Is there any benefit to flying into Newark instead of New York?
January 6, 2015 7:28 PM   Subscribe

Hey peeps, we're planning a future trip and really need some local knowledge. We want to fly from Canada to New York. There aren't any direct flights from where I live to JFK or LaGuardia. We would need to make a layover in Toronto...

Air Canada does, however, have direct flights to EWR in Newark. TaxiMe is estimating $60-80 in cab fare to get to the hotel. The hotel is 10 miles from LaGuardia and 17 miles from EWR. Does flying into Newark sound like a good plan, or is there a better way to do this? Is there something we're missing or any travel gotchas we're not thinking of?
posted by Calzephyr to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (38 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Sure, Newark is one of the airports that service NYC, and it's actually better connected to public transport than Laguardia. Where is your hotel? In Manhattan? Besides cab, you can ride the NJ Transit or take a shuttle bus into Manhattan. Both will cost you $10-$20.
posted by pravit at 7:32 PM on January 6, 2015 [6 favorites]

In my opinion, a non-stop into Newark is always preferable to a connecting flight into JFK or LaGuardia. Getting from Newark into the city (assuming you're staying in Manhattan) is really not much harder or more expensive than from JFK. But saving the hassle of a connecting flight is huge.

Also, I recently flew from Edmonton to NYC via Toronto and I found connecting through there to be a huge pain in the ass. Long, kind of confusing walk between gates, with a maddening customs checkpoint in between. I am a U.S. citizen, though, so your hypothetical path through YYZ might be different than mine was. Still, I think you are better off flying straight into EWR.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 7:36 PM on January 6, 2015 [6 favorites]

I just did it for the first time. It's as good flying to JFK, and much better than flying to LGA. The fact that the airport is officially in a different state is irrelevant as far as you're concerned; what matters is that there's a train that goes directly from the airport to midtown Manhattan.
posted by John Cohen at 7:37 PM on January 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

Public transit into Manhattan is actually much easier from Newark than it is from JFK. Take the airtrain to NJ Transit and then NJ transit straight into Penn Station.
posted by deanc at 7:37 PM on January 6, 2015

EWR is kind of annoying, but nothing compared to the pain of a connection. I've flown into EWR to go to New York many times, and it's fine.
posted by primethyme at 7:38 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you're staying in Manhattan EWR is a good choice. You can take public transit into NYC from EWR and it's actually a bit easier than JFK and way easier than LGA. LGA is closest via car, but has crappy public transportation options.
posted by bedhead at 7:40 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Public transit into Manhattan is actually much easier from Newark than it is from JFK. Take the airtrain to NJ Transit and then NJ transit straight into Penn Station.

Well, they both involve a short ride directly from the airport, followed by a longer train/subway ride. The train ride from EWR seemed shorter, but it was cramped, with not much space for a suitcase. The subway ride from JFK seemed longer but with more potential space for suitcases (though also potentially more cramped if there are a lot of people).
posted by John Cohen at 7:41 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Nthing that Newark is basically a NYC metro airport.
Gotta add though -- as far as LGA not having good public transport to Manhattan: that kind of is depending on where in Manhattan you want to go. I love taking the M60 bus from LGA to Morningside Heights for instance -- it is a great option if you want to go to certain neighborhoods in Manhattan (and Queens).
But yeah, Newark will be fine.
posted by third rail at 7:44 PM on January 6, 2015

Interesting guys! Thanks so much and keep it coming :)

Our hotel would be in Manhattan. We've travelled on the West coast but never the East before.
posted by Calzephyr at 7:44 PM on January 6, 2015

If you want to tell us the neighborhood (or address) in Manhattan where your hotel is, you might get more specific answers about public transport...
posted by third rail at 7:46 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Newark is 100% fine and acts as one of the main NYC area airports, anyway. There is easy public transit into Manhattan from there, too, which can't be said for La Guardia (and is borderline for JFK).

However, if you're with another person, the cost of a cab vs. public transit from Newark might be worth it. You'll pay something like $15 apiece for the train ride, in the first place, and that plus a cab from Penn Station to your final destination could come close to the price of a taxi the whole way.
posted by Sara C. at 7:47 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Not many people fly into EWR to go to Newark. It basically serves NYC, Westchester County, NY and the NJ suburbs of NYC. I prefer Liberty over JFK. LGA is great to get to Manhattan if you want to cab it.
posted by 724A at 7:58 PM on January 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

Also, I would not rely on the NYC bus system from La Guardia as a first time visitor to a major East Coast city. Maybe if you live in the heart of Toronto and have a spidey sense for complicated urban bus systems, but even then, there are just too many mistakes to be made.

