The plane has emptied out, and the last piece of luggage has been collected at baggage claim. It’s finally time to head into town and get to the point of all that travel. But in America’s biggest cities, the trek to the city center can feel as long as the flight itself.
In New York and Los Angeles, the options to get from the airport to where the action can feel overwhelming, so we’re here for you with a guide to getting to and from the airport!
The budget option: $10 or less
While flyers to Los Angeles International Airport can connect to the city’s metro rail by shuttle bus, the faster option for just a couple dollars more is to take a FlyAway bus. FlyAway buses to downtown Los Angeles cost just $8 and run every 20-30 minutes to historic Union Station, mere minutes from the Omni Los Angeles Hotel at California Plaza. Buses to Hollywood, Santa Monica and Van Nuys also cost just $8, while those to Westwood and UCLA’s campus cost $10.
The pool outside the Omni.
The value option: $20-$50
For years, shuttle van services like RoadRunner dominated LAX’s mid-tier transit options, with rates of about $20 or a bit less to share a fan with half a dozen fellow travelers. But customer service can be spotty and the vans themselves are hit or miss. Taxis have their own quality concerns and can run as much as $60 after tips.
A newer option with more consistent service is Uber’s more affordable option, the UberX car service, which arrives at LAX at summer’s end thanks to a new deal to allow ride-hailing apps at the airport for the first time. UberX saves as much as half off the price of a regular Uber black car, and at about $25 to West Hollywood, guests can be relaxing at the rooftop swimming pool of Le Parc Suite Hotel in minutes.
Taking in Rodeo Drive.
The luxury option: $90 and up
Travelers looking to arrives in style can opt for longtime favorite LAX Limo, a limousine service known for its well-appointed fleet of vehicles and excellent customer ratings. LAX Limo can accommodate last-minute reservations and provide transportation ideal for busienss groups or just a couple looking for a little extra comfort. At about $90 per trip or more, LAX Limo cars come at a premium. But they’ll look the part when they roll up to the Beverly Wilshire to drop off at the hotel steakhouse or spa.
Avoid: Metro shuttle, regular taxi, shuttle vans
New York City
The budget option: $10 or less
Since 2003, New Yorkers have counted on a reliable, if not exactly speedy, journey to John F. Kennedy International Airport thanks to an AirTrain connection to the New York’s extensive subway line. The AirTrain and a ride on the subway will cost visitors $7.75 combined (truly new visitors without a MetroCard must also pay a $1 new card fee). For those arriving through New Jersey and Newark Liberty International Airport, AirTrain connects with NJ Transit light rail trains running about every 10 minutes. Fares there cost a bit more, at $12.50 for adults and $8.75 for children and seniors.
Both options can get travelers to New York’s Penn station area in midtown in less than an hour without a wait time for the train. But at a little more than an hour, they can prove about as fast as taking a car in traffic, while many times cheaper. From there it’s just a short walk to some of New York City’s famed attractions and historic lodgings like the The Algonquin Hotel.
Madison Square Garden beckons above Penn Station.
The value option: $20 or less
For a little more money than the train, travelers to New York can choose the NYC Airporter express shuttle service. These buses are modern, with free Wi-Fi and leather seats. The Airporter’s the cheapest reliable option from New York’s smaller airport LaGuardia, at $14, and at $16 is a viable option from JFK, too. The Airporter can get passengers to New York’s Grand Central Terminal in forty minutes. Even better, the shutles will drop off directly at hotels between 23rd Street and 63rd Street for no extra charge, depositing visitors right at their door at classic hotels such as The Roosevelt Hotel.
The view from the Jimmy atop the James Hotel.
The luxury option: $60 and up
Uber operates from New York’s airports at varying rates but can offer the best value for the money at the higher end. From Newark, UberX’s $70 typical fare into Manhattan can still be at least $20 cheaper than taking a local New Jersey taxi into town; UberX from JFK will cost about $65 and $50 from LGA, about comparable with a New York yellow cab but with typically better cars and no long lines to wait in. Uber black cars and SUVs can add some space and style to the trip, but will cost more than $100 for fares into Manhattan to trendy hotels like The James New York in SoHo.
Avoid: Aggressive private car service pitchmen