How NOT to Transit Between Airports in New York City

by Shelli

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.

ETS Airport Shuttle Logo

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.

The Upshot

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.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

14 comments
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14 comments

Bourbon Miles February 4, 2019 - 11:39 am

Depending on the time of year a frequently inexpensive way to travel between JFK and EWR is to simply rent a car and drive from one airport to the other. While the taxes and fees usually equal the rent price both airport car rental areas are located near the airport train shuttles allowing for easy car drop off and flight check-in for $60-$100. Great for a family of four with extra luggage and you earn points/miles for the rental.

Reply
Shelli February 4, 2019 - 12:46 pm

This is a great option to know about. I figured a car would be much more costly, but then cost isn’t always measured in dollars! Thanks for the shot of Bourbon 🙂

Reply
George February 4, 2019 - 1:10 pm

I’ve learned something today, Shelli.
Thank you 🙂

PS: I think I would take the LIRR to Penn Station and another train to EWR. Lol

Reply
David A Marquette February 4, 2019 - 1:31 pm

i’m with you on this one — airtrain to Jamaica, LIRR to Penn, NJT from Penn to EWR Airtrain stop.

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Shelli February 4, 2019 - 1:34 pm

Thanks, David. Live and learn!

Reply
Shelli February 4, 2019 - 1:17 pm

Hi George, For sure that would be my first option next time 🙂 Always happy when my mistakes keep someone else from gray hairs!

Reply
Moses July 28, 2019 - 10:13 am

Worst service ever . I paid for a ticket from JFK to Newark international airport but the driver dropped me off at Central station in NYC and said he was told by his boss to return to JFK and left. I had to take a taxi for the rest of the journey. Never use ETS shuttle period.

Reply
Shelli July 28, 2019 - 10:24 am

Wow, Moses, your experience sounds horrible. But as you say, never use ETS again, for sure.

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derek November 13, 2019 - 4:12 pm

I wonder how long and expensive it would be to take the cheapest way. Here’s my calculations:

JFK terminals to AirTrain station + waiting for a train – 10 minutes
JFK AirTrain station (any terminal) to Lefferts Blvd. AirTrain station – free – 10 minutes
Q10 bus to Ozone Park/Lefferts Blvd (A train) – 12 minutes + 8 minutes waiting for bus (1-15 min)
Ozone Park/Lefferts Blvd (A train) to Chambers St. – 40 minutes + 7 minutes waiting (1-12 min.)
Chambers St. to WTC – guess – 10 minutes
PATH to Newark – 26 minutes + 5 min waiting (1-8 min.)
Newark to bus, including waiting – guess 10 minutes
bus to EWR, guess 20 min.
Total = 158 minutes (2:38), up to approx. 178 minutes (3 hours)

Reply
derek November 13, 2019 - 4:18 pm

additional fare info

(assuming you have a Metrocard. If not, add $1)

JFK AirTrain – free (to Lefferts Blvd., not free to Howard Beach or Jamaica)
Q10 bus – $2.75
A train – free transfer with Metrocard
PATH train – $2.75
New Jersey Transit bus 62 – $1.60
Total $7.10, count on 3.5 hours though 2:38 hours is possible

Reply
derek November 13, 2019 - 4:21 pm

I checked the NJ Transit schedule and bus 62 is supposed to take 19 minutes from Newark Penn Station to EWR Terminal B.

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Shelli November 13, 2019 - 5:02 pm

Wow, Derek. You really put your math hat on for this one. Great comments, thank you! I haven’t had to transit airports in NY since this last fiasco. Eventually I’ll have to, I’m sure. Much appreciate your calculated additions to this conversation.

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Steve Mann December 27, 2019 - 9:52 am

great info. but train to bus to train to train to train to bus doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when you’re carrying luggage. Often, folks going into or out of JFK are flying internationally and often have luggage.

$29 for a direct NYC express bus makes more sense. would love to save the $44 bucks but what’s your time/effort worth?

Reply
Shelli December 27, 2019 - 4:42 pm

You make good points, Steve. Thanks! It was a lesson learned in the time/effort/cost equation.

Reply

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