My second year living in NYC, I got a wild hair to take the scenic route home from La Guardia, got on a bus going in the wrong direction, ended up in Flushing, Queens, and then had to double back into Manhattan via the 7 Train. This was fine, because I lived in NYC and in general knew the city well. But being in a strange place, relying on the right bus through a nondescript neighborhood deep into a city you don't know at all, after an already hectic day of traveling? Unless you're a huge fan of drab urban landscapes or grungy city bus systems, why?
posted by Sara C. at 8:01 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I think the hotel is in the Theatre District, the postal code is 10019. It's a group of four of us going. Thanks for the tip Sara C, I never thought how much more transit fare would be. Looking for a shared van service instead of a cab right now. It helps to know there are so many options. But yes, as a first time visitor I can see how it would be confusing. Our local transit system is pretty small potatoes compares to Toronto or NYC.

Conrad, great point about the connecting flight. I didn't think about having to go through customs on a connection. That sounds like a PITA for sure.
posted by Calzephyr at 8:05 PM on January 6, 2015

Newark airport is the bees knees! Heaps more relaxing than La Guardia. Mixed feelings about JFK because it's pretty, but convenient? Not so much.
posted by jbenben at 8:06 PM on January 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

Four should fit into a cab just fine unless you have an awful lot of luggage. And there will likely be minivan and/or SUV taxi options in the cab rank at the airport, anyway.
posted by Sara C. at 8:09 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Newark's perfectly fine. You'll have to clear US customs and immigration before boarding on the leg taking you into the US, which is another reason to avoid a Toronto layover: get it over and done with on a direct flight.

Part of the cost of road transportation is the tolls (NJ Turnpike and the crossings to Manhattan) which the passenger is expected to pay on top of the fare. The train is faster and cheaper, but I'd agree with Sara C. that for two or more travellers, the cost of public transit starts to make a cab or limo worth considering if you're loaded with luggage and landing at a time when traffic isn't crazy. One wrinkle here is that while JFK and LGA taxis are regulated by the NYC TLC, Newark's taxis are regulated by the state of New Jersey and the regulatory environment is... different.

Your hotel may have a relationship with a car service that would give you a decent rate from Newark. No harm in phoning the desk to ask.
posted by holgate at 8:12 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

DO NOT TAKE SUPERSHUTTLE OR EQUIVALENT FROM THE AIRPORT. It works in other places just fine but not NYC.

The shuttle van driver will not leave the airport until the van is absolutely full. This is the only way they can make a profit at all and compete with public transit and taxis: every seat must be full. It can take a while to fill up the van with other passengers, all arriving at different times. Then they drop every passenger at a time.

So if you are first on the van and also at the end of the dropoff list, this means you spend a long time picking people up before you actually leave the airport. Then you get to experience NYC traffic hell as the Super Shuttle van drops everybody else off first, going uptown, downtown, cross town, etc. Stopping at several different hotels before they get to yours. Estimate getting to your hotel ~4 hours after you've landed.
posted by kathryn at 8:29 PM on January 6, 2015 [6 favorites]

It's great to get to Manhattan, but (for the sake of future searchers) it's a (relative) nightmare to get to Brooklyn because of tolls or way too many trains.
posted by unknowncommand at 8:32 PM on January 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

Naturally, you'll still have to go through customs somewhere—probably in NYC, but possibly on the Canadian end, since the US gov't maintains customs outposts at at least some Canadian airports. (I'm pretty certain that on a flight from Edmonton to Minneapolis, I passed through customs in the former rather than the latter.) I don't know if they only allow US citizens to go through customs on Canadian soil, though that would be a bit weird.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 8:33 PM on January 6, 2015

You can also get from JFK to Manhattan with no subway rides by taking the Airtrain to Jamaica Station and then taking Long Island Railroad to Penn Station. Very similar to Newark Airtrain to NJ Transit. Takes almost the same exact amount of time.
posted by the jam at 8:40 PM on January 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

I think you've probably been (rightly) convinced that Newark is the way to go for this trip, if that flight is indeed what you wind up with. In case you want more info here is a breakdown of transport bw all nyc area airports and the city..
posted by third rail at 8:53 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Like everyone said, take whatever direct flight you can get, EWR is officially a New York airport and getting slightly closer to city limits is not worth the hassle of a connection.

HOWEVER, I feel the odd compulsion to stick up for LaGuardia for a moment. It's actually quite convenient by transit from a lot of northern Manhattan and Queens (express bus to the 7/LIRR at Woodside, woo!), and it's close in enough that cabs are often a reasonable option. Also, because it's smaller and older, it is SO. MUCH. FASTER. to get in and out of than either JFK or Newark. You can be on your way to wherever you're going less than TEN MINUTES after you get off the plane.

