Home Ground Transportation (Bus, Lyft, Subway, Taxi, Train, Uber, etc.) Easy Way To Save Money On The JFK AirTrain

Easy Way To Save Money On The JFK AirTrain

by joeheg

I remember when the price of a one-way trip on the JFK AirTrain from Howard Beach or Jamaica Stations only cost $5. In November 2019 the price increased to $7.75, making it a bit more expensive for groups to get from the airport to the subway or LIRR.

In January 2022 the price rose again, but this time by only 25 cents, to an even $8 per ride.

But there’s been a way to save money on AirTrain rides and it gets more valuable every time the fare goes up.

The MTA sells a 10-ride JFK AirTrain card for $25.

The best thing is that you don’t need to use all 10 rides to save money. It’s on the 4th swipe that you’ll start saving and how much depends on how many times you use the card.

If you use all 10 rides, you’ll save an amazing $55, a 68% discount for each trip.

Of course, there are some restrictions that make it harder for everyone to take advantage of the offer:

  • The card is only good for 30 days after the 1st swipe. It used to be good for 1 year but the time was cut at the same time as the fare increase in 2019.
  • You can only swipe the card for 4 rides at the same station. After that, you’ll have to wait 18 minutes before using it again. This is a restriction placed on all Metrocards (except unlimited ride cards which only allow 1 swipe).

Sharon and I’d save only $7 because we would otherwise pay $32 for 4 swipes. However, it’s a huge discount for a family of 4 who’d otherwise be paying $64 for trips between the Subway or LIRR to the terminals on the AirTrain.

The 10-ride JFK AirTrain card is more for locals and airport employees, which is probably why the price stayed the same in 2019 while single rides went up $2.75 each. But that doesn’t mean that tourists can’t take advantage of the savings.

Important Things To Know

The 10-ride JFK AirTrain card is only sold at MetroCard Vending Machines in Howard Beach and Jamaica Air Train stations. I found this website showing how to buy the cards from the machine, and while it’s an older post (because they still list the single ticket as only $5), I’d imagine the menus haven’t changed much since then.

Also, remember that you’ll need to pay for a ride on the subway or LIRR once getting to Jamaica or Howard Beach stations. You can use a MetroCard but it might be easier to pay for those rides using the newer OMNY readers on the turnstiles.

I’m embarrassed that I didn’t know of this trick earlier, as we could have been saving money on all of our trips to JFK.

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4 comments

Corey October 14, 2022 - 3:34 pm

If the weather is nice, you can always get off at Lefferts and walk to Aqueduct. It’s about 15 minutes with sidewalks the whole way and that way you avoid the airtrain fee altogether.

Reply
linmarie hirst October 14, 2022 - 5:44 pm

if a family of 4 ever decides to take the airtrain instead of a taxi. the decision maker should get punched in the face on the spot.

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joeheg October 14, 2022 - 6:39 pm

With the set price for a Taxi to JFK at $52 plus tolls and tip, it makes sense if you need to pay $32 for just the AirTrain. But with the 10-trip ticket, it would only cost $23 to get to Manhattan on the subway. That’s $60 R/T savings that could be spent somewhere else.

Reply
Kay October 14, 2022 - 10:05 pm

That’s good to know. This works really nicely for couple. One card 2 swipes each way. Will definitely keep this one in mind the next time me and my spouse visit NY.

Thank you!

Reply

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