Knowing how to best transfer between New York airports can be challenging. Last week fellow Point Me contributor Sanjay did an excellent job covering the best ways to get from JFK to Manhattan. Now, I’d like to share how NOT to transit between the New York airports. Sometimes when traveling I think I’ll save some time and energy, but in this case my choice for going from airport to airport was a total bust.
As mentioned, Sanjay wrote about all the options to go from JFK to NYC. I needed to get from JFK to Newark Airport. Not quite the same, but Sanjay called the option I chose the “I Love Pain” option. How right he was!
JFK International Airport to EWR (Newark International Airport)
I needed to get from JFK International Airport to EWR Newark International Airport. Strange but true. It’s not often we transit from one New York airport to another, I know.
After doing some research I opted for a company called ETS Airport Shuttle. They offer direct shuttle service between the airports without going through NYC. Even though it cost $34, I thought I’d save time and also the stress of transiting through NYC and then getting out to EWR.
My Initial Impression of ETS
I called ETS a few times while doing my initial research. Each time the women who answered the phone were helpful and seemed to know what they were talking about. I was told the shuttle service ran every hour on the half hour and that no reservation was needed. I could pay when I landed at JFK.
My flight landed at 2:30 PM at JFK. I figured if I hustled and my bags came out quickly I could easily clear customs and catch the 3:30 PM shuttle service. Initially my plan went well.
The Best Laid Plans Run Amok Between New York Airports
By 3 PM I had paid for the shuttle and was told it would come at 3:30 PM. The shuttle showed up 40 minutes late. Their system is that the shuttle driver comes into the terminal to get you, so this takes quite a bit of time. Also, we still had to stop at another terminal before leaving JFK, so this added even more time to our late departure.
The ETS Plot Thickens Going Between New York Airports
But wait, it gets worse. The van, which seated eight people, was full. The van was old, in bad shape, and each time we hit a bump I thought we’d lose our transmission. The driver drove in the carpool lane and drove so slowly that all the cars were speeding by us in the lane next to us.
And he was nodding off! Yup, the driver was having a hard time staying awake.
I was in the last seat in the van and there were three guys in the front seats. Guys can be pretty stoic in these situations, but at one point one of the guys said to the driver, “Are you awake?” We were all glad the passenger spoke up because I think by then we had all seen that the driver was nodding off but no one wanted to say anything.
When we all finally got out of the van at EWR there was so much nervous glad-we-made-it energy that we had to talk amongst ourselves for a few minutes to debrief from the trip and driver experience! Then we went our separate ways.
From the time I paid for my ETS shuttle ticket, this trip from JFK to EWR took just under three hours. Taking public transportation into NYC and then a train out to Newark Airport would likely have taken the same amount of time, or less. Surely it would have cost a lot less than $34 and maybe I’d have a few less gray hairs, too!
I wouldn’t use ETS again, and if you ever need to transit between from New York airport to another in the greater New York area, I’d suggest you cross ETS off your options list as well.
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