The Newark Airtrain always seems to be out of service at the worst times, one December 23rd, it was flatout not running and they had to bus people from the station to the terminals. Needless to say, I missed my flight that day. Agreed with Kathryn, do not take SuperShuttle or NYCAirporter or anything that makes individual stops. Mixed results with the various buses that drop you off at Penn Station or Port Authority, with four people, cab or car/Uber is totally cost effective.
posted by yeahlikethat at 9:02 PM on January 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

Ack, SuperShuttle warning noted! I was looking at that site just now. My husband used to drive an airport shuttle and it did not work that way at all...can't beat local knowledge :)
posted by Calzephyr at 9:17 PM on January 6, 2015

10019 is on the west side, which is easier to get to from Newark. You might also look into taking a car service; there are kiosks where you can call them right outside baggage claim. If someone comes up and offers you a limo/car ride, DON'T take it. It's a well known scam and these drivers don't have livery (and in some cases driver's) licenses.

I don't know if it's different for Canadians, but on all my flights originating in Canada to the US I had to go through customs/border patrol before I got on the plane.
posted by brujita at 11:17 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't know if they only allow US citizens to go through customs on Canadian soil, though that would be a bit weird.

It applies to everyone on the plane. Most big Canadian airports have US passport/customs preclearance now. It means that Canadian flights can land at domestic gates, which is useful for the airline industry, as it opens up airports without border control facilities (particularly LGA and DCA) and frees up scarce and valuable international slots for long-haul flights from elsewhere. The airport that I assume the OP is using has a dedicated concourse for that purpose.
posted by holgate at 11:20 PM on January 6, 2015

I've done the route I suspect your taking many times and I highly advise against the Toronto layover. You'll have to get any checked bags, walk through miles of tunnels and go through US customs there. Newark to where you're going should be just a easy as JFK and you'll save time not connecting.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 2:37 AM on January 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

My fiancé does this all the time, and as a matter of fact we are doing this trip together in 2 days. We will take the train into town.
posted by chainsofreedom at 4:11 AM on January 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Hey, I take the airport bus from Port Authority to JFK (and vice versa) all the time and it's perfectly fine. It's $15 and leaves every half hour even if it's mostly empty. It makes one stop near Grand Central. Taking the Airtrain and transferring with a bunch of luggage never appealed to me.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:12 AM on January 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

I live on the west side of Manhattan and actually prefer Newark to JFK/LGA. Assuming that you're not arriving during rush hour (anywhere from 3-7pm during the week), for 4 people Uber will be the cheapest (rates coming from NJ are lower).
posted by snickerdoodle at 5:59 AM on January 7, 2015

Thanks so much guys! I feel more confident about the trip already. Haha, yes, we won't take a random cab :) I found out about Ozo and Arecibo, so it looks like there are tons of transportation options.
posted by Calzephyr at 6:47 AM on January 7, 2015

Just get a Yellow Cab in the Taxi queue at the airport. With 4 of you, that's the way to go, and they have minivan cabs that are perfect.

EWR is just as easy as any other area airport, so don't let that throw you.

We went with a group of 4 folks and found that taxis were actually cheaper than the subway for most trips, and a lot less hassle.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:14 AM on January 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

EWR is probably the best of the three NYC airports, and LGA the worst.

It doesn't make sense to connect through Toronto; with preclearance, the only time a connecting flight is not horribly inconvenient is if you're connecting through a U.S. airport in both directions.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:43 AM on January 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Also to be noted: LGA is notorious for delayed flights. EWR/JFK less so.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:59 AM on January 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

Snickerdoodle, we haven't booked the tickets yet, but will keep that time frame in mind.
posted by Calzephyr at 10:08 AM on January 7, 2015

The Toronto layover is a giant pain. You have to change terminals, pick up your bags, go through customs/immigration and then drop off your bags. I think you have to go through security again too (a different one - not the one with all the folks starting their journey at YYZ) which is annoying.

Put it this way: I'll now take Canada-US flights that route me through Chicago before Toronto. YYZ is a nice airport in many ways, but the process sucks for a trip en route to the US.

And make it easy on yourself. Just get in the taxi lineup and ask for a van/SUV. You don't specifically need a car service, and if you're not familiar with the airport, the pickup locations can be kind of confusing.
posted by barnone at 11:15 PM on January 7, 2015 [3 favorites]

Thanks Barnone :) We ended up booking our tickets. We were able to get a direct flight there, but couldn't get a direct flight back on the day we wanted, so we will take a layover in Montreal instead.

LOL I want to be easy on myself, but I do overplan sometimes.
posted by Calzephyr at 9:34 AM on January 8, 2015

Hey peeps, just wanted to thank you for your advice. Flying into and out of Newark worked well. We also accidentally fell for a gyspy cab - but afterwards I realized that it worked both ways - the driver, who had a band aid on the right side of his head - had to trust that we were not dangerous as much as we had to trust him. Our friends who flew in and out of JFK laughed at us...but on the return trip, we had the legit cab and they had a fake Yellow one. It's a pretty slick scam :)
posted by Calzephyr at 4:41 PM on September 27, 2015

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