Railroad. Because crowds are often more reasonable, public transport is less of a headache than it is in the city, but buses and trains arrive with less regularity, meaning planning your trip can be a challenge.
However, car access is easy, so if you are traveling for business or are from out of town, using HPN limousine service can make an already relaxing travel experience even more stress-free. Here at Majestic, we are the premier HPN airport limousine company, and since we offer services both into the city and to the other major NY airports, we are the most convenient option.
Booking Your New York Airport Car Service
Air travel can be stressful. Alleviating that stress is our primary goal at Majestic. So if you are looking for JFK airport limo transportation, get in touch. If you are instead in need of HPN airport limo transportation, we are your best option. Whether you are in the market for a limousine company from LGA to EWR or any other combination, we are you best option for getting to any New York City area airport comfortably and on-time.
Additionally, if you are looking to set up executive car services for any of these New York airports, we have years of experience making business travel easier. We’ll be there to meet you at baggage claim and we’ll drop you off at your terminal when your business through.
Either way, we look forward to helping make your travel easier and more enjoyable!