July 27, 2010 6:49 AM   Subscribe

I might arrive at Newark Liberty International Airport at 2:30am. The United ticket counter doesn't open 'til 4:30 am. Good idea? Bad idea? Bueller? (more beyond the fold)

So I'll be coming from Philadelphia for a 7:00am weekday flight. The problem is that all of the Amtrak and NJ Transit trains don't arrive til 6:00 (or later), which is totally not an option for me with luggage, etc. What I'm thinking of doing is catching an 11:45ish (pm) NJ Transit out of 30th Street Philly, which will deposit me at EWR at 2:30 or so.

AirTrain from the station to the terminal is not an issue, since it's apparently 24 hours. But is it a terrible idea to be at the terminal that early? Alternatively, is there any place else I may as well go to kill that 2 hour period before United opens?
posted by the NATURAL to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total)
The only place in Newark I would hang out at 2:30 AM is the airport.
posted by smackfu at 6:54 AM on July 27, 2010 [5 favorites]

It's a perfectly fine idea to hang out in the airport for two hours. Bring a snack because catering options will be limited. The drink machines will be open though.

Do not leave the airport. Newark at 3 am is not a place for tourists.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:59 AM on July 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

There will probably be other people there. Thermos of coffee and a book to read while standing in the line (you'll want to queue to make sure you get to customs asap), and the time will fly.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 7:01 AM on July 27, 2010

Totally normal, as a kid I was consistently dragged to Newark an hour or two before the ticket counters opened because my mom liked to take super-early flights to vacation destinations. The chairs and areas near the ticket counters are spartan but climate-controlled and safe.

Bring a neck pillow if you want to try to nap (I enjoy attaching my luggage to my legs and using it as a footrest) or a book or some entertaining electronic device.

Have a safe trip!
posted by rachaelfaith at 7:07 AM on July 27, 2010

Here is Sleeping in Airports' guide to Newark.
posted by nitsuj at 7:32 AM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've done this once, for the same reason. Took the last Amtrak out of the city and got to EWR sometime around 3am. You'll be fine.

One tiny section of the airport terminal was open and I waited there in a row of chairs with about a dozen other people as if it was a bus stop. For three hours.
posted by ceribus peribus at 7:41 AM on July 27, 2010

You could just take the train all the way to NYC, and enjoy the assorted nighttime options there. There are plenty of early-morning trains from NYC to EWR.

Mind you, I don't have a great ides of what those assorted nighttime options are. But I'm sure they exist. And don't spend the night in Newark unless you're in the airport.
posted by schmod at 8:34 AM on July 27, 2010

You'll be fine in the airport, but I respectfully disagree that you want to start your night in NYC at 2:45 am.

It might be a long and boring wait, but you won't have any problems. Some homeless people periodically crash in the airport, but in my experience they keep to themselves and I've only ever seen one or two in my many trips to EWR.
posted by inmediasres at 8:41 AM on July 27, 2010

The wonderful Sleeping in Airports has lots of info on spending your late nights at EWR.

you'll want to queue to make sure you get to customs asap

You don't go through customs when departing from a U.S. airport.
posted by grouse at 9:53 AM on July 27, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the heads-up, MeFi. I feel better about my absurd travel arrangements now :)
posted by the NATURAL at 5:36 PM on July 28, 2010

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