10 Ways to Get to Newark Airport (And None of Them Are Good)

I flew out of Newark Airport for the first time ever last week. It never seemed like a convenient choice, solely because it's in New Jersey... and even worse, Newark, New Jersey (I once took an online "purity test" that asked, "have you ever been to Newark, New Jersey?"). But others were convinced that it wasn't so bad - Newark has fewer delays than LaGuardia, and it's closer to Manhattan than JFK.

I've been had. In terms of ground transportation, Newark is the most ridiculously complicated and costly airport choice in New York. Here's ten different ways to get to Newark Airport from my apartment in Manhattan, and all of them suck:

1. Taxi from your door to the airport terminal
Length: 30 minutes, on the best of days; over an hour during gridlock
Cost: about $50, plus tip
Advantages: No need to travel with the plebes underground, door-to-door service
Disadvantages: Cab driver may drive off upon hearing the word "Newark," you may spend more money getting to the airport than on your flight from the airport

2. L Train to 8th Avenue, A/C/E Train to Penn Station, New Jersey Transit to Newark Airport Station, Airtrain to airport terminal
Length: 45 minutes to an hour
Cost: $16
Advantages: Low cost, the excitement of the potential to be groped on a crowded train, being able to blame Amtrak for inevitable delays on NJ Transit
Disadvantages: Being at the mercy of an unreliable public transit system, struggling to hold onto your luggage as you force your way through a turnstile

3. L Train to 6th Avenue, PATH Train to Hoboken, New Jersey Transit to Newark Airport Station, Airtrain to airport terminal
Length: 55 minutes
Cost: $14
Advantages: Being able to tell friends at your destination, "I was in Hokoben this morning," as though it were an exotic destination
Disadvantages: There are exactly two trains a day that run directly to the airport from Hoboken, so this option is as viable as hailing the Cash Cab to Newark and hoping you don't get kicked out on the Pulaski Skyway.

4. L Train to 6th Avenue, PATH Train to Journal Square, PATH Train to Newark Penn Station, New Jersey Transit to Newark Airport Station, Airtrain to airport terminal
Length: One hour
Cost: $11
Advantages: The cheapest reasonable option (despite still being $9 more expensive than the cheapest option to JFK), the thrill of visiting Downtown Newark
Disadvantages: Being at the mercy of four different unreliable public transit systems (one for each leg of the trip!), the loss of one purity point

5. L Train to 8th Avenue, A/C/E Train to Penn Station, Amtrak to Newark Airport Station, Airtrain to airport terminal
Length: 45 minutes to ???
Cost: $37
Advantages: Riding in "the lap of luxury" for 22 minutes, the excitement of wondering if Amtrak will still be in business on the day of your flight
Disadvantages: Looking like a complete and absolute sucker

6. L Train to 8th Avenue, A/C/E Train to Penn Station, New Jersey Transit to Newark Penn Station, New Jersey Transit ticket machine, New Jersey Transit to Newark Airport Station, Airtrain to airport terminal
Length: One hour and 10 minutes
Cost: $13.25
Advantages: Spiting NJ Transit by demonstrating how absurd it is that it's cheaper to get off the train at Newark, buy a new ticket, get back on the train, and then go to the airport
Disadvantages: Looking like a cheap mofo to save an extra $2.75

7. L Train to 8th Avenue, A/C/E Train to 42nd Street/Port Authority, Olympia Trails Bus to Newark Airport
Length: One hour
Cost: $16
Advantages: Your amusement at the hobos at Port Authority when taking a 6am flight, practically being assured a seat on the bus
Disadvantages: Your amusement at the bus company in assuming that the bus trip through the Lincoln Tunnel takes just as long at 5am as it does at 5pm

8. Supershuttle
Length: 45 minutes to an hour
Cost: $19, plus tip
Advantages: Knowing that you are not the only New Yorker catching a shuttle to the airport at 4:15 in the morning, the chit-chat with the folks from Texas who got picked up at the Marriott Marquis
Disadvantages: Picking up every other New Yorker awake at 4:15 in the morning before finally leaving Manhattan, the chit-chat with the folks from Texas who got picked up at the Marriott Marquis

9. Walking
Length: four hours (at a brisk pace)
Cost: free
Advantages: Complete freedom to leave whenever you want, a rest stop at the White Castle in Jersey City
Disadvantages: Inhaling the fumes in the Holland Tunnel, the inevitable arrest by Port Authority Police

10. Carjacking
Length: 15 minutes
Cost: free
Advantages: By far the fastest method of getting to Newark (assuming a police chase ensues), being able to flee the jurisdiction by plane (assuming no police chase ensues)
Disadvantages: Being sure to jack a car that has E-Z Pass and can make it all the way to the airport, having a permanent felony record

55 Moments of Idiocy:

Blogger WelshSoxFan said...

Get a car service, cheapo!!

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Marjorie said...

Wow, I can't believe you sat there and came up with 10 ways. Though you did forgot rent a car.

8:55 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Actually, a car service is only a few bucks less expensive than a cab. I'm not made of money, you know!

8:56 PM  
Blogger Jaime said...

Oh my God, I died reading this. Especially since I'm heading back to Minneapolis via Newark airport tomorrow afternoon. Luckily, the company is picking up the tab for the car service, or I would have had to print out this post.

9:53 PM  
Blogger J$ said...

i bet you could do option 6 without leaving the train, just buying both tickets in NYC before you leave.

1:05 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

J$: You're probably right about that, although I thought the NJ Transit ticket machines don't allow you to buy a ticket to the airport from any station other than the one you're at.

On the way back, it's definitely not possible: the ticket machines at the airport don't allow you to change the departure point to anything other than the airport.

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can defiantly appreciate this as a flight attendant living in NYC and commuting to Newark ; P My route is about 2 hours. I ride the A to Chambers Street and walk to the PATH train at the World Train Center. Then I take the PATH to Newark Penn Station and then I take the New Jersey 62 bus to the Airport. Well thank goodness I am shipping my car here. BTW I am from Texas :)

9:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your advice! Do you think if I get on the 4:45am Olympia Bus, I should be able to catch my 6:00am flight?


2:34 PM  
Blogger Earnestine Novick said...

I didn’t know there were a lot of ways to get in to Newark Airport. Well, number 1, having a taxi to pick you up at your house to the airport, is definitely the easiest way to go to the airport. On the other hand, riding the train is the fastest way because it will avoid vehicle traffic.

{Earnestine Novick}

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Blogger Sara Welsh said...

My husband and I are going to be traveling through Newark airport during the holidays, and we've been trying to figure out the best way to get there. We were thinking about taking our car, but we'll be out of the country for about a month, and we weren't sure if it was safe to leave our car that long. Would you recommend leaving our car at the airport, or taking an airport shuttle?
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