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5 Major Changes Coming At JFK That Will Affect Your Next Trip

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On April 24, John F Kennedy International Airport officials released new details of the JFK renovation ramp-up.

Intensive construction began last week on the $9.5 billion overhaul of Terminal 1 (created out of what were previously terminals 1, 2, and 3), as well as the $4.2 billion renovation of Terminal 6 and the redesign of airport roadways.

JFK airport

For travelers arriving from, connecting through, or departing from JFK, this phase of construction will be the most disruptive.

Here are five major changes at JFK that will affect your next trip:

1. Gridlock and Delays

The Port Authority has advised travelers to expect longer transit times effective immediately. 

In addition to roadblocks from terminal construction, many of the existing roadways are going to be demolished and rebuilt.

Travelers planning to arrive at JFK by car or taxi should build a serious buffer into their itinerary for traffic-related delays on the approach to the airport. 

At the JFK Airport Operations Center,  traffic engineers have been tasked with continuously monitoring the roads and creating dynamic policies to best address the current situation. 

The Port Authority is trying to prevent the same gridlock issues that New York travelers remember so fondly from La Guardia’s construction chaos six years ago, when traffic was so bad that passengers ditched their vehicles and walked along the highway to reach their terminal. 

cars in line at airport

2. New Traffic Patterns

JFK officials announced that new traffic patterns will begin later this month and continue until at least 2027. 

The ultimate goal of this roadway construction is to create a ring-road airport road network that would prevent bottlenecks and congestion. In the interim, however, travelers can expect unpredictable and jammed traffic patterns. 

construction cones

Terminal 5’s recirculation road will be permanently closed in the next few weeks. 

Access points from JFK Expressway and Van Wyck Expressway to Terminal 1 will shift, and egress from Terminal 1 will involve a temporary looped bridge. Other access points and loops will be replaced in the coming weeks and months as well.

JFK might soon “proactively mitigate and push all the traffic down from the departures to the arrivals level,” said JFK Redevelopment Manager Jessica Forse in a recent comment to NBC4.

Travelers are instructed to call their airlines the day before departure for the latest updates on construction-related changes and instructions for arrival by car.

taxis JFK airport

3. No Parking At Terminal 1

The Green Garage previously located at Terminal 1 was closed last year and is still in demolition. 

Travelers should park in the Red Garage by Terminal 8, then take the AirTrain to Terminals 4-7 or free shuttle bus to Terminal 1. 

Alternatively, the Blue, Orange, and Yellow Garages remain open at Terminals 4, 5, and 7, respectively. Pre-booking is strongly recommended for JFK parking during the construction period.

Passengers Walking Through Hall At New York JFK Airport, United States

4. No AirTrain Stop At Terminal 1 

Terminal 1’s AirTrain stop will remain closed for the next seven months while construction crews assemble a steel frame over it. 

Instead, a free shuttle bus service from Terminal 8 (including Red Garage parking) is available 24/7. An additional shuttle bus will run between Terminals 1 and 4 from 9am-11pm.

The AirTrain will stop at Terminals 4, 5, 7, 8,  Lefferts Blvd., and Federal Circle as usual. Construction may affect frequency, but passengers can still expect the standard wait times of 4-20 minutes depending on time of day. 

Aerial View Of Inter-Terminal Transport In New York JFK International Airport, United States

5. Ten Minute Walk For a Taxi or Uber from Terminal 5

As of last week, the taxi and rideshare pickup points previously located at Terminal 5 near JetBlue have been moved to the Yellow Garage on ground level. 

Travelers arriving at Terminal 5 will walk an additional 10 minutes and cross an enclosed pedestrian bridge to reach the new taxi stand.

Lyft and Uber at airport

All in all, JFK is going to get worse before it gets better. Summer travelers should pack some patience for their next trip through New York.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Thursday 11th of May 2023

JFK often has the lowest fares and best choice of flights to a destination, but it takes an extra half hour or so to deal with, compared with other airports, so just build in the time and get there early so there is no anxiety.